Health

05 Sep How we do: Relaxation

For many of us, relaxation means different things. For some, time spent with loved ones is ultimate bliss, for others, a bath and a good book is all we need to fight away the weeks stresses. We’ve asked our team here at Coconut Merchant to share their relaxation secrets and write about when they feel their most relaxed.

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‘Sunday mornings drinking coffee & catching up with friends,’ Sarah

 

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‘When I listen to music,’ Fedi

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‘When I go to yoga,’ Maddy

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‘When my kids are asleep!’ Sunny

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‘Having a bubble bath with a fancy bath bomb,’ Jo

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‘Playing music,’ Al

 

We’ve put together a  playlist of the ultimate chill music, great for Sunday mornings in bed or an after work soak in the bath because we know how important it is to relax and unwind. Have a listen below and take some time for yourself! Let us know what you do to relax!

 

 

 

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skin, best food for skin glow, food for better skin

24 Feb Eat Your Way to Better Skin

We’re all guilty of mistreating our skin once in while. Whether we’re falling asleep with our make-up on or indulging in one too many alcoholic beverages or deliciously greasy weekend fry-ups, there’s always something – and let’s not forget the dry wintery weather also doing its best to dry out our precious skin! It’s a hard life. Luckily, research has shown that improving our skin is easier than we initially feared – the key is to tackle it from the inside out, or more specifically, to improve the happiness of our domineering little gut.

In fact, it turns out that some of our most common skin troubles, like the dreaded blotchiness, acne, eczema, dryness, psoriasis and dermatitis, could actually be our gut’s way of expressing its unhappiness. One leading clinician studying the gut-skin connection simply explained:

‘If you want to heal your skin, you have to heal your gut.’*

This is because those smart little gut microflora reportedly affect everything that goes on in the body. From influencing our skin’s sebum production to absorbing vital vitamins and minerals, microflora are even imperative for detoxification! So how do we go about keeping our gut happy?

Read on, coco-lovers! We’ve composed a handy little guide to help you eat your way to flawless, beautiful skin. It’s time to optimise our gut bacteria!

1. Coconut Oil. Naturally we’re starting with our beloved coconut! As we all know our favourite healthy fat may have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, which are integral to healing your gut. Coconut oil will get to work targeting the underlying causes of skin problems by gently cleansing our digestive system. It’s also excellent for detoxifying your body, and of course, it is deeply moisturising (so long acne and dry skin!).

2. Fermented foods. Whilst they may not sound overly appealing, fermented foods will kindly gift your gut with trillions of beneficial bacteria to help balance and sustain healthy bacteria levels. By rebalancing your bacteria levels, your body will be equipped to fight off inflammation that can result in conditions such as acne and dermatitis. Bring on the sauerkraut!

3. Garlic. This strongly scented little bulb is descried by some as antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic, making it highly effective at preventing clogged pores and in turn spots and blemishes. It may just be worth that less-than-lovely garlic breath!

4. Lemons. These incredible little citrus fruits have natural antibacterial properties to help reduce blackheads and prevent breakouts.

Want to read more about the gut – skin connection?
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/the-skin-gut-connection
https://www.good.is/articles/healthy-skin-in-your-gut
*https://chriskresser.com/the-gut-skin-connection-how-altered-gut-function-affects-the-skin/

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28 Jan National Breakfast Week

It’s NATIONAL BREAKFAST WEEK! Yes, that means expect even more perfectly positioned pictures of avocado toast and smoothies than usual! The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of a good breakfast to kickstart your day. Despite it being considered the most important meal of the day, around 2/3rds of Brit’s admit they skip breakfast! So to celebrate the campaign, we’ve compiled a delicious list of some of the best coconut-based brekkies that will get you springing out of bed and dancing into work!

1. Porridge
Combat these cold, wintery mornings with a warm, toasty bowl of energy packed porridge! Not only will these powerful little oats carry you through to lunch, they’re also a fantastic source of fibre, potassium and vitamins. For a sweet caramel twist add a sprinkle of coconut sugar or a drizzle of coconut syrup, or why not add a splash of colour to your bowl with your favourite fruits!

Coconut Banana Porridge

Niki’s (@rebelrecipes) scrumptious Coconut & Banana Porridge will put a spring in your step!

2. Granola
Who doesn’t love granola? Those sweet, crunchy little clusters. Those juicy raisins and protein-rich nuts. And the coconut, oh, the fresh, crisp coconut! Granola is jam-packed with slow releasing oats and fibre but unfortunately most shop bought cereals are also heavily processed, loaded with sugar and likely to leave you feeling sluggish by 11. So why not make make your own? It’s so deliciously easy to make, plus it wont hurt your already sensitive purse and best of all, it will leave your home smelling like heaven! The flavouring possibilities are endless; from savoury to sweet, and fruity to spiced, so get creative and feel empowered! It’s time to take charge of your granola destiny!

Coconut Granola

Kelly’s (@eatpraycook_) Coconut Granola is filled with nutritious nuts and a yummy crunch!

3. Smoothies
In the midst of this bleak January why not take a sneak peek of the summer sunshine with a bright, colourful and nourishing breakfast smoothie! Loading up on fruit and vegetables first thing in the morning is an excellent way to kickstart your metabolism and set you up for a great day’s work!

Coconut Bircher Muesli

Maxine’s (@maxineali) Overnight Coconut-Bircher Smoothie is creative and healthy!

4. Oat Bars      
This one’s for those of you who approach breakfast with a grab and run manner! Oat bars are a fantastic way of getting that on the go energy boost and are filled with goodness! Plus they’re so simple to make and can be easily adapted to fit your taste. They’re also dangerously tempting when dipped in a jar of our scrumptious coconut jam!

