After being stuck out in open water yesterday due to a minor jet-ski issue, I came home to assess the level of sun burn I had earned as a result of the unexpected sun exposure. I had been in the sun without a break for about 3 1/2 hours – yikes! I peered at my face in the bathroom mirror and saw that, while crusted in dried salt and with noticeable pink highlights on my cheeks, I was not much worse for wear. Tanned, definitely but far from the burned I should have been. I’m fairly light-skinned, in Jamaica what we call “red” and while normal sun exposure during a day at the beach is fine, 3 hours in the middle of the day with no hat and no shade break isn’t something would choose to expose my skin to, ever. Thankfully, I seemed to have made it through pretty well considering. I can’t help but believe that this extra skin protection comes from my almost obsessive love for coconut-oil on my skin & in my diet. No lotions or heavy creams, just all natural, locally made, coconut oil. I keep a jar of the stuff on my bathroom counter and it’s the first thing I apply to my skin, scalp and hair, post-shower.
Sure it seems like everyone is jumping on the coconut oil bandwagon these days but really, it’s not all hype, there’s a lot of truth to the mega-benefits in this stuff.
Coconut oil’s high fatty acid and antioxidant compounds make it naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal, so not only does it keep your skin soft and healthy but it can also help to treat many skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. Those antioxidants are also what makes it ideal for sun protection, coconut oil has an SPF of about 4, which blocks 75% of UV radiation (that’s about 45 minutes of sun exposure). I don’t typically wear any makeup, but the same fatty acids also make coconut oil an excellent makeup remover, without having to use harsh, drying chemicals on your skin ladies!
With all the damage my hair underwent yesterday being whipped around on that ski, beaten by the sun and saturated in drying salt water, my hair didn’t dry out & frizz anywhere nearly as much as it would have if I didn’t use coconut oil on my locks constantly. Applying coconut oil to your scalp and hair not only gives lustre and shine but also helps to remove buildup on the scalp and around hair follicles, treats minor hair and scalp fungus or other irritations as well as dandruff. For those of you who blow dry, flat-iron etc., coconut oil also offers protection against damaging heat treatments and sun damage. Rumour has it that when regularly massaged into the scalp and root of the hair it can also help increase oxygenation, encouraging a healthier scalp and speeding hair growth.
All of those health benefits from applying topically to your skin & hair also go for ingesting it; use it as a replacement for your regular cooking oils or blend with it. Use it in salad dressings and marinades, as well as in baking. If I forgot anything, use it in that too.
It’s unique properties make it ideal for improving digestion & overall gut health, memory and cognition (hailed as a proven treatment and prevention for Alzheimer’s), improving energy and stamina, aiding with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, UTI’s and bladder/kidney infections and type II diabetes. Oh, and it can help you lose weight too…
In case you’ve missed my point, you need coconut oil in your life. Are all coconut oils created equal? No not really, but that being said, they’re all still pretty darn good. With all things though, staying as natural to the source is best and whenever possible always try to get locally crafted items which will automatically be fresher and less refined. Not to mention supporting local business is always a win. Living in Cayman that means that you shouldn’t be getting your coconut oil from the supermarket, period. We have a few local artisans and farmers who are making and bottling their own and there really is no comparison to the imported, factory produced stuff.
For those of my readers in Cayman, I’m thrilled to promote and support my 100% locally grown and produced coconut oil from Charlito’s Greenhouse. Small batches allow for excellent quality control, and Owner/Head Farmer Andre Gooden is so in touch with his product and his clientele that you can even request different grades of refinement on the oil.
I use the less refined (cloudier) oil on the left for my skin & hair and the more refined (clear) oil on the right to cook with. Get in touch with them for your produce & oil and tell him that I sent you.
For those of you who have already been ordering & enjoying our newly launched Nyamaste salads we are exclusively using Charlito’s coconut oil for our house dressing as well as sautéing our cooked produce. Remember those crispy sweet potatos? So do something good for yourself that your mind and body will really thank you for and get you some coconut oil goodness.
On that note, I have a fridge full of fresh conch that is begging to be marinated. Hmm…I sense a marinated conch blog post coming! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone, & remember, when in doubt, pour coconut oil on it!