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Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil and How To Add It To Your Lifestyle, Stat!

Coconut oil, specifically virgin coconut oil has been gaining popularity in healthy eating conversations over the past few years. It’s considered a superfood—an informal term for foods that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other important enzymes our bodies need. It’s made up of medium chain fatty acids, which can speed up the metabolism because our bodies digest them so easily. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that these kinds of fatty acids are three times more effective at speeding up metabolism than any other kind. Additionally, a study by the University of Paraiba in Brazil published in the journal Applied Physiology, Metabolism, and Nutrition found that it lowers the blood pressure. It also boosts our immune systems, improves digestion and regular bowel movement, and can even work wonders on your skin and hair. The benefits of this tropical superfood go on and on, so get on the VCO wagon and integrate it into your diet with these easy hacks.

1. Take it like mouthwash.

Take coconut oil like mouthwash for a process known as oil pulling. Although the tradition has rooted from ancient times, it’s made a comeback in recent years. If taken regularly, it has powerful detoxifying effects for your oral health and even throughout your entire body. The oil works like a cleanser, “pulling out” toxins and bacteria in your mouth and preventing it from going further inside your body. Check out the Coconut Research Center for more information.

2. Use it for your hair.

Think of it as an all natural hair mask and conditioner—no need to worry about parabens and other harmful chemicals lurking in mass-produced hair products. Massage a small dollop into your hair and scalp, leaving it on for an hour before rinsing. It’ll keep your scalp from drying and your hair from becoming brittle and frizzy.

3. Use it for cooking and baking.

Swap your usual cooking oils for this tropical superfood! Coconut oil works in any recipe that requires oils like canola, palm, and even olive. You can also use VCO for baking—it can replace any kind of oil or butter that recipes call for!

4. Use it for granola.

Ditch the sweet syrups and yogurts for VCO for a change—the nutty flavor and aroma packs a different and refreshing flavor to your fruits and nuts.

5. Add coconut oil to your coffee, tea, soups, and smoothies.

Feeling a bit constipated? Add a dash of VCO to your drinks to help restore bowel movement. Add 1/2 teaspoon to fresh juice, coffee, or tea, mix well, and drink 30 minutes before a meal.

6. Eat it to boost your energy.

Take one to two TBSP of pure VCO as a midday snack or pre-workout meal. It boosts energy and will help you stave of hunger (and those snacking instincts) until your next meal.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.