Kelly's Apple and Beet bars

Kelly’s (@EatPrayCook) Apple & Beet Oat Bars are a delicious mix of chai, cinnamon, coconut & apple!

5. Breakfast Pizza
Forget the typical cheese and tomato pizza, this super-healthy breakfast pizza is completely natural, gluten free, and packed with fruity goodness! The oat and banana base is packed with soluble fibre to keep you fuller for longer, which some suggests as an aid to quit snacking and support weight loss!

Coconut Pizza

Make mornings delicious with Hedi’s (@hedihearts) healthy Breakfast Pizza!

6. Pancakes
Pancakes, the queen of the tasty breakfast foods, are not only a delicious reason to get out of bed, they can also be highly nutritious and filled with natural goodness! With endless flavouring possibilities, pancakes can be as healthy or indulgent as you like! For example, using whole wheat flour will increase the levels of calcium, iron, phosphorus and riboflavin whilst still being as delicious as ever. So get adventurous and make early mornings your new best friend!

Coconut Organce Pancakes

Nothing says ‘good morning’ like a big stack of Fresh Heather’s (@fresheatherChocolate Orange Pancakes!

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07 Jan Coconut Oil & Lemon Water

Trying to wean your body off coffee? Detox your way to health and happiness? Or reverse the damage of another deliciously overindulgent Christmas? Start your morning with a cup of hot water infused with fresh lemon juice and a spoonful of coconut oil! This simple but highly beneficial detoxifying drink is a great way to get on track with your health goals, whatever your motivations may be.

To detox!
This tangy concoction will help detox your precious body every day, and best of all, it doesn’t require you to make any ambitious changes to your usual diet. Lemons are citrus fruits but when lemon juice has been fully metabolised and digested by the body, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of the body. As nutritionists have suggested, an alkaline body is a healthy body – and while the lemon is aiding pH balance, our delicious coconut oil will be on hand to help flush the body of toxins!

 To boost your immune system!
Squeezing the juice from one lemon will provide you with 18.6 milligrams of Vitamin C, helping to make sure that your body is fit to fight off colds and infections! The natural properties of coconut oil, including medium chain fatty acids and monolaurin are also believed to be excellent for boosting immunity.

To promote natural weight loss!
While the lemon juice helps fight off hunger pangs, our coconut friends could help to boost your metabolism and keep your energy levels up! Lemons contain pectin fibre, which is suggested to curb cravings and suppress your appetite! Coconut oil on the other hand, is composed of medium-chain fatty acids, which are transported directly to your liver to be used as energy, instead of being stored as fat. Researchers suggest that by recruiting fat cells and encouraging fat burning our body’s immune system is cranked up a notch and essentially turns into a fabulous fat burning machine!

To encourage healthy digestion!
Studies have shown that the lemon juice in your morning mug can aid digestion as well as gently flush toxins and waste in the digestive tract and help to reduce nasty signs of indigestion such as bloating and heartburn.

To achieve clear and radiant skin!
Coconut oil has been suggested to have both antibacterial and antifungal properties, which is key for maintaining clear skin. It’s also able to penetrate deep into the body tissue due to its small molecular structure, meaning your body will be moisturised from the inside out! Meanwhile the natural properties of lemon will help your skin look hydrated, radiant, and youthful – winning all around!

 

Find out more of the fantastic benefits of coconut here!

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healthy fat

21 Oct Embracing Healthy Fats

With all the messages society sends about fat being bad, it’s understandable that a lot of people think they should be keeping fat out of their diets! However, this is a misconception – in fact, healthy fats are essential to a balanced, healthy diet. Incorporating foods like avocados, fish, nuts, and of course, coconut oil, are great ways to enjoy the health benefits of good fat.

Studies suggest that consuming healthy fats can bring a whole host of benefits to your health! Good fats are said to be great for brain function, help with weight maintenance, boost the metabolism, and even contribute to healthy hair and skin. The important thing is to eat natural, healthy fats – stay away from anything processed and artificial.

Coconut oil is a great and easy way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Its medium chain fatty acids are processed directly by the liver and converted to energy, rather than being stored as fat, making it a wonderful addition to a healthy lifestyle. You can take it straight with a tablespoon in the morning, or you can mix it into coffee, cook with it, spread it on toast, and much more – the possibilities are endless!

For a healthy snack, drop the empty carbohydrates and go for options like almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. These nuts are rich in nutrients and vitamins, and keep you feeling fuller longer, helping with weight maintenance! Nuts have even been shown to be heart-healthy: their healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids could work to help reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Fish, eggs, and avocados are other delicious options to incorporate healthy fats and lean proteins into your diet. Drizzle olive oil onto salad instead of sugary salad dressings, and swap out processed cooking oils for coconut oil, and you could be enjoying loads of health benefits already!

Remember that you CAN have too much of a good thing, however. Healthy fats are beneficial additions to your diet, but balance is key, so eat them in moderation. Best of luck on your healthy journey, and happy eating!

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sinus, sinus relief, natural, coconut oil

05 Oct Coconut Oil for Sinuses!

We’ve already extolled many of the wonderful virtues of oil pulling – the natural ancient method to oral health – but did you know it can also clear up sinus issues? If you’re suffering from bad colds this autumn, oil pulling may be just the remedy you need to get you feeling back on track again!

Oral health is imperative to the health of the body as a whole, and many issues –from sinus infections to digestive problems and skin conditions – may very well stem from poor oral health. Oil pulling works to remove toxins from the mouth, the idea being to prevent them from getting into the bloodstream and permeating the rest of the body! Sinus infections are caused by a buildup of bacteria in the nasal passage, so oil pulling is a great way to remedy and prevent this problem!

