3 best ways to eat & use coconut oil for health benefits

A dry cell that shows coconut oil for maximum benefits

Many thought that consuming coconut oil is the best and only way to reap its health benefits. Actually, I have 2 more great ways of using coconut oil up my sleeve to help you juice every drop of goodness out of it. And the best part is, when you piece them together, they will synergistically boost your immunity to a whole new level you never knew existed.

It's exhilarating! Let's dive in.

If you want to use coconut oil to its fullest potential, the very first thing you need to do is get a solid grasp of eating coconut oil. It's not just about swallowing some coconut oil and you get tremendous health. It's more than just meets the eye.

1. How best to eat coconut oil for health benefits

You can eat coconut oil uncooked, cook your food with it, or take coconut oil capsules. These are great ways to consume coconut oil and reap its enormous health benefits.

However, you should never attempt to eat coconut oil on an empty stomach, especially if you're just getting started. Why?

Because taking coconut oil on an empty stomach can trigger diarrhea. This has happened to many people when they consume it first thing in the morning when nothing else is inside their stomach except coconut oil.

Though it's actually a detox reaction from coconut oil which benefits by cleansing colon, you wouldn't want to experience such adverse effect early in the morning unless you desperately need coconut oil for a constipation relief.

So, it's always good (and safe) to ingest coconut oil with food instead of letting coconut in when your stomach is empty.

Okay, enough of the precaution, let's get down to each approach of eating coconut oil and squeeze out every last bit of its health benefits for you.

1.1   Eating coconut oil uncooked

Despite the fact that coconut oil is exceptionally stable due to its predominant saturated fats, heat (especially the one with temperatures around 220 °F or 104 °C) may mark down its health-promoting properties a bit. Why?

Because that's the temperature manufacturers use to vaporize its distinctive coconut scent in order to make coconut oil odorless and flavorless.

I mentioned in How coconut oil benefits your health: The inside scoop that it's the intrinsic phytonutrients called lactones that render coconut oil its natural odor. So, if you need the odor removed, you definitely have to sacrifice the nutrients that give off the smell.

On top of that, don't forget that coconut oil contains about 8–10% unsaturated fats that are unstable and may oxidize even at low heat.

It's true that they're surrounded and protected against oxidation by the 80–90% saturated fats. But the protection is never perfect as long as heat is present and particularly when it reaches certain temperature levels like 220 °F (104 °C).

So, the best way to consume coconut oil for great health is just add it uncooked to any food, regardless of whether the food is raw or cooked, including beverages.

Like for example, smoothies, juices, salad… these are raw foods, easy to pour coconut oil onto them. (Make sure your raw food is not chilled or coconut oil may turn into snowy flakes.)

As for cooked food, add coconut oil just before serving, not during cooking.

Note:
The rising steam in the cooked food may carry away some molecules of coconut oil with it into the air. But that really doesn't matter much since the loss of coconut oil (more to the point, its health properties) in such situation is extremely minimal. The nice fragrance from coconut oil (if you use unrefined virgin coconut oil) is still there.

Or if you're adventurous enough and can stand the oily mouthfeel, you can drink coconut oil straight from the jar… no mixing with food or beverages.

But drinking coconut oil straight from the jar especially when your stomach is empty may cause stomach cramp, nausea or other GI discomforts. Also, coconut oil can "bite" the back of your throat as it's slightly acidic (~ pH 5). So, be careful.

1.2   Cooking with coconut oil

I add coconut oil uncooked to literally all my food and drinks. I cook my food with coconut oil too. This is how I consume coconut oil to gain as much health benefits as I could.

But didn't I just say that heat may cause the loss of some beneficial properties in the oil, so why cook?

Let me ask you, which is more detrimental to your health, 8% unsaturated fats or 95% unsaturated fats?

Most vegetable oils you're using right now for cooking carry more than 95% or even 100% unsaturated fats. Cooking with these oils even at low heat like 113 °F (45 °C) will cause the oils to oxidize easily and lose their original health-beneficial properties, not to mention cooking at 220 °F (104 °C). As a matter of fact, they oxidize the moment you expose them to air.

A completely oxidized oil is extremely toxic and damaging to health. I'm not trying to scare you. It's true.

However, oxidation on coconut oil may OR may not occur during cooking since that very much smaller amount (8–10%) of unsaturated fats are widely separated and diluted by the high levels of saturated fats.

