It's impossible to have used Social Media in the last 6 months and not have seen something about coconut oil. All over the internet people are praising it for it's health benefits and huge range of uses. I was really intrigued to find out for myself, and a review for Vitacoco Coconut Oil was my perfect opportunity.
I was sent both small and large pots of Coconut Oil, which is hard and white at room temperature, but quickly softens into a clear oil when heated. The large pot I have been using mainly in my kitchen, the small pot in the bathroom.
Skin Moisturiser. The first thing I was really keen to try was the benefits to skin. I have dry skin, my hands are in and out of water umpteen times a day and in Winter especially they can crack and be very sore. The Vitacoco Coconut Oil works really well, and the oil feels lovely on my skin, soaking in well and not leaving any
greasy residue. This is unusual and clearly means more of the oil actually sinks into the skin. The smell was not as strong as I expected, it's there, but not for long, and it isn't at all unpleasant - it's just coconut!
You can also use it as a lip salve - naturally lightly flavoured, and colour free.
Hair Mask. The next use for Coconut oil that I tried was as a deep conditioning hair mask. It's said Coconut Oil penetrates deeper into the hair shaft and so moisturises really well. My hair is a mess after a windy Winter, so I tried around 3 tablespoons heated until it was runny, but not hot. I left it on for 1 hour, wrapped in a towel. After 3 treatments my hair definitely looks and feels much nicer!
Again the smell was fairly mild, and the oil stays warm enough that it doesn't solidify on your head thankfully! My hair is softer than I would usually expect, with far less tangling. I'll definitely be repeating this weekly when I have chance. The use of neat oil on your scalp and hair will also help to soothe a dry scalp and smother and dehydrate any headlice...handy especially if you have small children...
My 3rd trial is for frying. Vitacoco Coconut Oil is a Virgin Oil with no Cholesterol. Unlike Vitacoco, processed coconut oil contains high levels of Trans
Fats, which is a major cause of cholesterol, so it isn't helpful. As a downside Virgin oils have a lower smoke point than refined oils, making it slightly trickier to fry without scorching your oil. Coconut Oil is high in saturated fat, but mainly the 'good' type of saturated fat which we can burn off quickly and is less likely to convert to fat stores in the body.
Frying Savoury Foods. It fried perfectly, I kept the heat low and it didn't smoke, and my foods looked great. I found the slight taste and smell of coconut a little off-putting though, for me it didn't work. The children didn't notice at all and my partner felt the coconut added to the flavour. He is now very keen that we use it more often. I can't win them all...
Because I didn't like it with savoury foods and I'm prepared to give anything a chance, my 4th test was Frying Sweet Foods. This was great. I used it for sweet pancakes on pancake day, and with fruit and sugar on my pancake it worked really well. It also worked really well with Nutella. The faint hint of coconut was there within the pancake, and made it more interesting and pulled it together with the toppings.
The 5th use for Coconut Oil that I have tried was going to be 'Oil-Pulling', which involves swilling coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes to remove bacteria which cause teeth discolouration, but I couldn't face it.
So the 5th test is Cake Making. Coconut Oil can be used in baking just like any other oil or fat. In a cake I felt I could actually taste it less than when I fried with it. The cake was lovely, it had great colour and was very popular. There was a taste, but I think unless you knew it was coconut, you wouldn't be able to place it, and it certainly isn't unpleasant. Possibly if you make a sponge flavoured with lemon or something unusual then the coconut would stand out, but I doubt you'd ever object to a chocolate or vanilla sponge baked with coconut oil.
There are around a gazillion claims for the health benefits of Coconut Oil, most of which do need further investigation and scientific study to be proven, but unrefined Raw Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil such as Vitacoco Coconut Oil is definitely less likely to clog your arteries as it contains no cholesterol, and the saturated fat it contains is better for you than that in most other oils. As a beauty product it can replace several different products very effectively - and it costs only £5.99 for 250ml from your local health store or supermarket.