Coconut oil, as you know, is said to be packed with antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it the perfect oil to deep-cleanse the mouth with to get rid of bacteria. Oil pulling works best when done first thing in the morning, before eating. Simply swish a tablespoon or so of coconut oil around your mouth, making sure not to swallow any (as you’d be swallowing the toxins you’ve just pulled out!). Twenty minutes is recommended, but don’t worry if you can’t manage it for that long just yet – any oil pulling is better than none! When you’re done, simply spit the oil into the bin so as to not clog your drain. Some people report clearer sinuses right away, and others may take a bit more time, so keep at it!

You’ll enjoy a cleaner mouth from regular oil pulling and the widespread suggested health benefits that come with good oral hygiene. Still brush your teeth with toothpaste alongside oil pulling for good oral health. If you’re interested in making your own natural toothpaste with coconut oil, simply click here!

Have you experience the benefits of oil pulling? Tell us about it!

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boost, immune, system, common cold, remedy

17 Sep Boost your immune system over Autumn

Autumn has arrived! You’re probably excited about scarves, hats, and hot drinks – but likely less so about the prospect of catching a cold. Luckily, there are ways to boost your immune system to stop those pesky autumn colds and coughs in their tracks! Here are a few ways to stay happy and healthy this fall:

1. Sleep! Sleep is so important for your body. Making sure to catch between 7-9 hours of Z’s each night is essential, helping with brain function, healthy hormone levels, lower blood pressure, and maintaining healthy skin. Check out our top tips for getting a good night’s rest – complete with a recipe for coconut chamomile bedtime tea!

2. Stay hydrated! Just like a plant, your body needs water to survive. Dehydration is dangerous and can lead to fatigue, headache, and dizziness –as well as more serious health problems! It’s important to actively keep hydrated by drinking lots of water to keep your organs working in top shape. Make sure you drink extra water if you exercise to make up for any water lost through sweat. Coconut water is also naturally very hydrating, so feel free to supplement your water intake with it – it’s delicious on its own, or in juices or smoothies!

3. Exercise! Whether you’re playing sport or just taking a nice stroll around your local area, it’s important to get at least some level of exercise to keep healthy and fit. Exercise helps keep you happy and healthy, and decreases your chances of developing illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure. And if you’re ever feeling discouraged about starting, just remember – no matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping the people home on the couch!

4. COCONUT OIL! We saved our favourite for last! Coconut oil is a fantastic way to help boost immunity, due to the awesome potential antibacterial and antiviral properties of lauric acid. Also, the MCTs in coconut oil help boost energy and aid digestion, preventing fatigue. Coconut oil is a very versatile oil: you can cook your favourite warming dishes with it, stir it into hot drinks like coffee, and so much more!

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coffee,

21 Aug Coconut Oil and Coffee

Can’t live without your daily coffee hit? Want to take your coffee up a notch? We love putting coconut oil in our coffee, and we’d love to share the benefits of coconutty coffee with you!

Simply putting a spoonful of coconut oil into your coffee in the morning is a great way to provide longer lasting energy and to enjoy all the amazing benefits of coconut oil. You can even add it to the milk when you steam your lattes, giving a velvety smooth froth at the top of your coffee.

As we’ve mentioned before [just once or twice], the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in our beloved coconut oil are widely believed to metabolise as fuel rather than being stored as fat. This means that when you consume coconut oil, these MCTs could be immediately converted to energy – perfect for when you’re looking for an instant pick-me-up. The MCTs in coconut oil have also shown signs of boosting your metabolism and helping you feel fuller longer, making them the perfect addition to your morning to keep you going longer!

Whether you’re mixing coconut oil to your espresso, steaming it with your latte, or blending it for frothiness, coconut oil coffee is an easy way to enjoy all natural benefits of coconut oil.  And don’t forget that coconut sugarcoconut syrup and coconut honey are all delicious low-GI ways to enjoy all of your desired sweetness in a hot drink without any of the nasties of refined sugar.

 

There’s more where this came from! Check here for loads of coconutty recipes.

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coconut oil baby care, baby care coconut oil

07 Aug Coconut Oil for Baby Care

Maybe you’ve already tried our DIY coconut oil baby wipes, or if you’re a coconut lover, it probably comes as no surprise that coconut oil has loads more incredible benefits for babies! Gentle on skin (for both mum and baby) and suggested to be packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties, it’s great for babies both inside and out. We’ve outlined some of our favourite baby uses below: let us know which you’ve tried and which you loved the best!

1. Baby Massage: Massaging your baby has lots of benefits. It relaxes them – thus reducing crying and fussiness and helping them get to sleep better. It can even relieve colic and constipation, leading to less crying! Use coconut oil as a massage oil – it melts on contact with skin, so you don’t need a lot, and it will leave baby’s skin feeling soft and smelling lovely.

2. Nappy Rash: Ditch the chemical-laden nappy rash creams and opt for our all-natural coconut oil instead. Its natural moisturising properties are perfect for soothing nappy rash.

3. Cradle Cap: If your infant has a flaky scalp, coconut oil is fantastic to soothe the skin and get it back to normal. Using coconut oil will add moisture to baby’s skin, and is ideal for very sensitive skin like that on your babies heads. Researchers propose that the antifungal properties of coconut oil could even work to prevent cradle cap from coming back!

4. Unruly Hair: If your little tot has messy or unruly hair, coconut oil is a great natural conditioner to get tangles and knots out. Simply rub it through their hair, give it time to work its magic, then rinse out with their regular shampoo!

5. Bath Time: Coconut oil is a fantastic bath oil to add to the tub whilst bathing your little one. It will leave their skin feeling lovely, clean, and moisturised. Add a drop of pure lavender essential oil to make it extra soothing.

