How do you use coconut oil? Refined or unrefined? Substitute with coconut oil for baking and cooking? Coconut oil is used for personal care like lotion, eye makeup remover, eczema treatment, oil pulling, and more. I could go on about the usefulness of coconut oil.
When I first started getting into traditional nutrition, I read about coconut oil. I was surprised how often I ran into it, and I didn’t even know what it was (was it liquid or solid???), but I was curious to see if I could figure out how to use it and if we would like it.
Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil
There are two kinds of coconut oil: refined and unrefined. There is a difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil.
The refined has no flavor or smell of coconuts, and it’s less expensive, so I started with a 16-oz jar of it to see if some recipes calling for coconut oil were winners. I was amazed at how fast I was going through this “test” jar, so I tried the kind with the smell and flavor of coconut (“unrefined”). Again, for someone who doesn’t like coconuts, I was flying through the jar.
Now, so many years later, I can hardly imagine my kitchen withOUT coconut oil, and it’s been an interesting ride explaining our choices to others, especially in light of the media throwing bad press on it after a few negative pieces of research and one speaker at Harvard (who seems uninformed to me!).
Here are some interesting facts about coconut oil:
- Coconuts aren’t nuts; they’re a fruit.
- Coconut milk isn’t milk; it’s juice.
- Coconut oil doesn’t act at all the way any self-respecting “oil” should; it doesn’t pour (at least in my cold Northern state much of the year!) but is solid at room temperature.
Can you say, “contradiction in terms?”
Coconut oil is perhaps one of the more divisive fats/oils out there, because the mainstream puts it at the very top of the “bad fats” list, while the traditional foodie folks seek it out as the healthiEST of fats (or so it feels at times, but maybe it’s because we’re engaging in an uphill battle).
I’ve never encountered a food more odd than coconut oil. It took me forever (it felt like) to figure out what the stuff even WAS as I was reading about in text form. How should I use coconut oil in the kitchen? Could I use it as a solid fat (shortening) substitute? Could I use it as a liquid oil (canola) substitute?
Let me clear up the “what the heck IS coconut oil?” questions for you after I convince you it’s actually healthy. 😉
Is Coconut Oil Bad for You?
Some sources say coconut oil is bad for you but the tides are changing. Mostly if you believe that saturated fats are bad for you, then coconut oil, being 90% saturated fat, must, therefore, be bad for you. But what if you believe the evidence that saturated fat is good for you? Coconut oil is a hands-down winner.
“Coconut oil is pure poison…more dangerous than lard,” said a Harvard professor in late 2018, and in 2017.1 The American Heart Association made tidal waves on social media by saying that no one should consume coconut oil.2
But…lard has over 50% monounsaturated fat, the same fat as in avocados! Since using it regularly (among other dietary changes), my husband’s triglycerides have gone way down, from dangerous levels to normal/near-normal, his cholesterol is in range, and I got the prize for the highest HDL (good cholesterol) my doc had ever seen! (and very low LDL)
The only thing worse than saying unequivocally that a food is a poison because it may be correlated with increased risk of heart disease – even though studies continue to come out to the contrary!
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
These are a number of journal research articles that support coconut oil’s health benefits!
Remember that the naysayers all claim that coconut oil is bad for the heart, raises cholesterol and LDL especially. But does it?
- Extra Virgin coconut oil reduced nearly all bodily measurements in patients who already had coronary artery disease (such as waist circumference) and increased HDL, without causing any negative effects on other numbers or risk factors.3
- Compared to soybean oil, which increased cholesterol in overweight women, coconut oil as a dietary addition reduced waist circumference and increased HDL while lowering LDL.4
- Virgin coconut oil had an antistress effect in mice, including lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.5
- Virgin coconut oil in rats’ diets led to significant reduction in total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level increased significantly.6
- Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of virgin coconut oil supplementation against hepatotoxicity and oxidative damage induced by anticancer drug methotrexate (MTX).7
- Virgin coconut oil supplementation demonstrated nephroprotective activity and results of this study suggested that coconut oil may benefit cancer patients on MTX chemotherapy against kidney injury.8
- This study examined the comparative effect of virgin coconut oil (VCO) with copra oil (CO), olive oil (OO) and sunflower oil (SFO) and esults revealed that dietary VCO improved the antioxidant status compared to other three oils.9
- Dietary lipids have been recognized as contributory factors in the development and the prevention of cardiovascular risk clustering, specifically medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Additionally, several reports suggest that MCFAs/MCTs offer the therapeutic advantage of preserving insulin sensitivity in animal models and patients with type 2 diabetes.10
I was glad to see the New York Times post a sort-of rebuttal after a Harvard professor went for claiming coconut oil is poison.11 But even they didn’t seem to believe that all of the above research could be true – that far from being BAD for you, coconut oil might actually be GOOD for you.
