Remember the other year when people went mad on coconut water and everyone from Rihanna to Sienna Miller were seen sipping on the stuff? Well move over coconut water, there's a new coconut product in town! Recently, coconut oil has become hugely popular not only as a cooking ingredient but also for its many beauty uses. If you're not too sure why this oil has risen to the forefront then read on for our handy break down of the key info you need to know.
The main thing you need to make sure when using coconut oil for it's health and beauty benefits is that you are using oil that is organic or virgin as anything else isn't the real deal! Also be aware that it usually comes in a jar as it is a solid below 25 degrees celsius.
For cooking, one of the main reasons coconut oil is so good to use is because it is a natural saturated fat, which unlike other forms of saturated fat such as those found in meats and dairy products, is good for you, and is really easily digestible. It's also heat-stable which makes it much better for you than processed oils manufactured for cooking such as vegetable oil.
There are many different ways in which you can use coconut oil in the kitchen, the first and most basic is to substitute it for your ordinary cooking oil. So when you next make a stir fry, why not use coconut oil in the pan? Or when you fry some eggs on Sunday morning for your breakfast pop a bit of coconut oil in the pan! Using it as a cooking oil adds a subtle hint of flavour without being too over powering, perfect if you're not a huge fan of coconut!
You could also add it to your morning coffee as a sugar swap to flavour your drink in a natural way. Or when you're next whipping up some cakes why not grease the pan with it, or even add it to the mixture as a butter or vegetable oil substitute. And for the most committed, you could just eat a spoonful of the stuff!
In terms of medical health, The Independent reported that recent articles have claimed "coconut oil can have a positive effect on the brain, boosting memory and even providing short-term help to patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease". While these claims do not currently have full studies supporting them, researchers at the University of Maryland and Oxford University are working on projects to investigate these, and other, health claims for the benefits of coconut oil.
Alongside these uses in cooking and possible health benefits, coconut oil also has many beauty uses. It can be used as a pre-shampoo hair treatment to tend to those damaged locks, just warm it up so that it is in a liquid consistency, slather it over your hair and leave in for 40mins to an hour, and wash out thoroughly in your normal shampoo and conditioner routine.
The oil can also be used as a makeup remover, apply directly to the face or on a cotton pad to take off your daily makeup, even waterproof mascara will come off with this stuff!
It's also great as a moisturiser to keep your skin soft and supple, or on the lips as a lip balm, and even as a body scrub when mixed with coarse salt or sugar. You can use it as a shaving cream, to soothe sunburnt skin or as a make up brush cleaner when mixed with antibacterial soap.
There are countless beauty uses for this ultimate oil! Whether you use coconut oil in your food or on your face, it definitely has it's benefits! Have you used it before? Let us know your favourite uses for this multi-purpose product.
For more info check out Allure, Marie Claire and Shape.