6. Relieve and moisturise skin: Sometimes babies get rashes on their faces, and coconut oil can be a great way to remedy them! Simply massage a tiny bit of coconut oil onto baby’s face at night and it should help clear up their skin.

7. Breast Feeding: Coconut oil is thought to be fantastic for breast-feeding mothers for multiple reasons! If breast-feeding mothers incorporate coconut oil into their diets, their breast milk will have high levels of lauric acid – thus passing the amazing health benefits of coconut oil onto their baby! Additionally, breast-feeding can be painful, leaving the nipples cracked and dry. Coconut oil is a great way to moisturise and repair breast-feeding nipples – and if your baby is feeding after application of coconut oil, no worries: the coconut oil is great for them too!

8. Improved Digestion: If your baby has moved past the breast-feeding stage, it’s perfectly okay to feed them coconut oil directly! You can either mix it into their food, or simply feed it to them by the spoonful. Use a tablespoon per day for your little one to enjoy all the health and digestive benefits proposed by industry professionals.

9. Thrush and Candida Treatment: Coconut oil’s prospective anti-fungal properties make it an excellent natural remedy for thrush and candida when taken internally or externally. Oral thrush in the mouth is a common fungal infection that occurs in babies and toddlers. Dab some coconut oil in baby’s mouth or if mum eats coconut oil and applies it to her nipples before breastfeeding, both mum and baby will receive the indicated immune boosting benefits of coconut oil.

10. DIY Baby Wipes: Make your own homemade coconut oil wipes. They’re a great all-natural alternative to traditional baby wipes, leaving skin soft and smelling great.

Wondering why the world has gone nuts of coconuts? Check out some of the amazing benefits of coconut oil here!

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pets

25 Jul Coconut Oil for Pets

Those of you with dogs may have noticed something funny happen when you coat yourself with coconut oil: you become your furry friend’s new favourite chew toy. It’s safe to say, pets are just as loco for the coco as we are. And, all of its amazing benefits apply to man’s best friend too!

All the natural benefits of coconut oil that we enjoy, can also work wonders for your pets. Plus, unlike other herbal supplements, they usually love the taste of coconut oil! Here are some of our favourite suggestions on how to share the power of the coconut with your furry friends.

1. Aid digestion. Just like with humans, coconut oil is thought to have digestive benefits for animals. Simply mix it in with their food – or let them lick it straight off the spoon.

2. Improve coats. If you’re here, reading this, you most likely love the conditioning and moisturising effect coconut oil has on your own hair and skin – so why not share this natural beauty tip with your pets? They too can achieve soft, shiny and luscious looking hair by simply adding a small amount of coconut oil when you bathe or brush them. Check out our DIY pet shampoo.

3. Deodorising. As much as we adore our pets, we can’t deny that they can get a bit smelly at times. Just as we can use coconut oil as a natural deodorant, it also works like a charm rubbed into our pets’ coats to freshen it up!

4. Disinfect cuts. So, your precious little pooch has arrived home from their adventures with some nasty cuts or scrapes? Not to worry. Our favourite superfood’s suggested antibacterial properties can be great for soothing and disinfecting cuts.

5. Picky eaters. If your pet is a picky eater, coconut oil is a great way to get them to eat more and get health benefits in the process. Mixing it through their food will make their food taste better, leading them to eat more of it. Best of all, unlike other less-appetising natural supplements, they usually adore the taste of coconut oil and won’t squirm away – quite the opposite, in fact!

How much coconut oil should I give my pet?
The recommended serving size for your furry friend is based on their size. As a general rule, we would suggest one teaspoon per 10 pounds. However it’s advisable to start slow at about 1/4 of the suggested dosage, then building it up as your four-legged friend gets used to it.

 

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18 Jul HOW CAN OIL PULLING BENEFIT MY HEALTH?

Oil pulling! You’ve heard of it, and perhaps you’ve tried it and seen some wonderful results in the health of your teeth and gums! However, did you know that the amazing benefits of this ancient practice go far beyond just oral health? With other possible benefits including reducing headaches, clearer skin, clearing hormone imbalances, and detoxifying the body, daily oil pulling with raw organic virgin coconut oil can be incredible for your overall health and is definitely something to try out.

The health of the mouth is inextricably linked to the health of the body as a whole. Bacteria in the mouth and gums can lead to other, more serious, health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. It is very important to take good care of your teeth and gums to ensure bacterial overgrowth and plaque do not occur! Oil pulling cleanses your mouth by dramatically reducing the amount of bacteria in the teeth and gums, allowing your overall health to benefit in turn.

As oil pulling detoxifies the mouth (and by extension, the body!), it could help with increased energy. The body won’t need to expend as much energy clearing toxins. By cleansing harmful bacteria and fungal overgrowth at the source, you can potentially stop these toxins from travelling through the body and affecting cells and organs – including the skin! Removing these toxins could also help to prevent headaches.

So there you have it! Just one of the many benefits of coconut oil. If you’re after a natural way to look and feel great, inside and out, consider oil pulling. We love it, and we think you will too!

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10 Jul Boost your metabolism with coconut oil

So by now, you’ve learned all about the health benefits of coconut oil and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short!) – let’s go a bit further in depth about the potential metabolic benefits of coconut oil!

Researchers propose that MCT fats burn more calories than LCTs (long chain triglycerides), because they are sent directly to the liver and are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat! Coconut oil is packed with MCTs, and is said to be naturally thermogenic, meaning it increases energy expenditure compared to the equivalent calories from other fats! Studies have indicated that 1-2 tablespoons of medium chain fats per day increased energy expenditure by 5 percent, or approximately 120 calories per day!

