Coconut Oil #bebetter52

Photo Courtesy of Maddy Fredrick
Photo Courtesy of Maddy Fredrick

Coconut Oil #bebetter52

Call it the fountain of youth, a beauty balm, or a miracle fix-it, coconut oil has made its mark.  

This week’s challenge: Try some coconut oil. Whether you add it to your favorite Thai dish, apply it as a face mask, or apply it just because it smells so good, try it out and let us know what you think. For coconut oil aficionados our challenge to you is to discover a new way of using your favorite cure-all.

Among its more well-known properties, coconut oil effectively locks in moisture and relieves irritation, making it a perfect substitute for a body cream, lip balm, aftershave, or hair mask.  The lauric and capric acid in coconut oil has also been shown to fight inflammation, so slather on bruises or small cuts to naturally ward off bacteria.  

Health-wise the jury is still out on the benefits of cooking with coconut oil.  Some claim the high saturated fat content (90% compared to butter at 64%) can increase the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, while others believe coconut oil increases “good” HDL cholesterol.  Others have stated that coconut oil is the key to weight loss and an increased metabolism as well.  Walter C. Willett, M.D. of the Harvard School of Public Health recommends it be used sparingly, stating, “Coconut is a wonderful flavor…but it’s still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease.”  To play it safe, apply this luscious oil on cuticles, hair, and skin, but proceed with caution when cooking.

However, not all coconut oil products are created equal.  There’s refined vs. virgin, organic vs. commercially grown and some is classified Fair Trade while others are not.  We at Be Better prefer virgin because it is unfiltered and does not include any additives which can irritate the skin.  Certified organic products do not use pesticides although some coconut oils without the USDA organic label may be organic as well.  Fair trade coconut oil will ensure that those who produce the product receive a fair wage for their work.  Of course, budget can dictate which coconut oil you choose, but due to popular demand, coconut oil is much less expensive than in the past.