Friday, March 26, 2010


Just before my recent vacation in the Dominican Republic (which hopefully I can get that report done soon!), I started reading, again quite by accident, about the "healing" powers of coconut oil. Then, during my vacation, I find myself surrounded by coconuts everywhere. A mere coincidence?? Coconut trees and groves everywhere. Not palm trees, coconut trees. I could only envision the coconut trees dominating the area where my resort is now located when explorers first landed on that island. There was a coconut tree grove outside my section of the hotel, and a tree loaded with coconuts within reach of my balcony. A massage by a local woman (on the beach no less) using coconut oil and the way it made my hair and skin feel afterward furthered my curiosity.

So I have been reading about all the misconceptions about coconut oil: how bad it is for you; how it is high in saturated fat so therefore even worse for you; etc. But in-depth reading has led me to believe otherwise, that coconut oil--a tropical oil, used for centuries until recently, has gotten a bad rep. Here is just one website I referred to if you want to read more yourself: Here are just a few facts about coconut oil:

What Coconut Oil DOES Do:
Reduces risk of atherosclerosis and related illnesses.
Reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions.
Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal (including yeast) infections.
Supports immune system function.
Helps control diabetes.
Provides an immediate source of energy.
Supports healthy metabolic function.
Improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
Supplies important nutrients necessary for good health.
Supplies fewer calories than other fats.
Promotes weight loss.
Helps prevent osteoporosis.
Has a mild delicate flavor.
Is highly resistant to spoilage (long shelf life).
Is heat resistant (the healthiest oil for cooking).
Helps keep skin soft and smooth.
Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.
Helps protect against skin cancer and other blemishes.
Functions as a protective antioxidant."

What Coconut Oil DOES NOT Do:
Does not increase blood cholesterol level.
Does not promote platelet stickiness or blood clot formation.
Does not contribute to atherosclerosis or heart disease.
Does not contribute to weight problems.

I know, I know, we've heard this same thing many times over about other "miracle" products. But if you can take just one thing and see the logic, I would say, after spending time in other tropical countries, that coconut oil certainly DOES make the hair shiny and helps keep the skin smooth and wrinkle free, especially considering the amount of sunlight these people are exposed to. (And using that as another topic, why do these people who spend 365 days a year, 24/7 in the sun not have skin cancer? Could it be the sun isn't the culprit here??) Without stirring up any controversy here, I'm just saying.

I've also been using some of the oil since the vacation, and have to say my skin has never felt better! Even after a week in the sun and a couple of weeks tanning before, AND our miserably cold, dry weather here. (It only took one day for my hands to crack and bleed after being back.) Using the oil, sparingly, I am seeing some dramatic results in keeping the skin supple.

The amazing thing about coconut oil is that you not only can use it for your skin, but you can cook with it and eat it too. Haven't gotten that far yet, because it does take the cold pressed virgin coconut oil type to cook with, and according to all info, you can take it internally in small doses initially, and that in and of itself will help with hair and skin issues, without resorting to applying it topically. What I have is expressly for the topical use. I am planning on getting the type you can use for cooking and see what happens.

Now if using this could just make me feel like I was still in the tropics, it would be well worth it!


Flo said...

I have a couple of comments to your post. First, my view is that it's mostly man-made things that cause our problems not natural things. I've never considered coconut-oil the enemy because it is naturally produced and I'm positive our bodies can handle it. Same with avocado. For years "they" said it was too high in fat, now it's good for you - go figure. Second, I've been reading some foodie/weight loss blogs and there are quite a few who swear by coconut oil for cooking. Apparently coconut oil is more stable at higher temperatures. Finally, the coconut oil has omega-3's while other oils have omega-6's. I don't understand the entire controversy but apparently we get too much 6 and need more 3.

One final thought, in Hawaii we have a very high rate of skin cancer but we also have a very high rate of visitors and non-natives. My thoughts are that constant over-exposure is not good - but that's not good in anything - but that the natural defense against the sun is tanning. I believe that tanning helps protect you and by using so much sun screen we are screwing up nature. Sorry for the long comment :)

Anne said...

I've seen coconut oil crop up on my food packaging. I guess this is why.


It is also really medicinal when rum and fruit juices are served in one with little umbrellas and a straw...

Lisa said...

interesting post on coconut oil

ShirleyPerly said...

A former boyfriend (yes boyfriend, not girlfriend) used to use coconut oil regularly before spending time in the sun on weekends and I tried it a few times too. It did make my skin remarkably smooth and soft. I forgot about it until you mentioned it. Look forward to hearing more about your trip!

Just_because_today said...

people who are exposed to the sun 365 24/7 and tolerate it have a different pigmentation that prevents them from the hazards of overexposure to sun.
Blacks can tolerate more sun, in fact, all countries that are mostly black are in the tropics. Conversely, white population is not equipped with the same protection because the countries of origin are not in the tropics. Nature and evolution did their job.

The coconut water is very common in tropical countries. When I visited Ecuador, the "young" coconuts were kept in the fridge. A whole puncture at the top and a straw inserted made for a great refreshening drink. Come to think of it, they have great hair.