This delightfully sarcastic YouTube video about the coconut oil controversy and the American Heart Association cracked me up!
Why You Should Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is, in my opinion, the most unique “oil” I’ve ever encountered. Solid or liquid at room temperature depending on your climate, it can take the place of almost any fat or oil in your kitchen (but don’t worry about a monopoly or overthrow, coconut oil is very humble).
Here’s a short list of why I’m using coconut oil in MY kitchen:
- very heat stable for frying and sauteeing – refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 400ºF (also nice bonus of a 2-year shelf life)12
- antiviral, antifungal properties (like garlic!) with evidence that it can kill cold and flu viruses.13
- antibacterial, antimicrobial properties14
- lauric acid – a component of breastmilk, so rare that almost all formula has to use coconut oil just to get it in there! (You can also get it in quality whole milk/cream.)15
- Lauric acid builds immunity and promotes heart health and brain development.
- Inhibits cancer growth
- Great for mother’s milk supply
- promotes strong bones with it’s antioxidants16
Suggested Reading: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Real Food by Nina Planck, Virgin Coconut Oil by Brian & Marianita Jader Shilhavy
What Coconut Oil is Good For
A lot of people seem to swear by coconut oil for everything and rely on it as a miracle food. I’ve relied on it for many purposes over the years and really do love coconut products, but when I think about it as a staple food and a “does-everything” gem, I always remember this: coconuts are not grown in every part of the world.
If God intended us to subsist on coconuts, He wouldn’t have made them so temperature-exclusive.
I don’t think coconut oil should be your exclusive fat, but there are diets that instruct the users to take a tablespoon of coconut oil before every meal and have you cooking everything with coconuts. I’m happy to order my coconut oil with the help of UPS, but traditional societies wouldn’t always have had access to coconut oil.
That being said, when Dr. Weston A. Price studied traditional cultures and their diets, he found that some tribes traveled far and wide to obtain fish. Not everyone has fish, not everyone has coconut oil. Did traditional Europeans and early Americans have access to coconut oil via trading?
I say, everything in moderation. Think about what you would be getting rid of if you switch to coconut oil. It’s better than canola oil, corn oil, or Crisco, that’s for sure!
Now we can dive into HOW you might use coconut oil in your kitchen, in case you’re not already a good friend of this fun fat. 😉
Coconut Oil FAQs
Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees (so unique!)
- Is coconut oil a solid fat? Yes. (I’d describe it as harder than Crisco but softer than cold butter.)
- Is coconut oil a liquid oil? Yes. (Looks and pours like vegetable oil, less yellow for refined, white if it’s virgin.)
Does coconut oil taste like coconuts? Depends
- Virgin or unrefined coconut oil both smells and tastes like coconuts, albeit mildly.
- I have found that even this form of coconut oil rarely imparts the flavor of coconuts when used in bread products, baked oatmeal, pancakes, etc. As long as the oil isn’t a major component of the recipe, the flavor seems to disappear. It adds a lovely sweetness when added by the spoonful to a morning bowl of oatmeal and is great in smoothies.
- Refined coconut oil (or probably any oil that doesn’t specifically splash the words “virgin” or “unrefined” on itself!) has no smell or flavor of coconuts.
- It is a less healthy version because it has been refined, bleached and deodorized, which sounds gross, but that’s the norm for all the oils you buy in the store for cooking, anyway. It’s also considerably less expensive. Use this when sauteeing veggies or meat where coconut flavor doesn’t belong or anything at high heat, or in baked goods if you just can’t handle any coconut flavor.
How to Use Coconut Oil
I use unrefined coconut oil “raw” in my smoothies and oatmeal. (Tip for smoothies: it must be liquid, poured in quickly and blended in immediately and thoroughly, or it will solidify again because of your other cold ingredients. Little balls of coconut oil in the smoothie is pretty gross!) It makes the oatmeal sweet enough that I almost don’t need any other sweetener.
