Current Moon Phase

Waning Gibbous
97% of full

Farmers Almanac
The 2015 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Is Coconut Oil the Fountain of Youth?

Is Coconut Oil the Fountain of Youth?

For most North Americans, coconut is a fun flavor, enjoyed shredded, sweetened, and made into cookies or candy, or perhaps whipped up in a piña colada.

For much of the rest of the world, though, coconuts are more than just an occasional addition to a tasty confection; they are a staple of nutrition and traditional medicine. Coconut oil, especially, is used to promote health and treat an amazing variety of ailments.

Until recently, coconut oil was out of favor because of its high saturated fat content. Saturated fats are often implicated for contributing to heart disease and high cholesterol. Paradoxically, though, nutritionists now know that coconut oil is possibly the most healthy oil in existence, surpassing even olive oil. As scientists learn more about the composition of various fats, and their effect on health, they discovered that the length of the fat chains that make up coconut oil allow them to be more readily used for energy than some other fats, so they don’t hang around clogging up the bloodstream, or settling in around vital organs. In fact, coconut oil may even help to clear other, less healthy fats, away.

Beyond just that, though, coconut oil contains three compounds — lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid — that make it useful as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, and moisturizer. Here’s a look at just a few of the health benefits attributed to coconut oil:

Skin and hair care: Coconut oil is an exceptional moisturizer for both skin and hair. It can help to fight dandruff, whether caused by a dry scalp or a more serious condition, and breathe new life into dry, brittle hair. It has been shown to heal flaking, cracked skin, forestall wrinkles, and help in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions, and to speed up the recovery of bruises. It also makes a great natural alternative to commercial hair conditioners or skin lotions.

Immune support: The lauric acid in coconut oil is converted by the body into monolaurin, which is key to a strong immune system. As a result, coconut oil can help the body fight off a variety of viruses and infections, such as cold, the flu, and even harmful parasites such as giardia lamblia. It can also be used topically to heal skin abrasions and fight fungal infections. It kills harmful bacteria and fungi without damaging tissues, and also moisturizes wounds to prevent them from drying out.

Cardiovascular health: The lauric acid in coconut oil can help to prevent or lessen issues such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also contribute to greater elasticity in the veins and arteries, for a more healthy circulatory system

Healthy organ function: Coconut oil supports the function of the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and gall bladder, ensuring that everything operates smoothly, and preventing disease in these important organs.

Digestion: The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil fight off bad bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can take up residence in the digestive tract, helping to promote healthier digestion. This can prevent issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, and also allow the body to more efficiently absorb the nutrients in food.

Blood sugar: Coconut oil improves the secretion of insulin, which helps the body to regulate blood sugar, and also enables the body to more efficiently use glucose for energy. This makes it helpful in preventing and treating diabetes.

Bones and teeth: Coconut oil can improve the body’s ability to absorb minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which contribute to strong bones and teeth.

Weight loss: The fatty acids in coconut oil are easy to digest, and are used up quickly by the body, in the form of energy. In addition, healthy dietary fats speed up the body’s metabolism, allowing it to burn more calories, while at the same time contributing to a sense of feeling full, which can prevent overeating.

62 comments

1 Melody { 08.15.15 at 5:19 pm }

I have been having multiple skin and scalp issues lately, so after reading all the comments here, today I decided to create my own skin & scalp balm. Mixed about 1/4 cup of coconut oil with several drops each of Lavender, Copaiba, Peppermint and Tea Tree essential oils — known to support healthy skin, scalp & hair — and rubbed it all over my trouble spots. Used a mini funnel to fill a small plastic bottle with a flip top so I can grab it and go during the week. Hoping this custom blend does the trick!

2 Robin Cecconi { 08.11.15 at 8:29 am }

Where do we find answers to all the great questions being asked

3 Edie { 08.09.15 at 10:29 pm }

I have been using coconut oil for 6 -8 month both internal and external but see NO DIFFERENCE in either skin or other , yes I use the good kind , what am I doing wrong ?

