Has the world gone coconuts?

Is 2015 the year of the coconut? Everyone’s either cooking with it, drinking it, or rubbing it on their bodies, here we look at exactly what a coconut is good for.

Not all fats are created equal

Firstly, you can eat it. Unrefined coconut oil is a saturated fat … uh oh … no wait, now for the good bit … within this group of fats there are different types, and coconut oil (due to its clever structure) is known as a medium-chain fat. Putting it simply, these types of fats metabolise in your body more quickly than other types of fat, meaning they’ll burn off faster and are less likely to stick around as – yep, fat. Not only that, 48% of coconut oil is made up of lauric acid, which is also found in breast milk (must be good then).

Did you know, populations who eat coconut oil are said to be the healthiest on the planet? That it can help to reduce hunger, and lose fat, not to mention, improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease?*

You can use coconut oil as a replacement for oils in cooking - use the pure unrefined kind - try Lucy Bee. You can roast, bake and fry with it, spread it on your toast and add it to a smoothie (seriously, the list is endless).

Secondly, you can drink it – super-hydrating, pure coconut water contains vitamins B and C, micronutrients, and phytohormones (in simple terms, plant hormones) which all add up to an exceptional health-kick – it’s also awesome in a Pina Colada.

Let’s talk beauty

Extra virgin, organic, coconut oil can be used as a beauty product, on its own or as an ingredient in more traditional natural beauty products. It’s great for dry skin and hair, is naturally anti-bacterial, and has a whole host of uses – here are just a few:

Skin care

Use extra virgin, organic coconut oil as a no-nasty cleanser, it works well as a makeup remover – just pop a little on a cotton wool pad and wipe -  it’ll tone your skin as it cleans. You can also use it as a moisturiser because it absorbs easily into your skin leaving it silky smooth. Give it a whirl next time you’re whipping up dinner, just massage a little into your cheek (don’t try it with the butter though!).

Studies have also shown coconut oil can benefit conditions including eczema and dermatitis by boosting the skin’s moisture levels. But don’t take our word for it, we’ve got plenty of reviews from happy customers.

Excellent quality. I use it on my face and under my eyes and it's so moisturizing plus it smells wonderful! A.S. Clamart

For those of you who love coconuts, but want a more traditional beauty product, there’s plenty to choose from. For dry lips, try Hurraw Coconut Lip Balm (it smells sooo good), or if you’re after a cleanser try Alba Botanica’s  Hawaiian Coconut Milk Facial Wash, or Odylique’s award-winning Creamy Coconut Cleanser (which can be used on skin prone to rosacea). If you’re in a hurry, or just prefer to wipe and go, try Yes to Coconut cleansing wipes.

Body care

There are so many things coconut oil can do for your body, it’s hard to cover them all here, so here are our favourite five top-to-toes:

1. Body scrub: Just add Dead Sea Spa Magic Salt, and a few drops of Tisserand essential oil for a gorgeous smell and exfoliating effect. Our friends at Lucy Bee have put together an excellent ‘how to’ video below:

2. Bath time treat: Add a generous scoop of coconut oil to your bath, then lie back and soak up the moisture. Make it even better and pop in some bath salts and a few drops of essential oil.

3. Body moisturiser: Coconut oil absorbs into the skin easily meaning it won’t leave you feeling greasy. It’s fine to use if you’re pregnant and can be used on babies and children too. You can also use it to fight the appearance of age spots, just rub it on the affected area and voila!

4. Hand and cuticle cream: Just rub it in to treat dry and flaky nail beds, and it will moisturise your hands at the same time – for age spots see above (talk about multi-tasking).

5. Foot treat: Before you go to bed, soften your feet with a Kneipp foot bath, or exfoliate with Yes to Coconut Polishing Scrub, then rub in some coconut

oil. Leave overnight (preserve your sheets and cover your feet with a towel, cling film or socks), and wake up to softer tootsies! Plus, because of the natural antibacterial properties in coconut oil, it will deodorise as it softens.

We’ve got a whole host of body care products packed with coconut goodness, check out our selection here.

Hair care

I’ve tried Lucy Bee as an overnight hair mask – just rub it into the hair, sleep on it and then wash and go. It penetrates your hair follicles to stimulate growth (can’t argue with that) and can restore lustre, shine and reduce frizz – no prizes for guessing whether it’s now part of my weekly beauty routine. Oh, and apparently coconut oil can strengthen eyelashes too (who knew!)

Seems very good as all round product. Works very well as hair conditioner - my hair is noticeably better despite swimming twice a week. Also good as nail/hand cream. H. R. Sollihull

Again, for those want a more traditional coconut hair care product, we’ve got plenty.  Jason Smoothing Coconut Oil can tame frizz and minimise split ends, or if you don’t want to smell like coconuts (not everybody does) try Natures Aid Odourless Coconut Oil, this budget product does the job without the tropical scent. More coconut hair care from Faith in Nature includes gorgeous coconut shampoo and conditioner for normal to dry hair (our customers love it).

Best conditioner I've had for a long time, makes my dry hair wonderfully soft. A Narberth

Teeth and gum care

Close your mouth, it’s true! Known as ‘oil pulling’ coconut oil can help to reduce the bacteria in your mouth, control plaque, fight tooth decay and gum infections AND naturally whiten teeth. Just swish some around your mouth for 5-20 minutes … and then spit it out … you don’t even need to rinse afterwards.

We don’t have any coconut alternatives – but check out some of our natural teeth whiteners here

* Unfortunately, due to EU regulations we’re unable to go into any more detail, but there’s plenty of information about coconut oil benefits on the internet.

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