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9 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil You Never Knew

9 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil You Never Knew

It was not so long ago that the health world was warning people against oil and condemning saturated fats. However, in recent years coconut oil has been in the spotlight for all the right reasons, being branded as a “good” fat. All kinds of recipes have exploded onto the scene, from cakes to curries, including the oil as an ingredient.

Coconut oil fats contain metabolism-boosting medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and lauric acid. Nearly 50% of the fat in coconut oil is in fact lauric acid, a so-called miracle compound. Your body converts this lauric acid into monolaurin, which has been proven by studies published by the National Institute of Health to have antimicrobial, antiviral and antiprotozoa properties.

When baking with coconut oil instead of butter or oils, the substitution ratio is simply 1:1, so for every cup of butter, use one cup of coconut oil. The thing that makes cooking with coconut oil great is that it can be heated to high temperatures without oxidation thanks to its unique composition of fatty acids, which are about 90% saturated.

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Coconut oil has been proven to have a whole range of health benefits. It has been found to improve heart health, increase metabolism rate, promote lean body mass, manage type 2 diabetes and support the immune system.

Whilst the health benefits of coconut oil are gaining mainstream awareness, this little wonder oil actually has a whole heap of other benefits and uses. Here are 7 amazing uses for coconut oil you never knew.

1. You can use it to make toothpaste

Sounds odd, but you can use this oil (which is solid at room temperature) as a toothpaste, fighting cavities and tooth decay. Studies have shown that coconut oil is a natural antibacterial and antibiotic, which is great for minimizing tooth decay and improving oral health. A simple recipe can be made by mixing together half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of coconut oil. Add 30–40 drops of peppermint oil for that much loved, minty fresh taste. As coconut oil is a solid, you may need to microwave it for a few seconds until it’s pourable for easy mixing. If you keep it in an airtight jar, it will happily last for up to six months without needing refrigeration.

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2. Feed it to your four-legged friends

Whilst we all know that chocolate is not a treat for your dog, coconut oil is! Coconut oil is bit of a wonder product for cats and dogs, helping to clear up skin conditions, keeping coats glossy, deodorizing smells and eliminating bad doggy breath.

 3. It’s an energy booster

You can add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your smoothies, not only for added flavor and filling but as a great energy boost. Coconut oil is made of medium-chain fats that break down easily, giving a quick boost of energy.

4. Use it as a hair and scalp treatment

Coconut oil is fantastic for your hair. Apply it to dry hair and you’ll transform your locks, treating split ends and deeply nourishing hair, and let’s not forget the delicious, yummy smell! Just rub a small amount in between the palm of your hands and smooth over your hair. Don’t just put it on your palms but rub it all over the backs of your hands too, that way you can apply the coconut oil in a 360 degree manner and not overload hair with the oil.

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5. It can be used as a moisturizer

Coconut oil isn’t just good for your insides, it’s great for your skin too. Did you know you can use coconut oil to help soothe chapped skin and lips and moisturize dry patches, such as feet, hands and elbows? You can even use it post-shave for silky, smooth skin.

6. Use it as an eye makeup remover

Coconut oil makes an excellent makeup remover for the eyes. Simply pop a little bit of coconut oil onto a cotton pad, and gently wipe the eye area. Make sure you rinse it off after as it’s quite oily. Whilst removing your eye makeup, you’ll be nourishing the delicate skin around the eyes. It can also be used on sensitive eyes and it also removes waterproof makeup!

 7. It acts as an insect repellent

One of the most widely used ingredients in insect repellent is DEET and although it is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it isn’t great for your skin, can cause eye irritation, and provoke rashes and sores on the skin. However, I would never advise someone to not protect themselves against mosquitoes, especially in countries with malaria or dengue fever. For a natural and homemade insect repellent, mix together 10 parts coconut oil to one part lemongrass or peppermint oil for a skin-friendly, anti-bug spray.

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8. Homemade deodorant

Shop-bought deodorants work by blocking your pores with aluminium salts, hence blocking the route for sweat to exit your body. They don’t actually reduce the amount of sweat, but instead make the skin acidic and therefore stop the bacteria on the skin feeding off the sweat. Nice!

For a simple, homemade deodorant recipe combine ¼ cup of melted coconut oil with 1/8 cup of cornstarch, 1/8 cup of arrowroot powder and one teaspoon of baking soda. Pop it into an empty deodorant container or a small mason jar and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Keep the deodorant at room temperature as then the coconut oil will be soft enough to apply on your armpits.

9. Nursing mothers can use it as a nipple cream

Instead of lanolin cream, breastfeeding mothers can use coconut oil to sooth nipple irritation. For a simple cream, melt together two teaspoons of cocoa butter, one teaspoon of olive oil and two teaspoons of the magic ingredient – coconut oil – and mix well. The coconut oil will help promote healthy skin regeneration and act as a moisturizer.

Featured photo credit: Nacu via morguefile.com

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Alice Dartnell

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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