You can use coconut oil as a substitute in many/most recipes that call for butter, margarine or shortening, and also (melted) in any recipe that calls for “oil”, at least all those that I’ve encountered thus far. This is a straight substitution, 1 cup for 1 cup, etc.
Coconut oil works in grain products where you have to “cut in” the fat with a pastry blender, like biscuits, pie crusts, and tortillas.
It made the BEST healthy chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made, even 100% whole wheat (and this is saying something because I’ve had the worst luck with chocolate chip cookies. They have been either burned on the bottom or spread out like a floppy Frisbee since we moved into this house. I thought I was cursed until this recipe!)
- Whole Grain Cornbread
- Homemade Granola (for the oil)
- Our favorite pancakes
- Cherry Almond Coconut Crepes
- Sourdough crackers and Wheat Thin Style Crackers
- Homemade Frosting
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal and Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
- Apple Squares
- Homemade Chocolate Bars
- Grain Free Coconut Muffins and Grain Free Apple Flax Muffins
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins and Gluten Free Savory Bacon Muffins
- Seriously, I use it in just about anything that calls for butter if I don’t have butter available or soft enough. Breads, quick breads, cookies, pancakes, you name it.
Because coconut oil has a lovely stability on account of its saturated fat, it is considered safe for frying. You can:
- Fry french fries or potato chips in a skillet (refined)
- Use it to pop stovetop popcorn – this is the traditional fat movie theaters used to use before the saturated fat nonsense! Virgin is great.
Coconut oil is relatively easy to melt, compared to butter. If you store it in a glass jar, you can set it at the back of your stovetop while your oven is on, and it will be liquid in no time. I’ll do this when I know I’m baking later in the day and need “oil”, because it does take a while for it to solidify again.
You can also set it in warm water, even *old* dishwater after doing dishes (just make sure the lid of your container is on tightly!). If you’re in a rush, you can melt it on the stovetop in a pan, or even in the dish you’re going to bake in inside the oven as it preheats. It melts faster than butter.
Use it on your skin!
Here are some other ways I use coconut oil (the unrefined version) in my green and crunchy home:
- on baby’s bottom instead of diaper cream
- for cradle cap
- face and homemade hand lotion – coconut oil is one of the main ingredients in my favorite moisturizing lotion (although, you might want to read more about its properties before using coconut oil for skin so you know if it’s the right choice for your skin type)
- on eczema spots
- in homemade sunscreen – it has an SPF of about 4-6! (check out my natural sunscreen reviews if you don’t feel like DIYing it)
- in homemade deodorant
- as eye makeup remover (amazing!)
- for oil pulling
Other Coconut Oil Resources
- See how Katie from Wellness Mama uses coconut oil for home and beauty & eats coconut oil
- Lots of ways Kimi from the Nourishing Gourmet incorporates coconut oil into daily life
- Kelly the Kitchen Kop pops popcorn with coconut oil
- Many Eats outlines the health benefits of coconut oil (I like what he has to say about MCTs).
- The Huffington Post has a delicious looking list of baked goods and meals you can use coconut oil in
Where to Buy Coconut Oil
Use the coupon code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at Wildly Organic.