4 Cindee { 08.09.15 at 2:34 pm }

IMPORTANT!
I’m reading a lot of comments that raise concern about where they’re buying their coconut oil and the type.

It’s imperative that you buy ONLY 100% ORGANIC, UNREFINED coconut oil.

Many brands claim to be organic. Many of those are processed. Even putting processed oil on your skin is unhealthy because as we know what we put on our skin goes into our bloodstream, which in turn goes into our organs, etc. So ALWAYS look for organic AND unrefined oil. It’s the healthiest for consuming and topical use.

5 Rebecca Elisa Watson { 08.09.15 at 1:55 pm }

I have skin issues; I have Rosacea. I read that Coconut oil helps with other skin issues such as Psoriasis and Eczema. Will it hopefully also help with Rosacea?

6 Melissa { 08.09.15 at 12:55 pm }

I Coconut oil is the best for so many things !!! I use it all the time and its great for your pets too. Love all the many ways you can use it. I will never stop using it. !!!

7 Barbara { 08.09.15 at 9:32 am }

How do you take it for weight loss and how do you use it in cooking…It has a very distinctive taste?

8 Catherine Cutter { 07.15.15 at 5:10 pm }

How do you take it for diabetic and to lose weight.

9 shea balentine { 07.10.15 at 5:39 am }

I use organic, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil on my skin as a moisturizer.. face, neck, elbows, legs after I shave, and it’s great at healing the dry skin up on my feet. It also makes a wonderful massage oil too. You can go to http://www.cocoluxeorganic.com/ and get it in a squeeze tube! Great for travel or to always have on hand in your purse.. no icky jars setting around. And they have free shipping in the US =)

10 Ellen { 07.09.15 at 1:11 am }

Adlis has it for a good price

11 Arlene Cunningham { 07.08.15 at 10:29 pm }

I have organic coconut oil I was told I could use it yo loose weight how much to I ingest like a teaspoon every day ? An answer would be appericated

12 Coconut Body Polish { 07.08.15 at 6:05 pm }

I make an excellent Coconut Body Polish, comes in luscious lavender and just a hint of rose, ALL NATURAL ingredients, so wholesome for all over the body conditioning. Come to my shop ScentofZen/Etsy.com

13 Elizabeth { 07.08.15 at 3:13 pm }

Great stuff. I use it on hands, body, feet, cuticles, etc. I also mix it into my dog’s food for dry skin. Get organic stuff. Lots of brands available on Amazon at good prices. It is available in capsules from Puritan’s Pride for taking it internally. Their price is good.

14 Carolyn { 07.08.15 at 1:35 pm }

I transfer my solid coconut oil to a jar and use a “stick mixer” and whip it, doing that to the solid oil lets it stay soft and more useable for using topically.

15 Roberta Giordano { 07.07.15 at 11:33 pm }

I melt two tablespoons of coconut oil and put it in my morning smoothie. Went down one pants size since starting that. I also use q tip and rub it up in my nose no more sinuous affections. I pray it on cuts and they heal quicker. Bruises disappear faster. I fry my husband fish in small amount of coconut oil he loves it. I can small jars in both bathroom a jar on my nightstand and one on table unloving room. I use it for many things.

16 Jan Booker { 07.07.15 at 2:27 pm }

i am very interested in use of coconut oil. I would like to know more about how to use it.

17 Peggy { 07.07.15 at 11:30 am }

Since this is so good for humans and skin problems, is it also good to put it on dogs coats for instance if they have dry skin or dandruff. I know you can give it to dogs, but my dog isn’t crazy about eating it, so I was wondering if I could just put it on her coat for the dry skin?

18 Dee { 07.07.15 at 11:26 am }

How do you ingest it?

19 Vicki Rose { 07.07.15 at 11:09 am }

I have been using it for about five months, it has done wonders for my face/neck areas and I use it on top of my hands and have noticed a difference. I have used it in my mouth to help fight tooth decay, BUT I have not done it seven days in a row, so I will try that. I love it! Will not use anything else on my face and neck. I have noticed that since I bought mine, the shelves seem to remain empty of it I guess as people are discovering its benefits!!

