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Has anyone told you to give coconut oil a try, both in food and for cosmetic uses? You probably want to know what is so special about coconut oil and just what you can do with it.

Coconut oil is used in India and the Pacific region, for use in food as well as for hair care and skin care. Though coconut oil is a saturated oil, it's naturally that way and often not chemically manipulated in any way. Look for "virgin coconut oil" if you want an oil that is not bleached or otherwise altered, and that has been pressed without adding additional heat.

So, what are the benefits of using coconut oil? There is a lot of discussion about the scientific aspects of this, and some supposed benefits have never even been studied. Still, here's what folks who love using coconut oil say it is good for:

  • Doesn't make your cholesterol go up, and may help in treating high cholesterol.
  • Good for diabetics.
  • Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Decreasing the chance of heart disease and regulating heart rhythm.
  • Some people claim that coconut oil can even help with weight loss.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Psoriasis.

That's a grand list, isn't it? Of course, there's no reason to think that everything people claim to be true about "healthy foods" is actually true. Using coconut oil, like juicing carrots and cucumbers, won't prevent you from being unhealthy if you never exercise or if you smoke two packets of cigarettes a day. In fact, it may not benefit your health even if you make wonderful lifestyle choices. But coconut oil may still be great if you don't think it's a miracle cure. Here are some things you can do with it:

  1. Fry stuff. Coconut oil has a nice taste and works well with high temperatures.
  2. As hair oil, especially for thicker hair. My friend uses this on her Indian son's hair, and it goes all shiny.
  3. You can also use coconut oil as a conditioner and wash it out later.
  4. As a skin cream. Some people use it on their face, but it's also nice for legs after you've just shaved.
  5. In salads.

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