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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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