20 Gerry { 07.07.15 at 10:11 am }

I read an article that if you use a tablespoon and keep it in your mouth for 20 minutes then spit it out rinse and do this for 7 days it actually kills tooth decay. I have bought some to try it I found it at Aldi’s Grocery store. Worth a try!

21 Christine { 07.07.15 at 10:02 am }

I use coconut oil every night to remove my eye make up. It’s better than any make up remover I’ve ever tried, and my eyelashes are thicker and softer than ever!

22 Christine { 07.07.15 at 9:55 am }

How do we store it?

23 Sue { 07.07.15 at 9:23 am }

Best to have some in the bathroom and some in the kitchen!
i keep a jar of the solid in the bathroom. This is easy to scoop into you hand and warm a bit until it liquified to go on your body. If you leave some water on your skin from your bath or shower it will actually smooth over your skin nicely and then just pat yourself dry. Experiment to see how your skin responds. It’s a low sun protectant too and I have much better skin tone! I think the mosquitoes don’t like it either , especially with a bit of lavender oil. While my hair is still damp I rub a tiny amount on the ends. Tames it and keeps it shiny. Do not use on dry hair or use too much, it will look oily! Although it will be healthy! Same jar I can scoop a teaspoon out to use for pulling in my mouth. You should spit that out though.
In the kitchen I mostly keep a bottle of liquid for easy cooking, but also have a solid spread.
If you have any that has spoiled I have used it outside on my garden tools, gate hinges etc. it can’t hurt anything outside and is better than oil!
Any health food store will have both and some grocery stores. Just research the brand, but most are good!

24 Jnette { 07.07.15 at 9:06 am }

I add 1/2 tsp turmeric paste to my coffee every morning and I also take fish oil capsules. Fish oil absorption is better when taken with some fat and turmeric is fat-soluble so you need to use some kind of fat to get the benefits from it, so I also add 1 tsp coconut oil to my coffee daily to aid absorption. I don’t know much about the health benefits of the coconut oil, but I do know it doesn’t have any taste and not a terribly “oily” consistency in the coffee. If it has benefits in addition to the turmeric and fish oil, then I’m truly “golden”…. 😀

25 Trish Thornton { 07.07.15 at 8:50 am }

I found Coconut oil Organic by Crisco at WalMart this past week. I love it as a moisturizer.

26 Jules { 07.07.15 at 8:19 am }

Been using it about a year, mostly internal. I blend it in my coffee each morning, using my blender abt 1 Tbsp. Makes a nice froth on top, cafe style. I love to sear chicken with it, or any sauteed meat or veggie. Docs are happy Ive handled a lot of chemo and some radiation without typical side effects. BTW extra-virgin and organic are usually both on the label and are the same thing if you reseach how its made. I also mix with baking soda and brush with it couple times a week for healthy gums and whiter teeth. I swear blending it in my coffee ea day keeps me regular. Also give my dogs a tsp daily, great for coats, dryness and their breath. Great on my lips.

27 Michelle ruppenkamp { 07.07.15 at 8:10 am }

How much to take and you take it straight from the mat ????

28 Michelle ruppenkamp { 07.07.15 at 8:08 am }

need info on how much to take. , and how to take it, right from the jar , I have some but never used it, please help , thanks

29 W. Andrako { 02.07.15 at 8:45 pm }

It is found in large containers for cooking and whatever at Sam’s and Costco. It is solid until you warm it a little and then it is liquid and can be used on your face or for cooking. Make popcorn with it, use it instead of butter or other fat in baking, hand cream , body lotion, and many other uses right out of the jar.

30 Charles Schiller { 02.01.15 at 10:36 pm }

Been using it for almost three years. Cook with it. Make toothpaste deodorant skin care hair care has cleared up eczema and other skin issues. Give it a try you will like it.

31 BarbaraAL { 02.01.15 at 2:48 pm }

Coconut oil is know to benefit people with cognitive issues like Alzheimer. 2 or more tablespoons a day.

