Chances are if you haven't heard all the hype about coconut oil, you have at least walked through your local grocery store and seen a jar similar to the one above on the shelves. What is coconut oil? It is the an edible oil that is extracted from the meat of coconuts. No, that doesn't mean you're supposed to buy a jar of this and eat it like peanut butter, but you could! (Pro tip: It's actually really good on toast!) Not only is this an edible oil that has a million and one uses when cooking and baking, it can also be used to cure everything from dry skin to stomach ulcers while simultaneously being utilized to shine your dullest metal surfaces. Still not (coco)nuts about adding coconut oil to your pantry? Check out some of these awesome uses for this miracle oil that might be able to solve all of your life's problems.
I guess I'll start with what everyone really cares about: the food. Before you freak out and think that this will make all of your food taste like coconut, let me ease your mind by saying that it only adds a very mild coconut flavor. In fact, most people can't even taste the difference between this and other cooking oils. In the kitchen, simply substitute coconut oil where you would normally use olive oil or butter. Use coconut oil to sauté your favorite stir-fry, step up your baking game and use it as a healthy replacement for butter, grease your pans and trays with coconut oil while baking, or use it to make a delicious salad dressing. If you're really adventurous, try making your own nut butters, making homemade mayonnaise, or whipping up some healthy granola.
In addition to stepping up your chef game, coconut oil can be used in a plethora of ways to improve health and wellness. Throat feeling a bit scratchy? Swallowing a dollop of coconut oil or adding a spoonful to your tea helps to ease a sore throat. Ran out of Band-Aids? Try covering your cut or scrap with a thin layer of coconut oil to protect your wound from bacteria and dust. Additionally, WebMD reports that coconut oil has some astounding heath benefits! Some of these benefits include the ability to lower cholesterol, improve your immune system, increase energy levels, help treat stomach ulcers, and boost your immune system.
If you aren't already impressed, coconut oil can also improve your beauty and grooming routine. You can use it as a shaving cream, skin moisturizer, and hair conditioner. Also, try combining it with baking soda to for a DIY teeth whitener, or make an all-natural sugar body scrub by following this recipe. Have all your beauty and grooming needs covered? This miracle oil isn't done trying to win you over. It can also be used to help restore leather to its original shine, fix squeaky hinges, wipe away shower scum, get rid of gum residue, and clean metal surfaces.
If you're (coco)nutty brain isn't already spinning with enough information, check out the Greatist's article to learn more about some of the uses I mentioned here and discover even more awesome ways to incorporate coconut oil into your life. With so many uses, coconut oil is one of my pantry essentials. At only around $7 for a 14-ounce jar, this all-in-one product is also super affordable. One more tip: When purchasing coconut oil, be sure to look for the jars marked as "virgin" or "unrefined." Refined coconut oil has typically been bleached or deodorized and may contain added chemicals.