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Raw Coconut

Raw Coconut

When you think of coconut do you daydream of a trip you had once taken to a beautiful island in the South Pacific or to the Caribbean, where you had the most amazing Coconut that a local cut straight from the tree? While that is certainly one fabulous way to obtain coconut, you don’t have to go on an exotic vacation to enjoy the tropical tree nut. In fact, incorporating coconut into your every day life is a very easy and beneficial addition to your health and beauty regimens, even if you don’t live on a tropical island! Due to its wonderful health-giving properties, coconut products have become more accessible in the United States as a result of its widespread attention from notable health experts such as Dr. Oz. Here are a few examples of how and why adding coconut can enhance vitality and enrich your life.

Health Benefits of Coconut:

From edible enjoyment to cosmetic and beauty purposes, raw, unprocessed coconut has numerous health-giving benefits. Coconut has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti fungal properties. The caprylic acid within coconut is what gives it these properties. This means that consuming coconut products can fight viruses bacteria, yeasts, and fungus within the digestive tract as well as throughout the body when taken as a supplement. Taking caprylic acid can be beneficial in fighting yeast infections, as it is particularly effective in overpowering the pathogenic strain candida albicans, the type of yeast that causes thrush, athlete’s foot, and vaginal yeast infections. Coconut is rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCT’s, which are a healthy and high beneficial fatty acids that is easily absorbed by the body at a rapid rate and without any trouble. Coconut oil in particular, is great for malnourished or malabsorption syndrome patients because of its fatty acid composition, making it rich in nutrients and easily digested. Coconut has also been has been shown to positively support the thyroid, balance hormones, and regulate blood sugar. In addition, coconut is a powerful antioxidant, rich in Vitamin E, making it good for your skin and your hair. Coconut Oil can be applied as a moisturizer for dry, chapped, or irritated skin. It is useful in treat eczema, psoriasis, rashes, burns, and while this might seem counterintuitive, even acne. The reason for this is that coconut helps to balance the skin’s condition by fighting bacteria that causes breakouts, while providing proper moisture and nourishment to the skin in the form of vitamin E, antioxidants, and fatty acids that are much needed by the skin, thus making it beneficial for those with acne. Coconut is also wonderful for your hair. The anti-fungal properties of coconut make it great for combatting dandruff, dry and itchy scalp, and also providing nourishment for your hair that makes it stronger, highly moisturized, and shiny and lustrous.

Coconut Oil and Its Benefits:

Coconut Oil is extracted from the “meat,” or flesh, of the coconut, and is one of the most easily obtained form of coconut. It is truly a versatile ingredient to have in your pantry, and because of its unique fatty acid composition, it is the ONLY vegetable oil that is suitable for cooking or frying at high heat. Most vegetable oils, like corn, canola, peanut, or safflower oils, are changed into harmful trans fats when heated or cooked with using medium or high heat sources. The unique properties of coconut oil, however, makes it a wonderful cooking agent as it does not change its properties when used in cooking methods. Coconut oil also has the capability of assimilating to whatever you are cooking with. It is delicious with savory, salty, and even sweet foods, and is a wonderful alternative to butter or chemical laden butter replacements like margarine. Coconut oil is also great for cosmetic purposes as well. It can be used as a mask for your hair or moisturizer for your skin. It is also a great and inexpensive method of removing makeup. Because of its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil can also be used in teeth cleaning. Also known as “oil-pulling,” swishing organic, virgin coconut oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes kills bacteria and removes toxins from the mouth, and as an added benefit, it also whitens your teeth! Be careful not to swallow the mixture though, as you will be reabsorbing a mouthful of nasty toxins. Do not spit the coconut oil into your sink either, as it will clog the pipes. Be sure to spit into the trash!

Refined Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is classified as either virgin, (or extra virgin,) refined, and UN-refined. It is a saturated oil that will be solid at room temperature and will melt in the heat. Virgin, or Extra virgin are the forms that are the least processed, closest to its natural state, and the most delicate. When selecting coconut oil, it can is important to choose the highest quality in order to reap the most health benefits. Coconut oil that is ‘Refined’ has been processed and deodorized, meaning there has been use of chemicals in its extracting and processing methods. This also means that it contains harmful trans-fatty acids, which is something you do not want to be consuming. Cold-pressed, Unrefined, Extra Virgin coconut oil is the term used for coconut oil that has been virtually untouched. It is extracted without heat, (hence the term,’cold-pressed,’) and is not odorized or touched by any chemical processes. When choosing a coconut oil brand, going for one that is organic too is always the best choice. This means the coconuts have not been sprayed with toxic chemicals or pesticides.