32 Linda Sample { 02.01.15 at 10:16 am }

i have dry skin is there and I am starting to show wrinkles. Also have stomach problems as to some things tears up my stomach. What kind should I buy for beauty and what kind for cooking and what kind of pills do I buy and where do I find these products. Is there a web site that will teach me how to use this .

33 Diane { 02.01.15 at 8:15 am }

For most of my life I have avoided anything with coconut oil in it………it was said to be especially bad for you! I have been using it for about 6 months and find my cats love it. One rescue cat who looked terrible now has a beautiful coat and he cries for me to give him some every morning. One person who wrote in said if you have kidney problems you might not should use it. Why? What would it do to kidneys? I use it for many reasons….in place of lotion for one. I also saw where once a day we should put half a tablespoon in our mouths and swish it around for 10-15 minutes…………..that it would benefit our gums and the dentist would notice the next time we see him. I thought that much would gag me but it melted immediately and has little if any taste. I’ll let you know if my dentist says anything when I see him in four months.

34 Marie { 01.31.15 at 11:20 pm }

I have had recurring shingles (herpes) on my lower hip for the last 30+ years. Now, soon to enter my senior years, the frequency and intensity of the outbreaks was increasing. I began using coconut oil on the area several weeks ago. I am amazed to find the intensity and duration of the outbreaks have been GREATLY reduced. The scarring caused by years of blistering have also diminished.
Coconut oil is now my only face and body lotion. I now add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my container of body oil.
Pleased to find ALDI’S carries organic cold pressed coconut oil in their baking supplies isle.

35 Sherry { 01.31.15 at 10:55 pm }

I’ve been using it first and foremost except for tumeric… for everything! Donated a kidney and yes~ docs were shocked at my labs. All good, excellent actuslly. As a naturopath i recommend as pure an fresh as possible and if purchasing, stay away from contaminating plastic containers. If you have kidney disease however, seek advise from a professional familiar with medicinal use of coconut oil.

36 Diane S { 01.31.15 at 9:52 pm }

I am a liver transplant patient and immunosuppressed. I was just wondering if it would be contradictory to boost my immune system.

37 carolyn { 01.31.15 at 8:52 pm }

I love using coconut oil on my skin and hair, makes it so soft. I take at least three tablespoons a day, very good in my coffee in the morning, also good to cook with.

38 Barbara Loyd { 07.09.14 at 11:38 pm }

Walgreen’s sells organic coconut oil, their brand and another.I love the oil for my skin and hair and have had no allergic reactions. I take coconut oil capsules which help my digestive system.

39 Tammy { 07.09.14 at 10:28 am }

How much would you suggest taking orally for health on a daily basis? I have used this on my hair for a conditioner occasionally, and it is great. But would like to know what is a good amount to ingest for both my husband and myself. We both have stomach issues. He has ulcerative colitis and I have a lot of bloating and abdominal pain all the time… Suggestions?

40 Kathleen { 07.08.14 at 9:42 pm }

Does coconut oil taste like coconut?

41 Elizabeth { 07.08.14 at 6:22 pm }

Isn’t there different types of coconut oil. Some for cooking, then another type for use as beauty treatments!

42 La Bic { 10.14.13 at 5:54 pm }

Warning: don’t discard left-over coconut oil into sink drains… unless your pipes rest in 80 degrees F or warmer, year round. Coconut oil can clog drains! You might have to slowly pour boiling hot water down a drain until it flushes the oil (but then doing so could send the oil further into a difficult-to-reach pipe!); you just might have to call a plumber!

