Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Coconuts?

I received a comment from one of you lovelies yesterday inquiring as to what the benefits of coconuts are - seeing as I am so obsessed with incorporating them into my daily diet. (ok - she didn't say obsessed but I am...) So I thought I'd share with you some of the research I did to come to the conclusion that coconuts needed to be a big part of my diet. 

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The first thing you need to know about coconut oil is this: to reap the most benefits you must use Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil. Avoid anything refined, bleached, grown with fertilizers or otherwise tampered with in an unnatural way. This is why I get all my coconut oil from the Tropical Traditions website. They make their coconut oil the "old-fashioned way" - by hand - this ensures all the good stuff stays in the oil and you're getting the most nutrients from it. 

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At Tropical Traditions, they extract the oil from the coconuts by grating the fresh coconut by hand, extracting the coconut milk, then letting the coconut milk stand in a covered container for about 24 hours. After about 24 hours, the oil naturally separates from the water producing a crystal clear oil that retains the full scent and taste of coconuts. It smells, tastes and feels delicious! 

Not only do I cook with it, I also use it as a skin, face and hair conditioner and I even feed it to my dogs to improve their coats and overall health. They eat it straight from the jar - it's a treat for them! With 4 skin problem prone shar-pei at home, it's been a miracle for their coats and general health. Watch out though - they only need a small bit per day. Mine get a little less than a teaspoon per day. 

I've got a jar of VCO in the kitchen for cooking, a jar in the pantry for the dogs and in my bathroom for my face, hair and body moisturizing needs. It's quite possibly the best facial moisturizer when your skin is feeling dry and looking aged. Coconut oil helps restore the skin's elasticity and doesn't leave you greasy. I don't use it every day on my face and body because I simply don't need to. I use it 1-2 times a week on my face and body for a deep moisturizing treatment and to combat the signs of aging - more often in the summer when I'm out in the pool and hot Arizona sun. :)

So what makes the stuff so awesome for us - both internally and externally? 

The internal benefits are numerous. Coconut oil contains unique saturated fats called medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These MCFAs contain Lauric Acid. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is a monoglyceride compound (scientific junk...). This compound exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifugal properties. Research shows that MCFA's help speed up the metabolism - aiding in weight loss. Coconut Oil is one of the only sources for lauric acid other than breast milk. It protects newborns from infections and diseases. Additionally, MCFAs have been added to baby formula to mimic the protection of breast milk.

The external benefits are also numerous! 

Most commercial products contain mostly water so that they are absorbed into the skin quicker and appear to give elasticity to the skin - but the effects don't last very long. Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin as well - but being a pure oil is stays instead of disappearing soon after application. Coconut oil is absorbed into the skin and sinks into the cell structure of the connective tissues in the body which limits the damage excessive sun exposure can cause. 

Though it is not a sunblock, it IS great at relieving the effects of sunburn and is a natural exfoliant to help rid you of the peeling yuck skin. It also helps fight the development of liver spots and other signs of aging on the skin (caused by the attack of the free radicals!) Put it on right after you shower for best absorption. It makes you smell like fresh yummy coconuts too! The processed oils don't have that same pure smell - so beware! A little goes a long way so one jar can last for a while. I have used it as an overnight deep conditioning treatment for my hair as well as a leave in conditioner after my shower (you only need a tiny bit!) It helps control fly-aways and adds tons of shine!

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So just a few benefits of this oil include: 
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Boosts immunity
  • Controls glucose levels 
  • Boosts nutrient absorption 
  • Increases bone strength 
  • Relieves stress 
  • Moisturizes skin 
  • Helps relieve and repair damage caused by the sun and natural aging process
  • Promotes proper digestion (including help with IBS and Crohn's) 
  • Aids in weight loss
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Coconuts - they'll cure what ails ya! 


  1. So true! Love coconuts and all of their benefits. xoxo

  2. Mmmm... one of my favorite smells, by far.


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