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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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