43 La Bic { 10.14.13 at 5:36 pm }

Living in Washington state over 50 years, coconut oil is a relativley new product in my home (for the last year or so). Consider how it is a staple of life in most tropical regions, and how healthy peoples from such regions tend to be, compared to the ill health issues commonplace in the USA. I threw out the first couple of jars of coconut oil which I experimented with, for my lack of knowing how to utilize it. Finally I became determined to incorporate coconut oil into our regular diet after a nutritionist showed me a photo of my protein-poor blood cells. She told me to fry two eggs in coconut oil for breakfast each morning. Good hints: try Organic, Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed, unrefined, 100%, Non-GMO Coconut Oil. Such is becoming easier to find in the health-food sections of grocery stores, supplement/athletic-food stores, and co-ops. In fact, we buy ours by the gallon at Costco warehouse stores. Keep stored at standard room temperature (it softens easily in warm weather, liquifies in hot weather, and hardens in cool storage). One might want to “season” a pan with coconut oil for best cooking performance. To fry: heat enough oil in pan to throughly coat surface (just enough for an egg to swim in). Use medium low heat, and put an apron on (coconut oil splashes are very difficult to remove from garments). As soon as oil is transparent, drop egg in. Be patient, since lower heat takes longer to cook an egg. Gently flip egg after egg-white loses transparancy. Allow bottom to set, then remove egg to plate. After eating eggs from this oil for a couple months, I did a taste test against eggs cooked in unsalted butter (like I used to do). The butter-cooked eggs had a definite BOVINE note, and I WON’T go back to frying with butter! Oddly, frying in coconut oil works better when it is in its second-or-more-day of use in the same pan (fresh oil in a clean pan doesn’t perform as well, making eggs stick!; so if it’s new oil in a clean pan, make sure you keep the heat at medium-low setting). ALSO: leftover meats (especially slices of prime rib, or steak strips) taste fabulous when reheated in a thin film of medium-heat coconut oil. One can STIR FRY as usual with coconut oil (we really like stir-frying in this oil). TOPICAL USE: scoop extra coconut oil into separate, clean container. My husband started applying coconut oil on his lower shins daily, to soften dry patchy skin. He used to think the irritation came from wearing socks, but it is actually a symptom of an ailment. An added bonus to massaging his shins with coconut oil each day was seeing his varicose veins diminish within a couple or so weeks! He decided to massage his scalp & hair with a thin coat of coconut oil most days, and it makes his hair glossy and tamed. I like to rub some into my hair a half hour before shampooing once in a while, for deep conditioning (especially since the last hair dye job made my hair feel coarse). And yes, coconut oil works wonders as a healthy substitute for k-y type gel (ladies with menopause and/or recovering from female surgery can appreciate this!). I recommend reading the “Coconut Research Center” website for much more good reading.

44 Jaime McLeod { 11.08.12 at 12:25 pm }

Lois, Yes. Though you may want to get separate jars for culinary use and cosmetic use, unless you are very careful.

45 Lois { 11.07.12 at 1:14 pm }

I buy coconut oil from a health store. Am I suppose to use it out of the jar for my hair, skin and cooking?

46 Jaime McLeod { 10.26.11 at 1:40 pm }

Teresa, I can’t guarantee that it would help, but I don’t believe it would hurt. Some people with Crohn’s disease swear by coconut oil.

47 Teresa { 10.26.11 at 11:16 am }

I HAVE CROHN’S DISEASE, WOULD IT BENEFIT ME TO USE IT? sOME THINGS ARE HARMFUL WITH CROHNS.

48 Helen { 07.24.11 at 7:31 pm }

I’ve been using extra virgin coconut oil topically, orally, and in cooking for about 5 months now. I love what it has done for my skin and hair. Also really enjoy it in place of butter on my toast. One of my favorite breakfasts now is steel cut oatmeal with coconut oil, honey, dates, and either walnuts or almonds. YUM

49 Jaime McLeod { 07.24.11 at 1:03 pm }

varaha – We don’t have any control over what ads show up on our site, and we certainly don’t write stories to please advertisers. This site uses Google Adsense. Google chooses which ads to put on our pages. Google’s ad engine uses a metric that tailors the ads to match the content of a page, thus improving the chances that the ad will get a response. This happens on any website that you visit that uses Google ads. Because this site is free to the end user, we depend on these ads to keep it running.