Other uses for Coconut Oil:

*In homemade lotion bars for soft, smooth skin
*In homemade deodorant or organic, chemical free deodorants from reputable companies
*As a baby safe diaper cream (just rub on baby’s bottom)
*In making your own Remineralizing Toothpaste
*To lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin
*To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

*In homemade Mayo without the high PUFA vegetable oils
*To help increase sun tolerance, as a naturally SPF 4 sunscreen
*To get rid of cradle cap on baby’s head; just massage in and leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth
*Topically kills yeast rash or yeast infections
*As a delicious tropical massage oil
*As an intensive nighttime facial moisturizer
*Mixed with equal parts sugar for a smoothing body scrub (use in the shower)
*Rubbed on lips as a natural chap stick
*Topically, can help skin heal faster after injury or infection
*Rubbed directly on the perineum to help heal after birth
*Soothes irritation on nursing nipples
*Can help sooth psoriasis or eczema
*Mixed with apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice

 

*Rub coconut oil on the inside of your nose to help alleviate allergy symptoms
*Nursing moms can take 3-4 tablespoons a day (and Vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients
*Blend a tablespoon into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold or flu
*As a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe
*Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins

Organic Virgin Coconut OIl

Organic Virgin Coconut OIAfter initial heat is gone, can help speed healing of sunburn

*Is an immediate source of energy when eaten and isn’t stored as fat
*As a natural personal lubricant that won’t disturb vaginal flora
*Use as a natural shave cream and after shave lotion
*Consistent use can help reduce appearance of cellulite
*To lubricate cast iron skillets
*Can reduce the itch of mosquito bites
*Can help resolve acne when used regularly
*Can help grow nails
*Can help speed ear infection healing
*A small amount can be rubbed into real leather to soften and condition (shiny leather only… test a small area first)

Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

*De-frizzes split ends

*Can be rubbed into scalp daily to stimulate hair growth

*Used by itself as a great tanning oil

*Mixed with salt to remove dry skin

*Can help speed weight loss when consumed daily

*Helps sooth the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy

*Use as a healthful energy boost in smoothies

*Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety

*Some evidence suggests that the beneficial fats in coconut oil are helpful for those with Autism

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Cooking with Coconut Oi and Coconut Butter

Other Forms of Coconut:

In addition to coconut oil, there is also another delicious form of coconut called Coconut Butter. This is the combination of coconut oil and the flesh of the coconut. It can be rock hard at room temperature, but when you heat is slightly it turns into a smooth, buttery consistency that is a great substitute for butter or margarine and can be used in a variety of recipes, from making muffins to homemade chocolate.

Coconut milk and coconut cream are liquid forms of coconut that make delicious additions to your morning cup of coffee, or used in place of milk in recipes that call for dairy. While many coconut milk brands out there can be found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, these products often contain added ingredients and thickeners in order to keep the products fresh and give it a smooth consistency. However, there are companies out there that produce only pure coconut milk and coconut cream, and they are generally produced overseas and need to be ordered online. Because these items do not contain added preservatives or ingredients, they will spoil quicker once they are opened. The benefits of these products though, is that they are made from pure coconut and do not contain anything else, so you can be sure of the high quality and full health benefits of coconut.

Coconut Flour is another wonderful coconut product that is great for those who are looking for alternative ways to incorporate coconut into their lifestyles. Coconut flour is a great substitute for white or wheat flour, making it a perfect choice for those on a gluten free, grain free, or primal (or Paleo) diet. Coconut flour is very low in carbohydrates, and does not posses a strong coconut flavor, making it great for baking favorite bread products like muffins, waffles, pancakes, and even cakes. Coconut flour is also very high in fiber, which means that it is good for your intestines and is also very filling, so you don’t need a lot to get full! A cake made with coconut flour rather than white or wheat flour is far more nutritious, is much lower in carbs, and one slice will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied than its sugary, starchy counterpart. Coconut flour can be found at many alternative health food stores or natural food stores. Look for organic coconut flour for the healthiest choice!

Coconut Flakes are like “chips” of coconut meat that has been dried and dehydrated. These are a delicious alternative to chips, and can be used in making homemade granola, granola bars or dried fruit energy bars, and other recipes where shredded coconut may be incorporated. Look for organic, unsweetened, and unsulphured coconut flakes for the healthiest variety. By themselves, they also make a great snack, especially when combined with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit such as in a trail mix.

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