For about $10 a jar, you can buy a product at your local grocery store that will not only be handy — and tasty — in the kitchen but could help with psoriasis, hair, teeth and skincare and might even lead to weight loss.
It’s official: People are nuts for coconut oil.
It’s not a new product by any means, but lately it seems the stars and others in the loop can’t stop talking about it, “Divergent” star Shailene Woodley and “Goop” creator Gwyneth Paltrow among them. The number of benefits touted is enough to make your head spin, so we’ll start you off simply: Just make sure that whatever type of coconut oil you buy, it’s organic and unrefined. Also know that it switches from solid to liquid form easily depending on the temperature. From there, the possibilities are endless.
From speaking to locals, it seems the best method for dealing with coconut oil is to become a “two-jar household” – dedicating one for cooking and one for beauty.
“I use it every day as my face and body moisturizer,” said area native Amanda Booth, 27, now a model in Los Angeles who keeps dual jars in her home. “I rub it in between my hands to melt it and put it right on. You can also use it in your hair as a treatment, but you have to be sure to wash it with a non-hydrating shampoo, otherwise it could really weigh down the hair.
“I also love a tablespoon in oatmeal with cinnamon,” she continued. “It gives it a good texture, and it’s a tasty way for me to get some extra fats in my diet.”
The words may give some pause but actually are part of the benefits. Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fat; however, this isn’t the type of artery-clogging fat about which we are often warned. According to authoritynutrition.com, the fatty acids in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized differently and go right to the liver, where they are used as a source of energy.
It also was found that 15 to 30 grams of MCTs per day increased energy expenditure by 5 percent — about 120 calories per day — meaning coconut oil may aid in weight loss over an extended period of time.
If using coconut oil as nutritional intake still might not sound right for you, consider the droves of readers willing to testify to how it has helped them in other ways.
Debra Kellerman, 48, of Bear Creek Township, has dealt with psoriasis on her hands but found that applying coconut oil to them straight from the jar not only moisturizes her skin but leaves no annoying residue.
“I also noticed that when my hands feel itchy, after coming into contact with a irritant , I wash them and use the coconut oil and the itchiness disappears, which stops the psoriasis from flaring up,” Kellerman said. “Dry patches are nearly eliminated, and the new skin is protected.”
“Oil pulling” also is becoming a trend. That means you swish coconut oil around the mouth for 20 minutes to achieve health and beauty benefits.
“Because of a prescription I’m on, my gums are extremely sensitive, and the oil definitely helps,” said Carisa Homschek, 28, of Pittston. “I oil pull right when I get up, as I wash my face and put my makeup on. I’ve been doing it three weeks now, and it’s really calmed my gums down.”
“I have noticed a white smile as well as less build-up behind my teeth,” said Julie Terrana, 28, of Wyoming, who has been oil pulling four to five days a week for a month now. “I think it’s a great alternative to mouthwash because it doesn’t burn, and it leaves a clean, gentle taste in your mouth.”
Slap it on your skin, swish it through your teeth, toss it in a pan — behold your next superfood. Oh, and a bonus? Coconut oil smells delicious.