Ten Reasons I Love Coconut Oil (and Why You Should Too)

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Coconut oil is all the rage in the nutrition and fitness world, and for good reason. It offers so many health benefits that it really deserves its superfood status.

Don't be put off by the high saturated fat content – it's not the same type as you find in animal products. The sat fat found in coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) and is not generally stored by the body. It's metabolised quickly and is a great source of high-energy fuel that will keep you feeling full.

Convinced? Here are ten ways to use coconut oil that will keep you healthy both inside and out!

1. Coconut oil is the healthier and safer option for cooking your food. It has a higher smoking point than vegetable oils, meaning it remains stable and doesn't become toxic at high temperatures like olive oil can.

2. Adding a tablespoon or two of melted coconut oil to a smoothie will increase the amount of nutrients you absorb from the fruits and vegetables, plus it will give it a lovely subtle coconutty taste.

3. Spread coconut oil on toast instead of butter or margarine. Sounds weird, but it's delicious, honest!

4. Swallowing a spoonful of coconut oil when you're peckish will help you avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks. It's also good to take before you work out – the MCFAs help to prevent muscle loss and can enhance physical performance.

5. Swish coconut oil around your mouth for 20 minutes as soon as you wake up in the morning and before you eat anything. This is known as 'oil pulling' and is believed to remove toxins from the mouth and body. Just make sure to spit it out when you're done as you don't want to be swallowing those toxins.

6. Try rubbing coconut oil onto your eyelashes and leaving overnight to lengthen and strengthen them. While there's no scientific evidence to back this up, some people swear by it.

7. If you're worried about stretch marks during pregnancy, try rubbing coconut oil onto your skin. It's 100% natural and doesn't contain any weird ingredients, unlike some stretch mark creams and oils available to buy. (Once you've had your baby, coconut oil is also effective on nappy rash).

8. Coconut oil is also perfect for moisturising your face and hands. It'll keep your skin soft and ward off wrinkles, plus its antiviral and antibacterial properties will protect against those autumn/winter bugs. No need to pay out for expensive hand sanitisers that only dry out your hands!

9. Rub coconut oil into the ends of your hair to keep it soft, shiny and moisturised, and to protect against split ends. Or make a hair mask using equal parts coconut oil and raw honey.

10. If you suffer from dry lips (especially in the colder weather), coconut oil is a great alternative to lip balms and you only need to use a tiny bit.

There are many, many more ways to use coconut oil – it really is a wonder product. Buy it once and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Do you like coconut oil? What do you use it for?

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