Frizzy hair? Coconut oil. Dry skin? Coconut oil. No shaving cream? Coconut oil. Bad credit? Coconut oil. Bad lover? Coconut oil will probably fix that too. The West’s new miracle food has been around for generations in the Caribbean. We’ve always been nuts about this nut.
Do this one thing: type in ‘coconut’ on Google. You’ll probably get upwards of 172 million results. Which is probably about the same number of health and beauty benefits coconut devotees say it has.
Somewhere around 2007, coconut water got cool in big markets like the US. Then, year by year, use by use, as sure as a nut will fall from the tree to hit a beachgoer on the head, coconuts became the dream food of the Western world. The coconut water industry alone is worth more than US$1bn. No more was coconut a bad seed.
But wait, didn’t Caribbean and Asian folk already know this? Didn’t our grandmothers and great-grandmothers use coconut on us for every single thing?
Skin – check.
Hair – check.
Nails – check.
Flu – check.
Food – check, check and check.
Dehydration – check.
Mattresses – check.
Shelter from the rain – check.
Mats – check.
Bowls – check.
They may not have known that coconuts contain Lauric Acid – an anti-bacterial flu-and-a-host-of-other-things fighter and an important component of human breast milk – but they knew it was good for you. And while their faith in the fruit wasn’t as fanatical as this guy’s, it’s good to know that what they believed is now backed up by science.
Science that tells us that coconut oil, sugar, flour, water, jelly (meat), cream can be used from top to toe for beauty and health. So, out of those 172 million possible uses, here are some my great-grandmother right down to my mother have passed down and recipes from novo-devotees.
- Coconut oil: the real beauty of this is that just one bottle can replace the numerous jars, creams and remedies on your dresser. Think of it, you’re doing your body good AND de-cluttering!
- For beauty, use your coconut oil as a: hair moisturiser (and to keep the frizz at bay); skin moisturiser and massage oil (add a few drops of your favourite essential oil and feel the magic!); lip balm; hand cream; makeup remover; body scrub; and shaving cream. Finally, oil pulling, this is an ancient Ayurvedic practice, that, well, takes practice. But the effects are truly amazing: whiter teeth, healthier gums and fresher breath. I started oil pulling between dental visits and my dentist was very impressed with the results!
- For health, coconut oil is now being used to fight dementia, early onset Alzheimer’s and, in some cases, Autism. Tired of using petroleum based products like Vick’s Vapor Rub to soothe colds? Try this natural homemade vapour rub using – you guessed it – coconut oil. As for you breastfeeding mamas out there, coconut oil and milk can help boost the lauric acid in your milk. Here are 21 more ways it’s good for you and the little ones, including dealing with eczema.
- Coconut water is where it all started. With fewer calories, less sodium and more potassium than manufactured sports drinks, it’s no wonder that athletes are going crazy for it. In the Caribbean, it’s the cure all for blistering hot days in more ways than one: drunk straight from an ice-cold nut as a refreshing pick-me-up or mixed into your favourite cocktail (Scotch and coconut water is a crowd favourite). It’s also not unusual for doctors across the islands to prescribe coconut water after a bout of illness.
- Coconut sugar, coconut flour, coconut cream and coconut milk: The stuff that dreams are made of for Vegan, Paleo, Atkins and GFSF (Gluten-Fee, Sugar-Free) followers. This particular mama is crazy about coconuts and her recipes really do work: http://thecoconutmama.com/coconut-flour-recipes/.
- Coconut jelly: Not just the sweet treat of the young coconut, this healthy jelly fills you up with good fat and is high in fiber. It also has great anti-ageing properties.