Another option for where I buy coconut oil online is Soaper’s Choice – they sell oils for soap and lotion makers, but they are food-grade, and can be consumed by the tongue just as well as the skin! Don’t be thrown off by that part. 🙂
- Resetarits, V. (2018, August 20). A Harvard professor said coconut oil isn’t a superfood, calling it ‘pure poison’. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-speaker-busts-coconut-oil-health-myth-calling-it-pure-poison-2018-8
- Sacks, F. M., Lichtenstein, A. H., Wu, J. H., Appel, L. J., Creager, M. A., Kris-Etherton, P. M., . . . Horn, L. V. (2017). Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 136(3). doi:10.1161/cir.0000000000000510
- Cardoso, D. A., Moreira, A. S., De Oliveira, G. M., Luiz, R. R., & Rosa, G. (2015). A COCONUT EXTRA VIRGIN OIL-RICH DIET INCREASES HDL CHOLESTEROL AND DECREASES WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE AND BODY MASS IN CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE PATIENTS. Nutr Hosp, 32(5), 2144-2152. doi:10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9642
- Assunção, M. L., Ferreira, H. S., Santos, A. F., Cabral, C. R., & Florêncio, T. M. (2009). Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil on the Biochemical and Anthropometric Profiles of Women Presenting Abdominal Obesity. Lipids, 44(7), 593-601. doi:10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6
- Yeap, S. K., Beh, B. K., Ali, N. M., Yusof, H. M., Ho, W. Y., Koh, S. P., . . . Long, K. (2014). Antistress and antioxidant effects of virgin coconut oil in vivo. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 9(1), 39-42. doi:10.3892/etm.2014.2045
- Famurewa, A. C., Ekeleme-Egedigwe, C. A., Nwali, S. C., Agbo, N. N., Obi, J. N., & Ezechukwu, G. C. (2017). Dietary Supplementation with Virgin Coconut Oil Improves Lipid Profile and Hepatic Antioxidant Status and Has Potential Benefits on Cardiovascular Risk Indices in Normal Rats. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 15(3), 330-342. doi:10.1080/19390211.2017.1346031
- Famurewa, A. C., Ufebe, O. G., Egedigwe, C. A., Nwankwo, O. E., & Obaje, G. S. (2017). Virgin coconut oil supplementation attenuates acute chemotherapy hepatotoxicity induced by anticancer drug methotrexate via inhibition of oxidative stress in rats. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 87, 437-442. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2016.12.123
- Famurewa, A. C., Aja, P. M., Maduagwuna, E. K., Ekeleme-Egedigwe, C. A., Ufebe, O. G., & Azubuike-Osu, S. O. (2017). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of virgin coconut oil supplementation abrogate acute chemotherapy oxidative nephrotoxicity induced by anticancer drug methotrexate in rats. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 96, 905-911. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2017.12.008
- Arunima, S., & Rajamohan, T. (2013). Effect of virgin coconut oil enriched diet on the antioxidant status and paraoxonase 1 activity in ameliorating the oxidative stress in rats – a comparative study. Food & Function, 4(9), 1402. doi:10.1039/c3fo60085h
- Nagao, K., & Yanagita, T. (2010). Medium-chain fatty acids: Functional lipids for the prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome. Pharmacological Research, 61(3), 208-212. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2009.11.007
- Rabin, R., & Egan, S. (2018, August 21). Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for You? Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/well/eat/coconut-oil-good-bad-health.html
- Corleone, J. (2020). Is Coconut Oil Good for Frying in High-Temperature Cooking? Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/446041-is-coconut-oil-good-for-frying-on-high-temperature-cooking/
- Joshi, S., Kaushik, V., Gode, V., & Mhaskar, S. (2020). Coconut Oil and Immunity: What do we really know about it so far? Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 68(7), 67-72.
- Shilling, M., Matt, L., Rubin, E., Visitacion, M. P., Haller, N. A., Grey, S. F., & Woolverton, C. J. (2013). Antimicrobial Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil and Its Medium-Chain Fatty Acids onClostridium difficile. Journal of Medicinal Food, 16(12), 1079-1085. doi:10.1089/jmf.2012.0303
- Monolaurin: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1149/monolaurin
- Hayatullina, Z., Muhammad, N., Mohamed, N., & Soelaiman, I. (2012). Virgin Coconut Oil Supplementation Prevents Bone Loss in Osteoporosis Rat Model. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1-8. doi:10.1155/2012/237236
74 thoughts on “The Truth About Coconut Oil: Is Coconut Oil Good For You?”
I put it on my kids after bath! Just started using it on their feet- it is an antimicrobial – great for little stinky feet! I have also used it on the ends of my dry, curly hair as a deep conditioner and as a finishing product! I have one jar in my bathroom, and another in my kitchen.
I put coconut oil in my smoothie.
Putting avocado in a smoothie adds healthy fat and gives it a velvety texture.
I like to cook my scrambled egg in coconut oil
We put coconut oil and pastured butter in our oatmeal every day 🙂 with a dash of cinnamon, a squirt of local honey, and a glass of raw milk. I also just had my pastured eggs scrambled in pastured butter. Yum!
Does moisturizing count?
use it every day – I replace all oils in my baking with it, cook on the stove with it. LOVE IT
Thanks for telling me about this. I have SO much to learn!!
in my body AND on my body!!!
Every day in multiple ways!
scrambled my eggs in it this morning!