When the MCTs from coconut oil are sent to the liver, they are then converted into ketone bodies, which are immediately converted into fuel, and can possibly have a powerful effect on reducing appetite! This will help you automatically consume fewer calories and prevent weight gain. Coconut oil is suggested to be especially beneficial for reducing abdominal fat, and when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, can help with overall weight loss!

Don’t go overboard, though! 2 – 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil a day is sufficient to take advantage of these health benefits. Coconut oil will help you feel fuller longer and you’ll be less inclined to consume junk food. Remember to eat mindfully, and most importantly – enjoy these fantastic metabolic benefits!

Find out more about the health and beauty uses of coconut oil!

Coconut Recipes

Source for the study

 

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04 Jul Is Saturated Fat really bad for you?

Saturated fat. It almost feels like a dirty word – especially if you pay attention to the way it’s portrayed in the media! We’ve been told to avoid saturated fats, that they’re bad for you and will cause weight gain and heart problems. But, what if certain saturated fats were actually incredibly beneficial for your health!?

Well, researchers suggest that not all saturated fats are equal, and the difference is really quite simple. Man-made saturated fats, which are artificial and hydrogenated and present in processed foods, vegetable and seed oils, are bad for your health. These fats are also known as trans fats and it is this artificial hydrogenation process that causes all the health problems you know about.

However, there is another type of saturated fat – natural saturated fat that occurs in nature! Coconut oil is filled with this type, and it could actually have many wonderful health benefits. Because this is naturally occurring and not artificially added, it is proposed to does not become trans fat and does not clog your arteries or give you health problems. Instead, it is naturally packed with a rare saturated fatty acid called lauric acid. This makes up over half of coconut oil’s fat content.

Lauric acid is converted in the body to monolaurin, which some suggest has loads of antibacterial, antiviral, and antiprotozoal properties. It could potentially help treat and prevent disease, and coconut oil has it in spades – more than any other substance on earth! Coconut oil is also rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), whereas artificial, hydrogenated saturates have long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) instead. LCFAs are possibly the cause of the negative health problems associated with saturated fat, as they are difficult for the body to digest, strain your organs, and store as fat and artery-clogging cholesterol.

Coconut oil has no LCFAs but is packed with MCFAs, which researchers suggest are easy to digest, sent directly to the liver and are immediately converted to energy, are not stored as fat, and even stimulate the metabolism! This is ideal especially for diabetics and pre-diabetics, as it can give you fast-acting energy that doesn’t produce an insulin spike, and can be used instead of carbs!

Many studies have been done demonstrating that tropical populations who consume high-fat coconut based diets are among the healthiest on Earth! Some suggest that these are some of the most healthy people out there! In the face of evidence like this, it becomes apparent that saturated fats are definitely not created equal – and that natural saturated fats certainly shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush as their awful artificial counterparts.

Put that vegetable and palm oil in the bin, and switch to coconut oil! Your body will thank you.

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12 Jun colour me healthy

You know fruits and vegetables are good for you – your mum probably reminded you of that enough in your youth! However, ‘eat your greens’ isn’t the only adage to remember when selecting healthy food: be sure to eat your reds, oranges, whites and purples too! Each colour comes packed with its own very special range of health benefits – so let us walk you through some of them, and get ready to pile your dishes each day with the whole nutritious rainbow!

RED
Red fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and A, manganese, fibre, and lycopene. Manganese is an antioxidant mineral suggested to neutralise damaging free radicals in the body while building healthy bones and assisting metabolic activity. Lycopene is said to reduce cancer risk, while vitamin C potentially building immunity. Choose foods like tomato, red grapefruit, and watermelon to enjoy some of these fantastic benefits.

ORANGE
Vitamins C and A are the most notable benefits found in orange fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C, said to boost immunity and lowering risk of illness. Orange vegetables such as carrots are packed with vitamin A, which researchers suggest assists in body growth and development, and can help with eyesight – so go on and load up your plate!

YELLOW
Vegetables such as squash and yellow bell peppers are loaded with manganese, Vitamin A and magnesium. Magnesium can potentially help to build bone density and prevent hypertension. Try Kelly’s Butternut Squash Soup to add some yellow to your bowl!

WHITE
Onions, garlic, dates, brown pears and bananas are all considered ‘white’ fruit or vegetables. They contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, which researchers suggest are powerful immune boosters and have been found to potentially reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers. Bananas are packed with potassium – said by some to be great for muscle recovery and preventing cramps. Coconuts can also be considered a part of this category! You can read all about the benefits of coconuts here!

GREEN
Green fruit and vegetables are super-healthy, from spinach to asparagus and everything in between. Some notable nutrients in greens include lutein, folate, calcium and fiber. The nutrients found in greens have been found to support healthy eyesight, digestion and the immune system. Load up with a healthy salad, or sneak your greens into a cheeky smoothie, and start basking in the nutritious benefits of these fantastic vegetables!

BLUE
Blueberries are actually regarded as one of the healthiest fruits! These sweet little babies are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. This is said to promote healthy skin, protect the brain from toxins and boost immunity! They are also rich in ellagic acid, which is suggested by some to help destroy harmful cells such as those that cause cancer.

PURPLE
Purple fruits and vegetables have their own unique benefits, too. Fruits like plum, blackcurrants, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants that are loaded with beauty benefits. They potentially prevent blood cell breakage and destruction of collagen, which is essential for healthy radiant skin. Purple vegetables like aubergine are similarly nutritious – eat them to enjoy loads of vitamin A and flavonoids, which have a host of great natural benefits too!

How can you encourage your kids to eat more fruit and vegetables?
This Rainbow Activity is a great little idea to get them excited about their food!

