7 Health-Promoting Coconut Oil Uses

Reader Contribution by Chelsea Clark
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Learn how to use coconut oil for skin care, cooking, and more. Read on and see what coconut oil has to offer in health benefits and uses.

Coconut oil is one of the hottest new health products, offering a wide variety of benefits. Coconut oil uses range from cooking to skincare, so read on to take advantage of what this oil has to offer.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil consumption is associated with a more favorable profile of HDL and LDL cholesterol than other oils, and diets rich in coconut oil are associated with lowered risk factors for cardiovascular disease.[1,2]

Coconut oil contains high percentages of short-chain fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides, which have advantages over other types of fatty acids in the way they are metabolized by the body.[2] There is also growing evidence that coconut oil benefits memory loss and may help with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.[3]

Coconut oil also exhibits antimicrobial effects against bacteria, due to the fatty acid content.[4] It can even help skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.[5] So how can you take advantage of all of these health benefits? Here are a few ideas for using coconut oil daily.

Coconut Oil Uses

1. Cook with it. Coconut oil can be used in high heat, so it can replace other types of oil in essentially any recipe. Use coconut oil to:

  • Roast veggies in the oven.
  • Pan fry or sauté your dish.
  • Make a homemade salad dressing.
  • Substitute for butter in dairy-free recipes like muffins and cookies, or as a spread on top of toast.
  • Pop popcorn (and melt it on top as well).
  • Make a healthy dessert.

2. Use it as a natural deodorant. Many deodorants contain harmful chemicals, but coconut oil deodorizes naturally due to its antimicrobial capabilities.

3. Season your cast iron pan. Rub coconut oil generously into the pan after cleaning, and let the cast iron soak up the oil to keep your pan seasoned perfectly.

4. Care for your skin. Coconut oil serves as a fantastic natural moisturizer, and it can help to relieve itchy or dry skin and treat skin conditions like dermatitis. Try rubbing coconut oil onto affected areas and letting it soak in. Common uses for skin care are widespread.

  • Moisturize your hands.
  • Treat diaper rash.
  • Use it as a nipple cream during breastfeeding.
  • Care for a sunburn.
  • Keep your cuticles healthy.
  • Use it as a massage oil.

5. Treat your acne. Coconut oil can help to fight bacteria, which are responsible for acne breakouts. Try putting coconut oil onto your skin as a natural topical treatment. Ingesting it in your diet will help too.

6. Use it as a natural conditioner for your hair. Apply coconut oil to the scalp and hair before showering, let it sit, and then rinse. This can also help to treat dandruff.

7. Add it to a smoothie as a dietary supplement. A tablespoon or so in a smoothie can be a great way to add coconut oil to your regular diet.

The best form of coconut oil is organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed, and non-hydrogenated. This assures that you’re getting the purest, most raw form of the oil, without the processing that can destroy some of its beneficial qualities.

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature; if your home is cool you may need to heat the coconut oil slightly to soften. This will allow you to spread it and use it more easily.


[1] Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):294-302.
[2] Br J Nutr. 2014 May 28;111(10):1782-90.
[3] J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;39(2):233-7.
[4] J Med Food. 2013 Dec;16(12):1079-85.
[5] National Eczema Association

Chelsea Clark is a natural health advocate who is on staff at the Natural Health Advisory Institute. Read more of her articles at the Natural Health Advisory website.

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