Saturated fats surrounding unsaturated fats in coconut oil on frying pan

But that doesn't mean they won't oxidize. It all depends on how hot the cooking temperature is. The higher the cooking temperature, the greater will be its probability of oxidation.

Cooking TemperatureProbability of Oxidation of Coconut Oil's 8–10% Unsaturated Fats
LowLow
ModerateModerate
HighHigh

It's worth noting that oxidation is not much of a concern. The real killer is the chain reaction that takes place and causes every single molecule in the oil to oxidize.

Having said that, even when the relatively low amount of unsaturated fats in coconut oil oxidize, they won't effect any severe chain reaction because they're too spatially spread apart, not like other oils that carry mostly unsaturated fats.

Which means, coconut oil gets to keep most of its health properties and you're still gaining quite a massive health benefits from eating food cooked with coconut oil.

That's why I always say that cooking with coconut oil is still good and healthy since it does not cause much of its health values or benefits to lose, unless you really heat it up to its smoke point at 350 °F (177 °C). This is where its health-promoting properties start to fall apart.

Unless you eat 100% raw food, you can't avoid cooking food. So, why use unhealthy oil for cooking when you can cook with coconut oil, which is a better and healthier option for you?

You can use minimal coconut oil (like ½ teaspoon) for cooking first, then before serving add more coconut oil to the cooked food (I always do this).

This ensures you're getting maximum health benefits from coconut oil, rather than cooking with unsaturated oil first and then add coconut oil to the food before serving.

Not only that, I found that doing so actually has one super advantage that no other cooking oils can match. That is, the dominating saturated fats in coconut oil are good at preserving the nutrients in food.

You can easily lose or destroy the nutrients in food during cooking because of the heat. But when you "coat" them with a layer of coconut oil, the anti-oxidative saturated fats in coconut oil will protect the nutrients against oxidation and environmental destruction.

Which is why when you leave the food (cooked with coconut oil) out even for long hours the taste remain unchanged. This is so unlike food which is cooked with oils that carry mostly unsaturated fats – it will turn rancid and taste stale even in refrigerator after some time.

Coconut oil prevents rancidity vs other oils expedite rancidity

That means, you're gaining not just the health benefits of coconut oil, but also a lot more nutritional benefits from food when you eat the food cooked with coconut oil as well. Awesome, huh?

Note:
If you bake with coconut oil, you might worry that baking food at temperatures higher than the oil's smoke point will break its health properties. Actually, it won't happen in most cases because the moisture in the food will help to keep the inside temperature below the smoke point.

1.3   Taking coconut oil capsules

Did you know that coconut oil comes in capsule form too?

Coconut oil in capsules may seem like a supplement, but don't treat it that way. If you eat coconut oil like a supplement, you won't gain much health benefits from it. This is because you wouldn't take a supplement in great amount, would you?

So, how many coconut oil capsules should you take a day?

One coconut oil capsule generally contains 1000 mg (i.e. 1 g) only. If you need 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to keep you strong and healthy, and one tablespoon holds 14 grams, which equates to 14 pills, then you'll need to take 42 coconut oil pills daily for health benefits.

Can you imagine yourself popping 42 capsules into your mouth every day? That's total madness!

And it's not cheap to consume coconut oil in capsules though because packing in pills involves additional cost.

Another implicit disadvantage is that the oil may have turned rancid right within that little bolus without your notice. Unless you spare some time and effort to randomly sample them by cutting open some capsules to examine the quality of the oil.

If it doesn't smell like coconut but instead, smells like cheese or vomit or something disgusting, then the oil has turned bad. And eating it will cause more harm than good to your health.

Unless you're always on the move (like a road warrior) and so busy that you need coconut oil pills for great convenience (pop it anywhere, anytime), I suggest that you eat coconut oil from jar.

This way you can take more coconut oil for greater health benefits and stronger protection against viruses, bacteria and other super germs without burning a deep hole in your pocket.

Note:
Animal-derived gelatin that is used to make the capsule may contain antibiotic and hormone residues. To make matters worse, some may even get contaminated with diseased animal tissues. Hence, it's best to buy coconut oil that is encapsulated in plant-derived pills if you need to take coconut oil capsules.

1. 4   How much coconut oil should you eat daily?

You should at least consume 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. I've told you that earlier, remember? It's practically pointless if you're not eating enough coconut oil every day for health benefits.

