Coconut Oil: A Brief History and Benefits
Coconut oil has risen in popularity in recent years. However, coconut oil has been used for thousands of years by people in Asia and the Pacific Rim. In ancient times, coconut oil has uses that were pretty different from how we use it today.
Coconut “meat” was the source of food for people of Asia and the Pacific Rim. Coconut oil was produced by pressing this “meat”. Additionally, the leaves of the plant were used for weaving baskets and the sap from its flowers was a popular syrup in cooking.
Fast forward to the 1950’s and coconut oil graced grocery store shelves as a popular cooking ingredient. Many used coconut oil for baking and frying needs. The popularity of coconut oil came to a screeching halt when medical reports began to speak against the ills of saturated fats that cause high levels of triglycerides, leading to increased levels of cholesterol.
In the last decade, virgin coconut oil has seen a rise in popularity as a “healthy fat”. As we become more health-conscious, attention has been paid to coconut oil as it contains no cholesterol and is free of trans fat.
A brief internet search on the uses of coconut oil yields hundreds of websites with tips, facts and hacks. Among the most popular uses of coconut oil are:
- Cooking. Coconut oil remains atop the list of items used in baking.
2. Coffee creamer. Many are adding the tropical oil to coffee for flavoring and texture.
3. Homemade lotions, bars, and deodorants. One benefit of coconut oil is its moisturizing property, making it a popular item in natural cleansers, lotions and deodorants.
4. Topical for healing. Coconut oil is used as a topical to speed healing after an injury or infection.
5. Milk supply. Nursing mothers are using coconut oil to increase milk supply.
6. Oil pulling. Swishing coconut oil is a practice used to enhance gum health.
7. Dilute essential oils. Coconut oil is a common complement to essential oils, used to dilute them, making them spread more easily.