So, What’s the Fuss All About?
Well, for starters, we’re no longer scared off by the fat content found in coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid and is predominantly made up of lauric acid (approximately 48%), which is, also, found in human breast milk. It is cholesterol free, too and may even keep you looking beautiful...... it makes for a brilliant natural beauty product.
However, if you’re still a newbie to coconut oil, or if you simply want to clue up on what it’s all about, then fret not. At Lucy Bee, we’ve worked to pull together this definitive guide to coconut oil. You see, we want to share our love of this food and spread both the word and the knowledge.
So, here you have it – one handy document to help you learn all there is to possibly know.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Quite simply, it is an edible oil which is extracted from the flesh of fresh, matured coconuts. Those used for Lucy Bee organic raw coconut oil are grown in an agroforestry environment in the Philippines.
While coconut oil is something of a new concept to us in the West, we’re pretty late to catch on. In fact, there are some countries that have been using it for generations. The Tokelauans, for example, live in the South Pacific and get 60 per cent of their calories from this food.
Coconut oil is widely-used in tropical countries such as the Philipines, India (go on, try it in a homemade curry for real “wow factor” food), Sri Lanka and Thailand.
More than 90 per cent of coconut oil is formed from saturated fats. These saturated fats are medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs or medium-chain fatty acids, to put it in more simple terms) and among the saturated fats found in our oil are lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which the body uses efficiently.
EU regulations are such that we're unable to quote the health benefits of coconut oil but if you google any of these terms, you'll then be in a position to make your own informed decision. It's not us being difficult - the rules are the rules!
How to Use Coconut Oil
So you've got your jar and need to know how to go about using it. Well, firstly, let us start by deciding which type to use as there are various qualities of coconut oil, depending on the raw material used and the extraction method, too. Lucy Bee is natural, unrefined, raw, organic, extra virgin.
Once you have it in your cupboard, then go wild – let loose on your kitchen and experiment! We use our coconut oil as a replacement for processed cooking oils, including margarine, butter (yes, even in cakes and cookies!) and vegetable. So, make the most of it!
You can fry with it, roast with it, bake with it and spread with it. The world is your coconut oyster.
You can even apply the oil directly to your face or hair as a beauty product. We talk about some of our favourite ways to use it later, although we love hearing from our fans, many of whom have told us how it has helped to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.
Of course, if you’re stuck for ideas or in need of some inspiration, then don’t worry. The Lucy Bee website is packed full of ideas of how to use your coconut oil and what to cook with it, as well as using it your beauty regime.
From smoothies and soups to homemade chocolate, roasts and cakes, we have every kind of recipe under the sun, plus we've even got a couple of cookbooks, 'Coconut Oil, Nature's Perfect Ingredient' and 'Coconut Oil Recipes for Real Life'. Both of these are packed with over 100 gluten free recipes in each, for you to try.
For more ideas of what you can cook and bake, click through to the “recipes” section on our Lucy Bee website here.
How Much Do I Take?
Well, no recommended dosage for coconut oil actually exists and it all depends on your own personal uses.
Remember too that balance is the key so, include it in moderation as a sustitute for processed oils as part of a balanced diet of natural, nutritionally rich foods and not forgetting your daily dose of exercise!
While coconut oil is packed with benefits and can work wonders for your body, it’s a good idea to know the difference between refined and unrefined. Not all coconut oils are equal. They vary depending on the raw material used and the extraction method.
We like to keep things as natural as can be, unrefined, raw, organic, cold pressed and extra virgin (with coconut oil, virgin and extra virgin mean the same thing) versus those coconut oils that have been refined, bleached and deodorised, through necessity and extracted from copra that may have been left out in the elements and turned rancid and mouldy. We have a great article explaining how refined and unrefined coconut oils are made.
Lucy Bee is unrefined (hence use of the word 'virgin') and natural. Our oil is cold press extracted, within one to four hours of the organically grown coconut being cracked open and is classified as raw too.
Since Lucy Bee is of the finest organic quality and extracted at the lowest possible temperature, you can be sure that it retains every last drop of goodness and it all comes at a competitive price.
What’s more, our oil is completely Fair Trade and is certified by the Fair Trade Sustainability Alliance, which means that by purchasing through us, you are really making a difference to communities who need it the most. Our Fair Trade scheme also guarantees that monkeys are NOT used to pick or collect the coconuts used to make our oil.
How Do I Store It?
In the UK, extra virgin coconut oil is solid when stored at room temperature and turns to liquid when heated above approximately 24C.
You'll notice on our hot summer days that it will soften and melt in the jar and as the temperature drops it will solidify again, all of which is fine and doesn't in any way alter the benefits or its nutritional value. There is no need to refrigerate it as it stores perfectly well in the cupboard, even once opened, and avoid any contamination by using a clean, dry spoon or knife to take the oil out.
Coconut oil as a beauty product, really? Yes, definitely!