In fact, it'll be more ideal if you can ingest more than 3 tablespoons per day. It's actually safe and healthy to consume as much coconut oil as you can. I've heard about people taking 10 tablespoonfuls of coconut oil daily. Unbelievable, right?

7 tablespoons a day is my max. But for the most part I take only 3 to 5 tablespoons per day.

If you're just getting started, don't ingest that kind of amount like us. You're in for the common side effects of coconut oil that many people have experienced as a newbie.

Start with a small quantity like ½ or 1 TEAspoon first before attempting to consume by TABLEspoonful.

For example, if you're starting off with 1 teaspoon per day, just take it one time with your breakfast in the morning. Or you can split it 50-50 into 2 times a day – ½ teaspoon added to breakfast, the other half to lunch. And that's all for the day.

Continue with that amount for about 5–7 days. If everything goes fine with your body (no diarrhea, nausea or other discomforts), up your coconut oil intake to 2 teaspoons per day and so on.

In short, increase your coconut oil intake gradually until your body is able to adapt better to 3 or more tablespoons per day, without unpleasant effects.

1.5   When should you eat coconut oil, morning or night?

The best time for you to take coconut oil is in the morning and afternoon, and cut back on its quantity at night, preferably 3–4 hours before bed. That's because coconut oil can generate thermogenic effect that increases your metabolism.

When metabolism increases, it raises your overall body temperature and may affect your sleep quality at night. Our body temperature needs to drop a bit for preparation of sleep before bedtime.

Even if you do doze off after a high dose of coconut oil during dinner at night, your sleep quality might not be that good as you'll probably only enter light sleep and get awakened easily in the middle of the night. You might sweat in your sleep too.

To give you an idea based on eating 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day, you should consume 1½ tablespoon in the morning, 1 tablespoon at lunch, and ½ tablespoon at dinner. Or better, take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. This allows your body to better prep for sleep at night.

You can of course, take coconut oil at night during dinner or even before bed, so long as it doesn't affect your sleep quality.

Note:
Keep in mind to avoid drinking coconut oil straight from the jar on an empty stomach. Unless you're dying for a cleansing detox, always consume coconut oil with food.

Did you notice that I suggest more coconut oil in the morning than for the rest of the day?

I recommend taking more coconut oil every morning if you're able to. We require lots of fuel to kick-start our morning after a long, restful sleep. Coconut oil benefits us (in this context) by converting directly to energy to awaken our cells and fuel our body. When your cells are empowered, they're able to break down and absorb nutrients from your morning meal more effectively and efficiently.

That's why I always take 1½ to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil first thing in the morning, with a nutrient-dense breakfast.

2. Applying coconut oil to skin

Eating coconut oil allows it to go right inside your body so that your cells can quickly and directly access to its abundant supply of anti-oxidative saturated fats, metabolism-boosting medium-chain fatty acids and powerful antimicrobials which are the keys to defending your body against health-damaging germs.

But if you can "bathe" in coconut oil as well, so to speak, you'll gain even greater health benefits from it.

That's because by daubing coconut oil on your skin from head to toe, you're actually protecting not just your skin (external) but preventing the super germs from gaining entry into your body (internal) via the pores of your skin.

"But our skin has already had its own natural protective layer", you might say.

That's true, no doubt. But our skin is the largest organ of our body and hence, it has the largest surface area interacting with the surroundings.

Because of that, harmful germs can easily "stick" to our skin and colonize on it and then break through the barriers and enter our body to create havoc.

This is especially true when you're in places like hospitals or dirty streets where bacteria, viruses and other aggressive germs are easily "available" and in abundance.

Imagine your skin is attacked by an army of malicious germs and 10% of them succeed in storming into your body, the amount of coconut oil (say, 2 tablespoons per day) you have ingested may not suffice to fight them off. 10% may sound little but it's huge enough to infest your body and take it down completely if your immunity gets very weak.

Don't forget that inside your body, particularly your liver itself already has plenty of viruses, parasites and bacteria to deal with.

So, after helping your liver to get rid of those nasty micro-bugs so that it (your liver) can continue to perform its functions without much glitches, what's left of coconut oil might appear too insignificant for that 10% of intrusive microbes that penetrate into your body via your skin.

What's even worse is that you can't take too much coconut oil or your bowels might become too loose (as said earlier) and you'll have to keep running to your "lovely toilet" multiple times within couple of hours.