50 Cow Patti { 07.24.11 at 1:54 am }

Sounds like it’s definately worth a try. I know that a few years ago that it was no longer concidered a dietary taboo, and it’s healthy, beneficial qualities were recognized. I’ll be adding it to mine and my familys’ diets!

51 varaha { 07.23.11 at 10:11 pm }

What a coincidence! There is an advertisement for coconut oil right beside this story.

52 Janetta { 07.23.11 at 6:53 pm }

can you recieve the same benefits from eating coconut and is there a different in eating fresh coconut and processed

53 Sonya { 07.23.11 at 2:51 am }

I have been using coconut oil in my hair now for a couple weeks and it has been doing wonders. I have dry brittle hair and the coconut oil helps to keep my hair mositurized. Now that I have learnt all these additional benefits, especially for skincare; I am going to invest in using coconut oil as opposed to lotions!

54 Sheila Johnson { 07.20.11 at 2:21 pm }

Is there a recommended amount to consume daily. I am trying to lose weight and don’t want to over do it :)

55 Phyllis { 07.20.11 at 11:57 am }

I find this oil very hard to work with. It must be warmed to mix with other ingredients but hardens as soon as it touches them. Therefore I cannot use it to make mayonnaise or bake. Suggestions would be helpful.
I do not like it for popcorn, butter pops my corn much better with a better taste. Also I find butter makes items fry more crisp without sticking to the iron skillets.

56 Vicky { 07.20.11 at 10:38 am }

I’ve been using cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for about two years now. On a side note, it makes the worlds best popcorn. Use it for popping with seasalt and add a little on top mixed in for the fresh benefits. I use a wok with just a pot lid. Works great. Also, if I start using the oil early enough in the spring, I never need any other sunblock. I worked in my gardens here in the South and did not burn once last year. Just a nice, not overly done tan. I scrub with used coffee grounds (caffeinated) which leaves my skin feeling like silk and the coconut oil for skin cream most of the time, I’ve also not had one flare up with my diverticulitis since I began using the coconut oil and I was tormented with it prior to finding and using the oil. Just bought a case of six gallon buckets. It was much less expensive than the meds. I had to start trying natural remedies after becoming very ill and highly sensitive to many chemicals and artificial ingrediants. High quality coconut oil is wonderful in that it is highly effective plus it is delicious and high on the health chart. (And don’t forget the popcorn. It’s really easy to do, two minutes, wok wiped clean, bowl filled and you’ve gotten in your last portion of oil for the night.) :^)

57 Rose Hart { 07.20.11 at 9:22 am }

You can find excellent organic coconut oil at Platinum Health Care Products out of Long Beach, CA. I buy it by the gallon – 1-888-747-6733. I use it in all our cooking, baking, searing; on toast, my body, my hair………………….It’s an exceptionally wonderful product!

58 Trudy { 07.20.11 at 9:20 am }

Here is a link to a very good site to buy the coconut oil. I even have a recipe to use it in deodorant.
http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil_special_offer.htm

59 Angie { 07.20.11 at 9:04 am }

Where can you normally find this virgin coconut oil for cooking and topical uses? I’ve never seen it sold in grocery stores. Would it be in health food stores and is it expensive? I saw a lot of my own personal issues in this article and would very much like to try this. Thanks for any advice.

60 Jaime McLeod { 07.20.11 at 7:55 am }

Terri – For internal benefits (cholesterol, sugar regulation, etc.) you ingest it. You can substitute it for other oils, such as olive or canola, in cooking. For external benefits (moisturizing, hair conditioning, etc.) you use it topically, just like any other skin lotion or salve.

61 Diane { 07.20.11 at 1:45 am }

We have been using virgin coconut oil now for a little over 2 months. We use it on our toast everyday, and I use it to cook with I have to tell you that it is really good. We have replaced our oils and our butter with it. We have told everyone we can about the virgin coconut oil as I was not well for months and I started using the coconut oil and felt better in just 4 days. I also use it on my skin as a moisturiser. This stuff is incredible!!!!!

62 Terri { 07.19.11 at 10:13 pm }

this may be a silly question, but what do we do with it to receive all of these benefits?

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.