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At Wonder FUEL, we’re completely enamored of coconut oil. You probably know that coconut oil-based MCT’s are the magic energy source in our signature drinks. But you might not know about these other totally unexpected uses for coconut oil!
While coconut oil is a fantastic functional brain food, it’s also a wonderful ingredient for natural moisturizing, cleansing and even vegan baking. Remember that shrimp scene Forest Gump? Coconut oil is totally versatile too!
Before you relegate that jar to a corner of your cabinet (or just to your morning bottle of Wonder FUEL) consider trying one of these unexpected uses for coconut oil!
Coconut Oil for Natural Moisturizing
It may not come as a shock that many of our personal care products are loaded with synthetic perfumes, dyes and disruptive chemicals. Some of these chemicals act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they trigger hormonal reactions in our bodies that are totally not cool.
If you’re concerned your personal care products might not be up to snuff, you can check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, which ranks products’ toxicity. One good rule of thumb is to prioritize the items that stay on your skin the longest; of these, lotions are an easy target.
Coconut oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer that provides dry skin relief all on its own. It’s hypoallergenic, and if you choose refined coconut oil, you won’t notice any scent. What’s more, coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties make it a great treatment for acne. Just be sure to go slowly with this method of moisturizing, as some people find it clogs their pores.
Coconut oil becomes especially powerful when mixed with other fats and oils like shea butter or olive oil. Check out this recipe from The Radiant Life Blog to make an easy whipped coconut oil lotion!
Bonus: coconut oil makes a wonderful and CHEAP makeup remover!
Dairy-Free Baking Uses for Coconut Oil
Skip the butter substitute and use coconut oil in your next baking project!
Whether you’re avoiding animal products by choice or just want to work more coconut oil into your daily diet (we approve!) coconut oil makes a fantastic alternative to butter in most baked goods.
Plus, unlike many vegan butter substitutes, coconut oil is a whole food product! You’ll get all the benefits of MCT’s like Lauric acid when you choose coconut oil over a processed substitute.
In many cases, coconut oil can be substituted 1-for-1 for butter. But why not try a recipe that lets coconut oil really shine? We love this gluten-free, vegan-friendly recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes from Minimalist Baker.
Coconut oil is also a perfect alternative for greasing pans when baking. Apply a small amount of coconut oil onto a paper towel and rub it around your muffin, bread or cake pan before baking, like you would with butter. It’s healthier than non-stick spray (no propellants or preservatives) and works just as well.
Just remember that unrefined or virgin coconut oil has a smoke point up to 350˚, while refined coconut oil will be stable up to about 400˚. While unrefined coconut oil has a slight coconut flavor, refined coconut oil is virtually tasteless.
Coconut Oil is Nature’s Energy Shot
We’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t plug the incredible benefits of MCT’s for brain health and physical energy. In fact, they’re the reason Wonder FUEL’s secret ingredient is coconut oil!
Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCT’s, provide sustained brain fuel that’s far better than an energy shot! The 4 MCT’s (Caproic Acid, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid and Lauric Acid) have between 6 and 12 carbon molecules and are unique for their ability to be absorbed and digested more quickly than other fats. Caprylic and Capric Acid, with 8 and 10 carbon chains, are metabolized as energy the quickest—and they’re the MCT’s we include in Wonder FUEL!
Our bodies innately know how to burn fat for fuel, but many of us don’t use this skill, relying instead on carbohydrates like sugar when we need a burst of energy. MCT’s bypass glucose production, providing sustained energy, and clinical trials show MCT’s support cognition!
You can benefit from the energy boost of MCT’s, one of our favorite unexpected uses for coconut oil, whenever you include coconut oil in your diet. For a more concentrated energy shot, is a grab-and-go option that’s Vegan, Non-GMO, and sugar-free!
Coconut Oil as a Topical Treatment
Coconut oil is practically a magical substance, and its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties are a great example of the power of unexpected uses for coconut oil!
Researchers are starting to note the value of coconut oil in treating bacterial infections. In one study, coconut oil reduced numbers of streptococcus mutans in mouths as well as a chemical counterpart.
The ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling is an excellent way to use coconut oil’s antibacterial properties. Oil pulling simply means popping about a tablespoon of coconut oil into your mouth, allowing it to melt, and slowly swishing it around your mouth and between your teeth for about 10-15 minutes. Don’t swallow! Instead, spit the coconut oil out and watch the impurities disappear with it (ew!). Find a tutorial from Wellness Mama here.
When used on our skin, coconut oil can help reduce the infections that lead to acne. Using a skincare product that includes coconut oil, or the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), may also help balance the natural oils in your skin.
The OCM is as easy as rubbing oil on your face (really!), letting a warm wet cloth rest on your face, and wiping the oil off after about 30 seconds. While it might seem counterintuitive, the principle of “like dissolving like” means that coconut oil can actually reduce the buildup of oils on our skin and balance our natural oil production, too. For a great primer on OCM, check out this tutorial from Coconuts and Kettlebells.
Unlocking Coconut Oil’s Potential
While it’s an essential ingredient in Wonder FUEL, we love that there are so many other uses for coconut oil!
Whether you use it to replace a few of your home care products, substitute it for butter or processed vegetable oil in cooking and baking or want to explore its antibacterial benefits, we know you’ll have a ball incorporating this fantastic fat more holistically into your life.
For more on the amazing power of coconuts, check out Wonder FUEL and the Wonder FUEL blog. We’re sharing all we know about fueling your best life, and we know you’re going to love it!