Coconut Oil has become one of the buzzwords on everyone’s lips – it’s the food that quite literally everyone is talking about.
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. Heck, our oil may even keep you looking beautiful - we love using it in our beauty regime.
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 are the benefits to using coconut oil, what can you cook with it and how do you go about storing it? It’s all in here!
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 percent of their calories from this fabulous food.
Coconut oil is widely-used in tropical countries such as India (go on, try it in a homemade curry for real “wow factor” food), Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines.
More than 90 percent 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 these terms mentioned above, you'll then be in a position to make your own informed decision.
Of course, the whole debate about saturated fats is still ongoing with many now realising these are not the demon once thought.
How to Use Coconut Oil
Putting all of that aside, how do you set 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!
Sweet potato nachos
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 ease 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.
From smoothies and soups to homemade chocolate, roasts and cakes, we have every kind of recipe under the sun. And in addition to this, we've even got two cookbooks packed with over 100 recipes in each, for you to try.
For our recipes online click 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 substitute for processed oils as part of a balanced diet of natural, nutritionally-rich foods and not forgetting your daily dose of exercise!
Which Type Should I Buy?
While coconut oil is packed with benefits and can work wonders for your body, it’s a good idea to know the difference between coconut oils - refined and unrefined.
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 (RBD). These oils are extracted from copra that may have been left out in the elements and turned rancid and mouldy. The oil needs to be heavily refined to make it suitable for consumption. We have a great article explaining how refined and unrefined coconut oils are made and their differences here.
Lucy Bee 'Best Buy' coconut oil by Ethical Consumer Magazine
Lucy Bee is of the finest organic quality and extracted at the lowest possible temperature, below 45C. 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 (FairTSA), which means that by purchasing through us, you are really making a difference to communities who need it the most. Plus, you can be sure that monkeys are NOT used to pick and 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 24C. As it cools, it will solidify again, still retaining all of its benefits.
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, even once opened and we always recommend using a clean and dry utensil when taking the oil out of the jar, to avoid any contamination.
Coconut Oil as a Beauty Product
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 radiant – and who doesn’t want a piece of that?
By now, most of us have heard all about the wonders of coconut oil and how to use it in baking and cooking.
However, what about using it in your bathroom cabinet, too?
Used for centuries as a natural beauty product, particularly in countries such as the Philippines, where our oil is made, coconut oil has numerous beauty uses.
Why Is Coconut Oil So Good for The Skin?
Containing vitamin E and rich in lauric acid, as well as capric and caprylic acid, coconut oil is soothing and nourishing for the skin.
We've had many comments from customers who have used this for a variety of skin problems including:
- Nappy rash
- Dry or flaky skin
How Else Can I Use Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil can be used in so many different ways on the skin – and we always love hearing new ways from our customers and coconut oil lovers.
Natural after-sun – it makes a wonderful after-sun soothing and moisturising sun-kissed skin.
Soothe cracked heels and hands - coconut oil can provide relief from dry or cracked skin, particularly on harder to treat areas such as the feet or hands. Every day use means our feet and hands are often the roughest or driest parts of the body, but a little coconut oil love can go a long way. To treat, apply coconut oil to the area, before wrapping loosely with clingfilm or warm towels and leaving overnight. You can even add a teaspoon of coconut oil to some warm water in a foot or hand bath and let the oil soak into the skin, while you sit and relax.
Body moisturiser - thanks to the chemical structure of coconut oil (it’s made up of medium-chain fatty acids) it’s easily absorbed into the skin. Our skin naturally produces sebum, which is also a medium-chain fatty acid. This sebum helps to lubricate the skin and hair and prevent fungal and bacterial infections. However, sebum can be damaged by everyday things such as washing or through broken skin. Using coconut oil as a moisturiser can help the skin to re-establish this natural chemical barrier, restoring moisture and elasticity.
Body balm - Mix coconut oil with butters, such as shea, to make a brilliantly moisturising DIY body balm.
Nappy rash cream – being free from chemicals and harsh ingredients, we believe that coconut oil is an ideal barrier cream to treat nappy rash naturally.
Cradle cap – this can cause dry, flaky skin on the scalp of little ones. For a natural treatment, try gently massaging coconut oil onto your baby’s head and leaving for around 20 minutes. Simply rinse off and then use a baby brush to remove any loose flakes. The coconut oil moisturises and nourishes the dry skin and effectively removes cradle cap flakes.
Massage oil - our coconut oil makes a brilliant massage oil when warmed between the hands and many parents swear by Lucy Bee coconut oil to massage their babies (a treatment which is renowned for helping to settle colicky babies especially, as well as strengthening the bond between parent and child). Coconut oil works so well because it is easily absorbed into the skin, preventing cracking and moisturising. Because it’s such a stable oil, it also can sit on the skin without causing infections.
Body scrub - if you suffer from dry or dull skin (or use fake tan), coconut oil can make a fantastic, natural body scrub when used with our coconut sugar/bath salts, as it helps to exfoliate the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother. For an unbeatable DIY body scrub, simply mix the oil with equal parts of our coconut sugar/bath salt and smooth across skin while in the shower, before washing away.
Post-baby - coconut oil can be used to provide soothing and gentle after care for women post-labour. Not only can it make an effective and gentle treatment to soothe sore or irritated nipples after breast feeding but it can also provide help to soothe skin after birth too.
Stretch marks - many new mums have told us how coconut oil helped improve the appearance of stretch marks (particularly in pregnancy) by helping to keep skin supple and smooth. To use in this way, simply massage onto bare skin before going to bed each night.
Shaving balm – not only does coconut oil make the perfect shaving balm, it also moisturises skin.
Cuticle oil - Smoothing coconut oil over cuticles can help to nourish the nail bed and strengthen your nails.
Hair oil - Coconut oil melts on heating and then solidifies 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.
Hair mask - treat yourself to a hair mask! For tips click here.
When you first receive your jar of Lucy Bee Coconut Oil, it will probably be solid, with a (although it will turn liquid in warmer climates, or in hotter weather). To use coconut oil on the skin, take it - either in solid or liquid form - on your palm. Then, rub your palms together and press it gently over the skin of the desired area.
A little also goes a long way and for this reason, you only need to apply a small amount (apply too much and your skin will look shiny!) to create an effective treatment.
Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.