Made coconut pancakes today with coconut oil and coconut flour
LOVE my coconut oil! Tropical Traditions has the best!! http://secure.ttpurchase.com/welcome.cfm?ptuid=693EC13B-1E0B-90B3-0E70138E56C7259F
I am having a special treat: coconut oil based cocoa fondue with bananas. It’s amazingly good.
Love coconut oil! I use it on my skin, and in my kitchen. What an amazing gift from nature!
Love it, used it, bought more!
I just bought my very first container of coconut oil yesterday. I’m looking forward to trying it!
Coconut oil is great on hair as well. Really helps my split ends.
Hi All, I was looking for an alternative for High Heat cooking oil, I notice that there are a lot of mentions to Coconut Oil (Unrefined) but following wikipedia chart http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point
The Coconut Oil smoking point is 350 F, does not seem so high compared to Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Can you someone share thought on whatoil to use to cook in high heat ?
Never, never, never fry with olive oil …the oil is damaged structurally long before it stats to smoke.
I use coconut oil exclusively for frying. I have used virgin coconut oil in the past, but now just use refined coconut oil. It’s much less expensive and you lose the “coconut” taste after a few batches anyway. Coconut oil is SO stable, you never have to toss the oil, just filter out any chunks on occasion and reuse until it runs out.
Try refined coconut oil; smoke point is higher. But if you really want a good frying oil, tallow can’t be beat! 😉 Katie
You can do high heat frying with ghee. I think it has one of-if not the highest-smoke point.
So I had my first-ever taste of the extra-virgin organic stuff and it was SUBLIME! My first experience was with the steam-deodorized grossness that literally made me gag. REAL coconut oil smells exactly like shredded coconut and is actually something you’d want to eat.
I bought some recently to use in deodorant. I had been using a few different brands of “natural” deodorant. One of them (not sure which) darkened the skin of (one!) underarm, and none of them made me smell any less sweaty. The stuff I made however, works great-no smell, I only have to use a tiny bit, only 4 ingredients. The dark skin peeled a bit but it’s still there, just lighter, don’t know what that is all about.
Just used some in this morning’s banana bread instead of butter!
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Great post on coconut oil! I absolutely love coconut oil. I also use it on my lips when they’re really, really chapped, which doesn’t happen often. But when it does, coconut oil is the only thing that will soften them up.
Ok, I’m ready. It’s grocery time again. Where you y’all recommend ordering virgin coconut oil? I tried at my local Whole Foods and they didn’t have coconut oil at all! I was amazed.
Depending on your location for shipping costs, you might try
get some fromWalmart if you are trying for the first time.
It was a bad year for the coconut crop this year…expect much higher prices and decreased availability.
Thank you for the sources – bad news about prices, shucks! I am sort of stocked up, but maybe I should grab more before prices go up…
A correction on one of the links: http://mountainroseherbs.com/
And I just checked- Soaper’s Choice oils went up about 50c/pound. Bummer.
Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks and I’m new to traditional foods. Just a question about taste. I bought my first jar of coconut oil last week from a local food co-op and I used it for the first time this morning to fry up some asparagus, and I found that my hands smelled like the coconuts and the asparagus tasted like coconut. Did I use too much or will that be something I have to get used to? Or is it that some foods with subtle flavors would be better off with a different oil/fat? Thanks for your feedback.
Sounds like you bought virgin oil. Good stuff, if you like the taste and smell of coconut. If you don’t, RBD (refined, cold or expeller pressed) oil has been deodorized and will have a neutral flavor. You can always mix half and half with butter for a more familiar flavor. Keep in mind, coconut oil has a lot less moisture than butter, so you would use a little less to get a similar amount of actual fat.
Bev, I see you got a great answer already, but I’ll just second that – I do tend to use the refined stuff most of the time for cooking on the stovetop, unless I won’t mind a hint of coconut flavor (like in chicken). For asparagus, try bacon fat (from a pastured animal). Oh. Heavens. Amazing. Tallow is another really good one for sauteeing veggies, esp. potatoes. It’s a wide new world of traditional fats, believe me!
This might be helpful to you: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/17/a-fat-full-fall-baseline-fats-chart/
putting it in coffee sounds like a great idea! And i’ve read that people use it in smoothies, which sounds good too. I think i’m going to order some but I have one more question…how long does it keep? The jugs I can order here are 7 lbs of it….will it last if i’m using it in small amounts? And does it need to be refrigerated?
