In a world saturated with wellness trends, artisanal ingredients and natural living guidelines, there's one ingredient hailed as a 'superfood' which stands out from the rest: coconut oil.
You don’t have to be a wellness-addict to be well aware of the health benefits of coconut oil. Every health guru come social media influencer, magazine and supermarket, and even celebrities including the Kardashians and Gwyneth Paltrow have all hailed coconut oil as a wellness essential. You can put it in food, use it as a beauty staple, and pretty much bathe in it. Coconut oil is an ancient ingredient consumed in Africa, Asia and South America for centuries. Pressed from the meat of the coconut, it was used as just about everything from a healing medicine to a natural sunscreen.
Unlike a lot of the far fetched obscure ingredients that claim to help us with various wellness needs, coconut oil is super cheap and accessible. You can buy it pretty much everywhere organically, without breaking the bank. While I’m often skeptical of wellness trends, even I can attest to some of it’s claimed benefits – it’s a great oil to cook with, a decent beauty product, and whenever I’m sick it’s played a vital role in making me better. It really is, arguably, the most versatile oil on the market, which is why just about every home should have a pot in their cupboard.
As universally adored as it is, coconut oil is also controversial. Despite our global adoration for this jar of coconut-y goodness, scientists and health professionals have long since been skeptical of its claims.
Some have even branded the oil as decidedly unhealthy because of its saturated fat content. This emerging information definitely threw a spanner in the works for those of us who pretty much slather themselves in it daily. To cut through all the noise, the BBC recently debuted a new scientific experiment to finally put the controversy surrounding coconut oil to rest and decipher whether coconut oil is the real deal, or just a hyped-up placebo.
This human study involved 94 volunteers, divided into 3 groups. One group would eat 50g of coconut oil every day for 4 weeks, the second group would do the same with olive oil, and the third with unsalted butter. The good cholesterol of the group which consumed the coconut oil was up by 15%, and their bad cholesterol had not risen at all – suggesting coconut oil can play a key role in avoiding heart disease and reducing the risk of a stroke.
For those of us who’ve been pretty much slathering ourselves in it daily, this is welcome news. It’s often easy to forget that the time to take our health seriously is now; and even the facts agree that coconut oil is not here to play around. We advise having 2 pots: one for edible use, and one for all your beauty needs. A spoonful a day in your tea, coffee or even stirred into your oatmeal can make it taste subtly sweet. It’s also a great substitute for many of your beauty go-to’s if you want to start living more naturally.
As coconuts are harvested by hand rather than a machine, compared with other oils the environmental impact of coconut oil is low. They also don't require pesticides or herbicides.
New to the world of coconut oil? Here are a few ways that this sweet smelling oil can be used:
- As a makeup remover
- As a disinfectant for cuts, bruises and infections
- As a cleaning product to remove grime
- As a natural moisturiser
- As a hair mask
- As a body oil
- As a mouthwash
- Stirred into hot drinks
- As a cooking oil
While the doubts may have been creeping into your mind, it’s safe to say that coconut oil now has a scientific right to be in our cupboards. With all the passing wellness and beauty fads, we reckon coconut oil is one trend that’s here to stay.