Extra virgin, organic, raw coconut oil can be used as a natural product for the skin, hair and body, too. It can help in your quest to keep looking beautiful, youthful and radiant – and who doesn’t want a piece of that?
Here are our favourite beauty benefits of coconut oil. Read on, and you’ll be wondering why you’ve never invested in it before…
For centuries, coconut oil has been used to keep skin soft, supple and well-hydrated. In fact, the fatty acids found in coconut oil mean it can be a brilliantly effective lip balm or night cream, particularly for anyone who suffers from dry skin or skin conditions.
We also love using it as a body moisturiser, particularly after bathing as this helps to lock the moisture in. As well as the fact that the vitamin E in coconut oil can hydrate and nourish any tricky patches (scaly, dry legs, be gone!), you’ll also smell utterly delicious and totally tropical.
Treat Skin Conditions
Many studies have shown that coconut oil can effectively treat mild skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, by boosting the moisture and lipid content of the skin.
To feel the full benefits, we recommend that you include it both in your diet and also apply it directly to the skin, whenever needed.
Coocnut oil is a wonderful natural make-up remover. Not only is it gentle, making it ideal for sensitive skins but it can also leave the face looking radiant, fresh and silky smooth to the touch.
Coconut oil is particularly good at removing make-up around delicate areas, such as the eyes (you’d be amazed at how good it is at removing stubborn waterproof mascara!), and a little rubbed onto your eye-lashes can help strenghen them.
Use as a Natural Mouth Wash
Many people use coconut oil for something called “oil pulling”, which has been practised for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy.
Oil pulling basically involves swilling either a teaspoon or tablespoon of oil around your mouth for anything between 5-20 minutes then spitting it out into the bin (you don't want blocked drains!)
Traditionally, Indians use oils such as sesame and vegetable to do this, however, coconut oil is a brilliant substitute.
Natural Sun Screen?
We would never recommend that you protect your skin with coconut oil and we recommend that you always use a high SPF when stepping out into the heat).
Lucy Bee does make a wonderful, natural after-sun soother. All you need to do is massage a small amount over your sun-kissed skin.
Hair Damage and Loss
For years, women living in tropical countries have been treating their luscious locks with coconut oil. But now their secret is out, why not get in on the act yourself?
Studies have shown that coconut oil is effective in preventing the hair from damage¹ from combing, brushing and everyday life because it prevents protein loss.
For this reason, it can, also, be effective in treating dandruff.
We believe that coconut oil will beat any synthetic conditioner on the market – simply apply a small amount of warm oil at night ( heat between the palms of your hands), then wash in the morning for shimmering, glistening hair that will earn you many an envious look. You'll find that a little goes a long way so you really don't need to use too much for this.
Obviously, we're all different and what works for one doesn't always work for someone else so we always recommend doing a patch test to make sure this is suitable for you.
Anecdotal Reports of Preventing Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Readers have shared their experiences of using coconut oil to not only help to prevent stretch marks by keeping the skin supple but to also help to fade ones already there. There’s no need for a pricey lotion or specially-formulated oil - simply massage your coconut oil in to the tummy, hips and breasts morning and night to reap the rewards.
- We've had reports from fans claiming coconut oil has helped their acne. It’s so much gentler and kinder to your skin than so many of the other remedies on the market, which tend to strip the skin of natural oils and aggravate existing problems. However, always be aware that everyone's skin is different so what works for one, doesn't necessarily mean it works for all!
- Smoothing coconut oil over cuticles can help to nourish the nail bed and strengthen your nails.
- If you suffer from dry hands that are exacerbated by washing up, try using coconut oil as your handcream. Sorry, we know that we’ve just quashed your excuse to not do the washing up…!
- Mix coconut oil with butters, such as shea, to make a brilliantly moisturising DIY body balm. You can also mix with Lucy Bee Epsom Bath Salt or Lucy Bee Coconut Sugar to create a fantastic, exfoliating body scrub that will leave your skin super soft and silky. Scaly, reptile legs, be gone!
- Coconut oil works brilliantly as a massage oil. We love using it as a natural way to massage our little ones and babies in particular – it works wonders in those tricky newborn months.
- Coconut oil melts on heating and then condenses when cooled, meaning it can be used to style the hair and fight frizz. Try warming a tiny amount between the palms of your hands, then working into the ends and mid-lengths of your hair as a natural serum. A little goes a long way so use a very small amount and then use more if needed.
- Delicate enough to use on the most sensitive of skins, it can be extremely effective on little ones too. Try using it to treat nappy rash and cradle cap, or to soothe any dry patches on your baby or child’s skin. "Our 4 month old baby had cradle cap. The doctor prescribed creams which seem to have no effect; they then prescribed a steroid cream. Not wanting to use such a strong drug on our baby I heard about coconut oil. Within a few days of applying to his scalp there was a noticeable improvement, two weeks later it has gone" -Karl Brown Personal Fitness Instructor Bedford