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03 Jun Natural Coconut Toothpaste

Why use coconut oil to clean my teeth?
So you already know all about oil pulling and the incredible ways coconut oil can work to detoxify your mouth – but did you know it can also work as a whitening toothpaste!? Say goodbye to the artificial, chemical-laden commercial toothpastes, and start making your own natural toothpaste at home – you’ll even save money in the process!

Because coconut oil is said by some to be packed with amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can help to destroy tooth decay-causing bacteria. Baking soda could help whiten and clean teeth, as well as restore pH balance in your mouth. Because there’s only two completely natural ingredients, you’ll know exactly what’s going onto your teeth!

The mouth is linked to the digestive system, and having poor oral hygiene can lead to other illnesses and health issues. One yeast in particular that enables dental disease is Candida Albicans. This yeast affects not just the mouth but also the digestive system, inhibiting normal digestion. Brushing your teeth with coconut oil could be an effective weapon against Candida Albicans due to its potential antifungal properties!

Natural Toothpaste
This homemade toothpaste only has three ingredients: coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint oil! Peppermint oil is a completely natural essential oil, which provides a cooling sensation and natural fresh flavouring that help freshen bad breath. It also helps your homemade toothpaste taste more like the minty toothpaste you’re used to – in a completely natural incarnation, of course!

You can also use this natural toothpaste for your dogs too! – Coconut oil is just as great for your dog’s health as it is ours!

What you’ll need:
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons baking soda
– 10 drops peppermint oil

Let’s get started!
– In a small container, mix your baking soda and coconut oil until it reaches a paste-like consistency.
– Add several drops of peppermint oil and mix in.
– Brush those pearly whites!

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28 May The power of sleep

Why is sleep so important?
So we all know that sleep is important – no matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, you still need a good night’s sleep to be healthy, balanced, and refreshed. Sleep deprivation has a lot of hidden health hazards that are not always obvious so it’s important to prioritise getting adequate snooze time! The myriad health benefits that come from being well-rested include lower blood pressure and inflammation to boosting memory, mood and maintaining healthy skin. Sleep is time for our bodies to regulate hormone levels, repair damage, produce protein, and shape memories. A general consensus for a good amount of sleep per night is 7-9 hours, which will allow your body to do all of these things and more.

How can I get a good night’s rest?
Luckily, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you sleep better.  If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, make sure that you are conscious of your behaviours throughout the day so it will be easy for your body to relax and catch some Z’s! Here are some of our handpicked suggestions:

– Set a sleep schedule: Having a set bedtime and wake-up time will help your body get into a routine and get used to sleeping well. If you remain consistent, eventually you won’t even need an alarm, as your body will wake naturally.

– Ditch the afternoon coffee: if you drink coffee or caffeinated tea, stick to drinking it before lunchtime: it can cause difficulty sleeping up to ten to twelve hours after consumption! Cutting back your overall caffeine intake will help balance your sleep schedules as well.

– Avoid bright lights: use low-wattage bulbs in your room, turn off your television and computer, and don’t read from a backlit device before bed! These will all stimulate your brain rather than relax it, keeping you from falling asleep easily.

– Try gentle yoga pre-bedtime: Yoga can be both stimulating but also very relaxing, depending on the poses you do. Try these 5 gentle yoga poses to prepare your body for sleep.

How can coconut oil help me sleep?

-Fill up on healthy fats at dinner: We love this one, because what better healthy fat is there than coconut oil!? Fat helps your body run, rather than sugar, which will cause blood sugar swings and hunger just before bed. Medium-chain-triglyceride oils like coconut oil help keep you feeling full and satisfied post-dinner, which will help you sleep easier (plus the bonus of helping your body burn fat whilst you sleep!). Cook your vegetables in it or take it directly with a tablespoon. You can also try it in your bedtime tea!:

-Coconut-chamomile bedtime tea
If you’re looking for a little coconutty support to help you get to sleep, try a warming coconut chamomile tea! Simply brew a chamomile tea, and pop a teaspoon of coconut oil in once you’re ready. It will melt on contact with the hot water, but give it a good stir anyway, and you should be good to go! The chamomile tea will calm and relax you and help you get in the sleep mindset, and the coconut oil will add the extra antioxidants and other nutritious properties to keep you waking up with that healthy, well-rested glow!

Read more on the benefits of coconut oil here!

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14 May Oil Smoke Points

What is a smoke point and why does it matter anyway?
Did you know that each type of oil has a different smoke point? This is the point where the oil begins to overheat to the point of producing smoke, toxic fumes, and free radicals so it’s important to be aware of. We know it might seem overwhelming trying to determine which oils are the healthiest and most flavourful, let alone factoring in smoke point information – so we’ve consulted some helpful charts and compiled a handy little guide for you!

What oil should I use for high temperature cooking?
For high temperature cooking, like cooking meats or frying in a wok, it is essential to use an oil with a high smoke point. The best option for this is avocado oil, which boasts a smoke point of 271 C / 520 F. Always make sure to look for organic, cold-pressed oils (the same as you would for coconut oil!). Another option is rice bran oil, with a smoke point of 254 C / 510 F, as it is a good source of antioxidants and Vitamin E. Other oils may have high smoke points, but may not necessarily be healthy, as they may be refined, GMO, or have too much Omega 6 which can cause inflammation in the body.

What about mid-temperature cooking?
Our favourite, coconut oil, is best for mid-temperature cooking! With a smoke point of 171 C / 350 F and packed with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and fats, it’s great for sautéing vegetables and other things at medium temperature. Other oils suited for this temperature are virgin olive oil, or even small amounts of butter (or try coconut butter!).

And what about salads or making no-bake raw treats?
Some oils have very low smoke points and as such should be used on salads or added to already-cooked foods. The best bet in this category is unrefined flaxseed oil (107 C / 225 F) with a higher ration of omega 3 than omega 6, and extra virgin olive oil (160 C. / 320 F),which is high in Omega 9, a fatty acid which is said to lower the risk of heart attacks and aid in cancer prevention.