Even if you spread the intake over a day, the max for most people in general is only about 4 tablespoons daily.

That's why besides ingesting it, you should also apply coconut oil to your skin every day to make sure you're harvesting more benefits from coconut oil.

And when you apply, remember, just put a thin layer on your skin will do, and then re-apply as often as you deem necessary.

Slathering too much coconut oil on your skin in one go can easily saturate your skin and cause it to look oily instead of soft, smooth and supple. To fix that, wait till the first layer has absorbed before you apply the second layer and so on.

3. Coconut oil pulling

Heard of oil pulling?

Oil pulling is a technique that you hold a tablespoon of any vegetable oil in your mouth and swish it for 15–20 minutes and then you spit it all out.

By doing so, it helps to reduce the number of bacteria, parasites and other germs that cling onto and grow on your teeth, gums, tongue or anywhere they can live on inside your mouth as long as there are food residues.

If you never do oil pulling, chances are you'll swallow those bacteria, parasites and other germs with the food into your stomach. And you know what's going to happen next.

Though our gastric acid can kill them, not all will be killed. Some will intelligently hang on to spots where the corrosive acid cannot reach like your esophagus or anywhere along the food path and then conquer the area and attack you when the time is ripe.

So, oil pulling is vital to keep your mouth free of harmful microbes so as to reduce the germ load your body has to handle.

And if you use coconut oil for oil pulling, the cleansing effect will be even stronger since coconut oil does not simply "bundle" bacteria and other germs together for you to purge them out in a spit, it kills them without mercy as well.

To top it off, using coconut oil for oil pulling can also strengthen your gums so they won't bleed easily when you brush your teeth.

That's not all. Stronger gums can grip teeth more firmly so that your teeth will not fall off easily as you age. It's no surprise to still have a complete set of teeth holding steadily onto your gums even at the age of 90 (I have witnessed that with my bare eyes).

So, to retain your beautiful smile and gain as much health benefits from coconut oil as possible, start coconut oil pulling today.

Oh, be sure to brush your teeth to remove any sticky food particles or residues before pulling with coconut oil to boost the overall effectiveness of oil pulling.

Bonus: Which coconut oil should you eat for best health benefits?

We're focusing on eating coconut oil to make you healthier, right? So, it makes perfect sense for you to use the best coconut oil that offers the greatest health benefits.

In that case, choose virgin coconut oil.

It's the best among the various types of coconut oil because it is cold pressed and goes through as minimum processing as possible. Hence, it gets to retain most of its beneficial properties.

However, this unrefined coconut oil will give off an odor that is naturally present in it. It's aromatic to many of us but you may not like it.

If that's the case, then your next best alternative would be pure RBD coconut oil. It's a type of refined coconut oil that has its natural coconut odor removed but yet get to preserve as much health properties as possible. On top of that, go with the organic one to free your body from additional toxic load.

How about fractionated coconut oil? Is this good for your health?

Although it's regarded as another type of refined coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil is no match for virgin (and even RBD) when it comes to promoting health and immunity. This is due to the fact that fractionated coconut oil contains only 2 beneficial medium-chain saturated fats, which have limited capability in fighting malicious microbes.

But fractionated coconut oil is good for weight loss though. So, if you just want to lose weight, use (food grade) fractionated coconut oil. But if you want amazing health, use virgin or RBD coconut oil.

So, that's how you can use coconut oil to the max and take your health to the next level. Any questions so far? If yes, drop them in the comment form below so that we can discuss further on how to make your health and life better with coconut oil.

Discover next » How to use coconut oil for acne

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26 chats on “3 best ways to eat & use coconut oil for health benefits

  1. I used organic extra virgin coconut oil after a double chest infection and antibiotic allergy, it cleared right up. However, I ate Raw Coconut Oil for almost a year since that so being told to have it every 2 hours was my excuse...I looooove it and I sold a purer version direct from India. Beautiful. But you must balance, because it IS FAT!!! So I put on a little weight so working on goin back to my Partially RAW and FRUIT Only diet. Thanks for your Blog. Will email you soon.

    • Hi Diana, coconut oil should be safe for you. Try adding one teaspoon of coconut oil to your diet per day for a few days and see whether any odd reaction with your stomach takes place.

