Rub It On Your Skin or Eat It: The Benefits of Coconut Oil

August 14, 2013   46 Comments

You know how you were the last to find out that EVERYONE was getting their hair cut like Jennifer Anniston in “Friends”?

Coconut Oil Benefits

Okay, you guys were probably all over that the first season. It took me about 7 seasons to ask for the famous haircut and the hair stylist rolled her eyes.

Back in June, I wrote a post - The Healthiest Cooking Oils - and the first comment was from Jess:

How about coconut oil? I've seen a lot lately that says it's a great alternative to all of the above choices.

Snack Girl, again asleep at the wheel. Actually, in my defense, I was looking at the oils that you can find next to the salad dressings, etc. Virgin coconut oil, at least at my store, can be found in the “Natural Foods” section and costs quite a bit more than more common oils ($7 for 14 ounces).

Is it worth it?

From Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World

“Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data,” Dr. Brenna said. “Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective. And maybe it isn’t so bad for you after all.”

Virgin coconut oil is not as processed as other oils and people use it for everything. Put in it your coffee, rub it on your skin, use it as diaper cream, prevent stretch marks, vegan baking, mayonnaise....(see 101 Uses For Coconut Oil).

Wow! This stuff is awesome!

There is even a scientific study that shows that coconut oil (2 tablespoons a day) seems to promote a reduction in belly fat (Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil on Abdominal Obesity). The saturated fat in coconut oil is different than the saturated fat in butter (or other animal products). Coconut oil is considered heart healthy.

I use it in baked goods (see below recipe) because it adds sweetness and has a wonderful texture. I haven’t tried it for cooking stir-frys or other savory foods, yet. As with anything (especially food with surprising health claims), I use it in moderation.

Finally, be sure to buy "virgin" because it has been cold-pressed. The minute you apply heat to this stuff it changes.

Do you use virgin coconut oil? What recipes do you use it for?

Other posts you might like:

Healthy Cooking Oils

The Healthiest Cooking Oils

Snack Girl has been asked about the healthiest oils a bunch of times and keeps dodging the question....


A Cookie Without Dairy or Egg (It is STILL Delicious!)

If you read Snack Girl enough, you know that I like a challenge. I had seen vegan cookies at cafes and thought, "no butter, no eggs, equals a disgusting cookie"....

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 46 )

I use coconut oil more for our skin but I need to start using it in recipes. I whip it in my stand mixer and make body butter. I also make sugar scrub with lime juice and lime peel. I sometimes wash my face with coconut oil and use at night around my eyes. My husband uses it as bug itch relief and he swears it even repels bugs.

Coconut oil, oh how I love thee...let me count the ways!

I first found it when searching for gallbladder friendly foods and discovered cooking with it didn't trigger an attack. It's great to sauté shrimp. Lately I've learned it's a wonderful moisturizer for my feet to keep those cracked heels at bay.

I use organic, virgin coconut oil in my hair and in body butters. It's one of the only oils that penetrate the hair follicle, and it's made my hair really soft and shiny. It's super moisturizing for your skin. I love it!

I started using it about a month ago, I am into my second jar and I am hooked. I have used it as a deep moisturizer for my hair, used it for dry cracked heels and I put a Tablespoon in my morning protein shake. I have read that it helps with Crohns disease which is my daily hurtle. I also use it as a mascara remover. I did bake chocolate chip cookies with it too, they were amazing :) I love the stuff.

It only cost $6.99 at Trader Joes the last time I was there :-)

I love coconut and coconut oil--but how do they get around the fact that it's still 87% saturated fat? I thought saturated fat was the big no-no in terms of heart disease?

I wrote about the benefits of coconut oil in my book, FibroWHYalgia, years ago. I had not one, but two different editors try to strike my reference to it claiming they thought I'd included it "accidentally." Sometimes, it just takes time, repetition, and experience for something to become mainstream. The benefits of coconut are widespread and written about extensively.

Sue Ingebretson

If it changes when exposed to heat, is it a good idea to cook with it? I know you are not supposed to use olive oil at high heats for this very reason.

I've just started using it too. So far I love it!

I am so glad you wrote this. I keep seeing it everywhere and trying to research it has given me a headache. Thank you for doing the homework!

I eat a spoonful straight from the jar. I once had tar on my pants and used coconut oil to remove it. After several different products it was the only thing to remove the tar. You just have to rub a little Dawn in before washing to remove any possible stain.

I use it for oil pulling (

My friends use it on their hair and skin. I put some on crackers or bread.

If it removes tar, I'm not sure I want to eat it!

I have been using coconut oil for shaving my legs for months and I love it. It's cheaper than shave cream (you don't use as much) and it saves a step of me having to mositurize my legs too. Also, using it as a makeup remover has been great too.

I love coconut oil and use it like everyone that commented but I also give my dog a spoon of coconut oil in his food. Makes their coat nice and shiny!!

I use it to make my own toothpaste - mixed with baking soda & an essential oil for flavor

I put it in my smoothie every morning. My face and overall skin has never been more clear and happier.

luv it 4-ever! COOK ON LOWER THAN MEDUIM HEAT for best results, maybe under 345? cuz like olive oil it does best at a bit lower temp than other oils. coconut oil is a staple in our house!

I use in baked breads and in stir frys (and wherever else I see fit) love that stuff!

Sue F - Coconut Oil is a better option for cooking than Olive Oil because it has a higher smoking point. I use it all the time for making popcorn (Yum!) and for cooking.

So I got on the coconut oil trend awhile back--but never used it. Yup, bought a big jar in Amish country and it's been sitting in my food storage ever since--does it go bad? Can I still use it, if say, it's been a year (or more;)?

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