Coconut oil is a great option for making raw treats like fudge and chocolate due to its high melting point (24c) so it solidifies and helps other ingredients hold shape when placed in the fridge or freezer!

Which cooking oils should I avoid?
Of course, there are many oils or fats to avoid – ones that are processed, refined, and unnatural! These include canola oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil, margarine, vegetable oil or any fake butter substitutes. However, with all the above options, these shouldn’t be a problem to avoid!

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10 Apr Organic DIY Baby Wipes

Not a fan of the chemical-laden baby wipes saturating the market – but don’t like shelling out for the expensive organic varieties either? Look no further! You can make your own organic, all-natural baby wipes at home for a fraction of the cost. Both baby and your wallet will approve – and as an added bonus, you can even use them as a gentle, all-natural makeup remover!

The key ingredient is – you guessed it – coconut oil! Among the many benefits of coconut oil, it contains antimicrobial bacterial and fungal properties, making it a perfect natural sanitiser that’s gentle on skin.

How can I make my own cleansing wipes?

What you’ll need:
– 1 thick, soft paper towel roll
– 4 cups purified water
– 1-2 tablespoons raw organic extra-virgin coconut oil
For baby wipes: 1 squirt organic baby wash
For facial cleansing wipes: 1 squirt of a mild face wash
– 1 medium-sized Tupperware container

Let’s get started!
1. Start by mixing the water, coconut oil and cleansing wash in the Tupperware container.
2. Then, using a sharp knife, cut your paper towel in half (so it looks more like toilet roll in terms of size!). Make sure you get any rogue fuzzy bits off after!
3. Place the cut paper towel roll into your mixture, and smoosh it down with the Tupperware lid, sealing it inside. Leave it for about 5-10 minutes.
4. Remove the Tupperware lid, and then remove the inner brown paper towel roll from the centre. Simply pull up a bit of the now-wet paper towels from the centre – and you’ll be able to pull out the wipes individually this way.
5. You’re ready to use your all-natural wipes on baby or your face!

See how easy this recipe is? Just five steps to all-natural cleansing! Give it a go- traditional baby wipes may just become a thing of the past. Knowing exactly what you’re using for both yourself and your baby is a great thing- no more nasties or toxins, plus you’ll be left with smooth skin that sublty smells of coconut.

baby-wipes

Coconut oil isn’t just for your skin. Find out how coconuts can benefit your hair, nails, teeth, diet and much more here.

Veteran or newbie? Wherever you fall on the coconut-loving scale, you’ll be surprised our vast and varying range of coconut goodies. Check out our online store!

 

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10 Dec Oil Pulling – The What and How

You might find yourself scratching your head and wondering what oil pulling could possibly be? No, it has nothing to do with crude! Oil pulling is the practice of washing your mouth with coconut oil to help it stay clean and is one of the most impressive uses of coconut oil. We’re going to walk you through the steps of how to use coconut oil in this way – as a natural, alternative method to improve your oral hygiene!

What is it?

Also known as “kavala” or “gundusha”, it’s an ancient dental technique designed to improve oral health. It’s done by swirling a tablespoon of oil in the mouth, on an empty stomach, for around 20 minutes. It can help with whiter teeth, improved breath, teeth and gums! It’s a natural way to maintain oral hygiene, without any of the artificial ingredients or chemicals commonly found in toothpastes or mouthwashes.

How do I do it?

  1. It’s best done first thing in the morning. After you wake up, get a tablespoon of coconut oil and put it in your mouth! Don’t worry if it’s solid, good coconut oil should literally melt in your mouth.
  2. Swirl it around in your mouth just as you would with a mouthwash!
  3. Continue swirling it around the mouth, through the teeth and gums in order to draw out all the toxins!
  4. Carry on for up to 20 minutes, before spitting it out into a bin! (Try not to spit into the sink or you might block your pipes with oil over time).

 

PS- Try not to swallow any of the oil, as it’s meant to draw out toxins rather than putting them back into your body!

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10 Dec Uses and Benefits of Coconut Oil

Superfood

Often termed a “superfood,” extra virgin coconut oil is packed with amazing benefits – from beauty, to cooking, to health! We thought we would tell you about some of the more general uses and benefits of coconut oil, and give you links to where you can find more specific information.

Healthy Fats

Coconut oil contains medium chain saturated fats (MCSF). These are processed directly in the liver and considered by some to be a beneficial fat. The main MCSF in coconut oil is lauric acid, which can be found in human breast milk. It also contains vitamins E and K, and iron! Coconut oil can be used as a substitute for other cooking oils, and offers plenty of natural benefits as such.

Beauty

As a beauty product, coconut oil is a wonderful natural moisturising tool. Traditionally it has been used in the tropics to soften hair and protect it against frizziness and damage. It is also used to naturally smoothen, soften and brighten dry, lacklustre skin, and has also been known to remedy sun damage! It can even be used for mouth care with methods like oil pulling, or DIY toothpastes.

Make sure its virgin!

You really can use this natural little miracle in all kinds of exciting ways! From recipes to DIY face and hair masks, scrubs, makeup removers, and even as an all-natural shaving cream, there are so many ways to rejuvenate your life with coconut oil. But remember: not all coconut oils are created equal – whether you try our coconut oil or not, always ask for unrefined, virgin, organic coconut oil in order to truly get all the natural benefits you need!

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10 Dec Beautiful Coconut Flour

Are you starting a grain-free diet? Trying to live healthier? Or simply interested in the versatility of coconuts in cooking? You’ve come to the right place! Coconut flour is a light and unique alternative to other cooking flours and makes a delicious and healthy staple to many interesting recipes!