      The more coconut oil you consume, the better you are. But because you've had gastric bypass, you must gradually increase your intake of coconut oil until you find the right amount for your condition. Don't rush.

    • Hello Ashok, you can take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in morning, but try not to take on an empty stomach as coconut oil may trigger diarrhea or cause other stomach discomfort. Better to consume coconut oil with food.

    • Of course David, you can take coconut oil to help with your leucoderma condition. Cells that are unhealthy may not produce sufficient melanin for your skin. Consuming coconut oil can help improve functions of cells.

      I suppose you're saying 2 tablespoons every 2 hours. It's good if you can consume that way, but it may be too much for your body to handle for the day. Too much coconut oil may cause diarrhea-like symptoms.

      I suggest that you incorporate one or two tablespoons each into your breakfast and lunch. You should have enough intake of coconut oil for the day.

      Reminder: Don't eat coconut oil on its own on an empty stomach. This easily triggers diarrhea. Always take coconut oil with food.

      Apply coconut oil to the affected skin as well for even better results. Coconut oil may not have high spf value, but it does help to minimize the damages free radicals can have on your skin upon stimulation by UV from the sun.

      Last but not least, don't rush. Healing takes time. So, be patient.

  2. I have allergy issue like every 2 days i feel ittchiness on my body so i take allegra tablet in every 2 days. Coconut oil will help me in this problem in anyway?

    • Hi Jyoti, I don't know whether coconut oil can help with your itch though coconut oil is good for skin, but you can try it out. Apply a dab to the itchy spot and wait a few minutes. If you don't feel itchy anymore, then it is for you.

      And you can start to put more coconut oil to do away with the itch. But if it makes you worse, stop immediately.

    • Hi Shannon, I believe all brands of dietary coconut oil should have a pH 5 for edibility. And suitability for oil pulling to begin with.

      But when you do oil pulling, the fat-digesting enzymes in your saliva will unleash fatty acids from the triglyceride bonding, rendering the increased acidity level of coconut oil in your mouth. The longer you oil-pull, the more saliva you'll secrete, and the more fatty acids will be freed.

      Which is why some people feel scratchy in the throat when they inadvertently swallow some mixture (coconut oil + saliva). We should spit it all out after oil pulling and rinse our mouth properly not just to get rid of dead bacteria and their toxic discharge, but also to prevent hurting our throat.

        • Hi Shannon, there's no such thing as alkaline coconut oil.

          Look. All dietary oils are made up of triglycerides, whereby each composes of a glycerol and 3 fatty acids.

          If these triglycerides stay as they are, then the oil would have zero free fatty acids. As such, this coconut oil would at best be as neutral as water, which has a pH 7. Any value above 7 is alkaline.

          To back up a little bit... free fatty acids are fatty acids that have broken away from the triglyceride bond. And their "free" presence is what causes the pH scale to fall below 7 and causes the product to become acidic.

          But no matter how good a manufacturer extracts the oil from coconut, there's bound to have some fatty acids "escaped" from the triglyceride bonding. This means that there would be some free fatty acids lingering in the oil, causing the pH to fall to 6 or (mostly) 5, which are acceptable for consumption without having to dilute with water.

          Even if they go to the extent to remove any free fatty acids that are present in their product, the pH of the oil will not rise above neutral.

          In other words, coconut oil can never be alkaline unless they add alkalizing substances to the oil.

          It's like naming their virgin coconut oil "extra-virgin coconut oil" by some companies, which actually is just a marketing gimmick since there's no such thing as "extra-virgin coconut oil".

  3. I am wondering when is the best time to take coconut oil.
    First dose:
    Early morning before breakfast and drinking?
    Early morning one hour after drinking water but before breakfast?
    With breakfast even if i only eat fruits.

    Then second dose before lunch or with lunch?
    Since I would like to take ghee as well. Is it OK if I have coconut oil and ghee with meals? Should they be taken at separate times.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Radhika, I'd say morning and afternoon are the best times to take coconut oil. But I wouldn't recommend to consume coconut oil by itself before breakfast and drinking water as you were asking. This is because an empty stomach enables coconut oil to get absorbed very quickly into our system. This often triggers some side effects like nausea, stomach cramp or even diarrhea.

      Coconut oil is a food, not a supplement. So, take coconut oil with food at all times to reap its health benefits. Like adding to your breakfast and lunch. Yes, you can mix coconut oil into your ghee too. Many people are doing that.