You can put it in your hair, put it in your food, and even use it to get to party going under the covers. But is coconut oil really that good for you? YES!
Coconut oil has been touted as the remedy for everything from acne cure to zinc alternative, but you can't argue that it has some proven health benefits when topically applied or moderately ingested.
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. This includes bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida Albicans, the cause of most yeast infections in humans. These antibacterial and anti-fungal properties hold true both when ingested and when used topically.
The People's Pharmacy specifically recommends it as a lubricant for women experiencing vaginal dryness, noting that its natural antibacterial and antiviral properties can help maintain vaginal health. (It does weaken latex condoms however so it's best used for situations where they are not called for.)
This is what makes it effective as a mouthwash as well. Coconut Oil Pulling, an ancient Ayurveda dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes has been used for ages for oral hygiene. When used in conjunction with a natural toothpaste, floss, and healthy diet, you can throw out that toxic fluoride (which has even been shown to reduce the brain's IQ... yikes!)
In beauty, coconut oil makes an amazing alternative for everything from a base for home body and lip balms, to shaving cream and hair conditioner. Mix it with coarse salt or sugar, and your favorite essential oil, to make your own DIY body scrub. You can mix it with Rosehip for oilier skin and Sweet Almond oil for dry skin. Here's an antioxident Coffee Body Scrub recipie from The Coconut Mama. One life hack even suggests mixing it with the loose particles of broken eyeshadows or blushes to make a creamier stay put version of your favorite colors. You don't have to throw out shattered blushes or eyeshadows anymore!
Coconut oil while beneficial topically and orally is also high in saturated fat, so as with anything, be mindful and moderate. Hazelnut, flaxseed, and avocado are all good cooking alternatives to cut out the bad fats. Replacing other oils in your cabinet with any of these can have a favorable effect of you lipid profile (the blood tests that screen for abnormalities in lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides), and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.
Here's Popsugar's tips on 21 ways to topically incorporate coconut oil into your life!