Coconut oil does not need refrigeration. It is almost pure saturated fat and is very shelf stable and will not go rancid. Some of my stash is 5+ years old and still tastes as fresh as the day I bought it.
Coconut oil is extremely shelf stable and will keep at room temp for *at least* 2 years. You’ll get through it! 😉 Yes, smoothies are great, too, like pina coladas w/bananas and strawberries – just make sure it’s melted before adding, and add while the blender is going. It will solidify pretty quickly in cold stuff if you don’t get it mixed in immediately, and little beads of hard oil are just weird in the smoothie. 🙂 Katie
question: I ADORE coconut….straight out of the shell, as a frozen fruit bar, as ice cream, as pie, as curry, as soup…basically if it can have coconut in it, I love it. Does eating coconut give adequate amounts of the oil? Or is it concentrated when you buy it as oil, making it more effective? I ask because, while I love to eat, I HATE to cook and since my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp, the idea of having to cook or mess around with heating and cooling for texture sounds a bit onerous to me. Is simply noshing on coconut enough?
I think that you’ll get a decent amount of the oil from eating the coconut itself (or coconut milk). Most of the calories in raw coconut come from fat, which means that a large part of the coconut is made up of coconut oil.
I’m not sure about ratios and such, as far as how much coconut oil is in coconuts. However, coconut is such a healthy food that you surely can’t go wrong! You must cook sometimes, though, right? It wouldn’t hurt to have some coconut oil on hand – just use it to saute veggies or grease your pans for whatever, and if you have oatmeal or coffee, toss a spoonful in- you’ll love the slight coconut flavor! 😉 Katie
I read on your site somewhere about the site where you purchased EVOO and Coconut oil. It was the company that makes industrial oils???? Can you please provide that address? I would like to order from them
Here you go: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/08/13/a-good-deal-on-top-fats/ They make oils for soapmakers that are food grade though, not industrial oils. 🙂 Katie
Seems like I can find conflicting advice wherever I look.
Ain’t that the truth! 🙂
I wouldn’t use coconut oil–or any oil–as sunscreen… This site says that oils strengthen the effect of the sun on skin (for their Monoi Tiare with sunscreen).
Anecdotally, coconut oil has been used as a tanning oil, which is the opposite of what you’re going for with a sunscreen. It might help you to tan rather than burn, if that’s all you’re looking for, but that won’t protect you against melanoma.
I also found this:
“COCONUT OIL AND SUN TANNING
Pure virgin coconut oil is the best product available for use as a tanning oil. Coconut oil actually increases the speed of the tanning process and produces a deep, lasting tan. Please note however that you are putting a food grade product on your skin and it has NO SUNSCREEN OR CHEMICAL ADDITIVES. Apply frequently and avoid excessive exposure at all times not just at peak sun hours. We recommend no more than 20 to 30 minutes depending on skin type in direct sunlight at any time of the day. Once a basic tan is developed, virgin coconut oil will slowly but surely produce incredible tanning results. If used as an after sun moisturiser be sure to use sparingly so it is completely absorbed into the skin. Remove excess before dressing.”
Huh. Seems like I can find conflicting advice wherever I look. 🙁 You wouldn’t believe the number of people who use coconut oil exclusively (via the comments on my sunscreen series this summer), but it absolutely sounds familiar that it is a “tanning oil”. Thanks for sharing the links to information!
Missing link in 1st paragraph: “this site”=http://www.monoi.com/oil.html
I have enjoyed reading your blog. My daughter was recently diagnosed with soy, egg and dairy allergies. I’ve been having a hard time finding a butter alternative (dairy free, soy free…and hydrogenated oil free). And I finally found it! Thank you.
Yikes, Melissa, that’s a LOT to avoid! I really honor the commitment you have to make to help your daughter stay healthy. I hope you can find lots of good resources to make your cooking and baking easier! 🙂 Katie
Have you tried ghee? Its worth a little digging/research on the benefits. It is butter but refined to where all of the bad stuff is taken out and supposed to be fine for those allergic to dairy. Been used as a health promoting and balancing food in Ayurveda for ages. Can also help with weight loss. I’ve been having a wonderful experience with it lately (organic and grass fed). I do like coconut oil but not for baking or cooking. Just a little here and there. It sits too heavy on me and causes me to gain weight (as well as makes my face break out if I use it on my skin). Just a thought.