How is coconut flour made?
Made from the flesh of coconuts themselves, coconut flour is a natural by-product from making cold-pressed oil. When the oil is pressed from coconuts, the coconut meat leftover can then be dried and ground, producing a fine powder suitable for baking: the coconut flour you know and love!

Benefits of coconut flour
Low-carb and naturally gluten free, coconut flour is a great alternative to traditional flour choices in the kitchen. Coconut flour is also full of natural goodness in the forms of protein, fibre and as a source of manganese. The flavour of the coconut flour in cooking and baking is subtle and can take on other flavours that it’s being cooked with. What’s more, you don’t need a lot of coconut flour to bake with: using just a fraction of the amount of regular flour, it goes a long way when teamed with enough eggs and liquid to achieve the perfect consistency!

Baking with coconut flour
Coconut flour is very dry and absorbent, so it requires a much higher liquid ratio than most flours. This means it can’t be substituted for wheat or grain-based flours at a 1:1 ratio. Some general tips to keep in mind when creating or converting recipes:

– Add an extra egg for every ounce (28g) of coconut flour you use
– 1 cup coconut flour needs about 4-5 eggs
– For recipes with liquids (e.g. water, honey, syrup), add double the amount
– Beat the ingredients together really well

Coconut flour tends to behave differently from recipe to recipe and can mean it could take a few experiments before getting the right ratios! The best thing to do is to use recipes specifically designed for coconut flour. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favourite foods if you have allergies to wheat or are gluten-intolerant! There are lots of fantastic coconut flour recipes available for breads, cakes, pancakes, muffins, pizza and everything in between.

Check out our recipes section and Pinterest for inspiration!

 

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10 Dec Sweet Coconut Sugar!

Used in Southeast Asia for thousands of years as a traditional sweetener, coconut sugar is a natural sugar produced from the sap of the flower buds of the coconut palm. With a subtly sweet, vaguely caramel taste, coconut sugar can be used instead of refined sugars and used as a sweetener in coffee, tea, cooking, and baking!

How is it made?

Coconut palm trees produce little flower blossoms, which are filled with sap that can be tapped and made into coconut sugar! Farmers cut these blossoms, allowing sap to flow out into bamboo containers, before transferring the sap into woks and placing it over heat. The sap is heated until it has the consistency of a thick syrup. It is then either bottled as a syrup, which can be substituted for honey and maple syrup, or crystallised into sugar!

Why coconut sugar?

Compared to refined table sugar, coconut sugar contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and antioxidants! It also has a much lower reported glycaemic index (GI) than ordinary sugar, ranking at 35 as compared to 60-75, making it an ideal sweetener for those on a low GI diet.

Awesome! But how do I use it?

Easy! There are so many ways to integrate coconut sugar into your recipes! From spiced chai to brownies and cupcakes to soup, it can be used like regular sugar a full range of recipes, and even paired with coconut oil, milk, or flour for very coconutty, natural results! For recipes and inspiration, check out our recipes section or our Pinterest.

You can view more information and purchase Coconut Merchant’s Organic Coconut Sugar here.

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03 Dec New to coconuts? Here are 4 great benefits!

You may have heard a lot about coconuts in the media and among your social circles, but have been looking for some information. We thought it might be useful to briefly set out some of the health benefits of coconuts based on articles we have found.

1. MEDIUM CHAIN FATS & LAURIC ACID

Coconut is full of fatty acids. At first thought this may seem concerning, we have been taught that fats are bad for us and should be avoided! Coconut flesh (what our Raw Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is made from) is about 69% coconut fat and coconut milk is approximately about 24% fat. But more recent research has shown that there are different types of fats, some of which can actually be beneficial.

Most of the fat we normally consume is made up of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) and these are said to be the ones that we should generally avoid. However researchers suggest in coconuts, the majority of the fat is medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are very different and are processed directly by the liver. Two of the key MCFAs found in coconuts are:

  • Lauric Acid: This is approximately 50% of the fatty acid in coconuts. In the human body this becomes Monolaurin – a chemical with suggested antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal monoglyceride properties.
  • Capric Acid: This is approximately 6-7% of the fatty acids in coconuts, which is turned into Monocaprin in the body and has similar properties as Lauric Acid.

Woman-Running

2. COULD BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

The immune system is complex and full of feedback mechanisms but as the above suggests, the promotion of Monolaurin and Monocaprin by the fatty acids in coconuts could potentially boost the immune system. Monolaruin for example is found in breast milk as a way for mothers to boost the immune strength of babies.

Woman-in-Mirro-Grooming

3. AS A NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCT

Incorporating coconut products and oil into your regular beauty care can have great benefits:

  • Skin Care: coconut oil and butter are great natural moisturisers for skin, as well as helping alleviate dry skin and potentially cases of eczema and dermatitis.
  • Hair: as you know, hair is made up from the same proteins as skin, so coconut oil and butter can also be beneficial for your scalp and hair care also.
  • Facial Cleanser: coconut oil is wonderful as a cleanser. You can even use it as a make-up remover!

 

4. REHYDRATION

Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes, which are essential in helping the body absorb water and function effectively. These are potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. Studies suggest that coconut water is your key to natural, chemical free hydration after exercise, during your work day, while you’re out socialising, or the day after!

Coconut Water in Blue Cup

With the increasing popularity of coconut products, there is a growing wealth of information and research available on the benefits and effects of coconuts. This includes areas such as the beneficial effects of coconuts on heart disease, its ability to boost brain function and also moderate metabolic functions. While the prevailing consensus is that it is beneficial, we have not included these just yet; there are however books available on each of these. We encourage you to also do your own research and make an informed decision.

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