Hi Michelle, Yep, we use ghee at times as well but I can get coconut oil for less $. Soooo…plus the medium chain fatty acids are pretty much only found in coconut oil. It’s not one I feel the need to get rid of. 🙂 Katie
This is great! I would say, though, not to use coconut oil for diaper rash if you’re cloth diapering. Most oils rub off on the diapers, making them water repellent and therefore ineffective in absorption.
Coconut oil absorbs into the skin readily. A little goes a long way. If you are creating water repellent diapers, you are using too much. 😉
I have tried coconut oil in a few recipes, but it seems very greasy when I sub it at a 1 to 1 ratio. Does that happen to you?
What kind of recipes? Because of the low melt point, coconut oil acts a bit differently (not so good in frosting, for example), but generally in baked goods I’ve been really happy with the results.
Cookies was where I really noticed it. Peanut Butter cookies. I prefer to use butter for my wheat bread. I think it just tastes better. I do like the taste of coconut oil in quickbreads and muffins.
we like to use coconut oil for popcorn! Yumm!
Regarding coconut oil as sunscreen…do you put it all over your body or just your face? How often do you reapply? I’m also interested in “healthy” sunscreens for me and my family-I would love to know more about how you have used it for this purpose.
I’m not very scientific – I just slather it on, whole body esp. for the kids. I use it just like I would normal sunscreen – but! – I wasn’t brave enough to trust it for big time sunny experiences like the beach or midday pool time, so I didn’t really ever have to reapply. We’ll see what this summer brings…
Love the overview! I’m going to try it in cookies next, I haven’t tried that before.
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Hi! Back on the coconut oil giveaway page, I can’t seem to leave a comment. So I’ll tell you here that I did number 1 and 2 for 2 entries. Thanks!
I’ll use a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and use coconut oil and butter instead of veggie oil and see what happens. I use sprouted whole wheat flour. I’m always up for trying to make cookies healthier!
I forgot to mention in my previous comment how excited I was to see you use coconut oil for sunscreen. I’m definitely going to do this with my young boys. I despise using chemical sunblock on them!
Thanks for the post it is so timely. I’ve been thinking about trying this oil so I need to go check out the deal you did earlier. I wonder what your results were when you used the oil for eczema? My daughter has very dry hands and I’ve tried every lotion imagineable and it all makes her hands burn. I really enjoy reading your blog. Lots of great info.
Just so-so for eczema, but I’m terrible at being consistent. It def. doesn’t burn. I think it keeps the eczema on my son from getting bigger, at the very least.
I read recently that you’ll get better results when treating eczema if you use extra-virgin (raw) internally vs directly on the skin. Just thought it might help. I haven’t tried it personally because I don’t have eczema but I was doing research for a family member.
About coconut milk — the white stuff you buy as coconut milk is made from the coconut meat, mixed with water and pressed out. The juice inside the coconut is quite different — it’s clear and watery. Coconut milk contains coconut oil; I don’t think coconut juice does.
Just a clarification from a coconut lover … 🙂
Thanks for the clarification! I would still classify that as “juice” if you consider juice as the pressed insides of a fruit, though, right? (Can you tell I’m a bit of a science geek?)
Great post! I’m new at using unrefined coconut oil and you’ve given some really good tips!
I have the same question as Mary – where’s the recipe for the chocolate chips cookies!? I looked on your recipe page but couldn’t find them!
I haven’t posted it yet! It’s actually just from Gold Medal Flour with a coupon I printed – so random – and I subbed coconut oil (maybe half with butter?) for the “canola oil” in the recipe. I guess I’ll have to post it soon! 🙂 Katie
So…where is the recipe for the best chocolate chip whole wheat cookies?
I love using coconut oil! It adds an extra “zest” to my baking/cooking!
Thanks for all the great info about coconut oil. I’ve tried it before but will get some more since I’ve been looking for a healthy substitute for Crisco or margarine.
Thanks for all these ideas!
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Thank you for the tips on warming the coconut oil. I was feeling a bit frustrated with its solid state, but now I know what to do. Thanks for sharing the info about the deal you did earlier. I ordered both types of coconut oil and the extra virgin olive oil and have been happy with all of them. I ended up moving my coconut oil into quart jars because of the solidification (word?) of the oil.
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