Wild morning, pretties! I’m working on my coconut oil pulling morning routine as I am writing this, and my face is relaxing under my newly made coffee and cinnamon face mask. It’s Friday, which means I begin my pampering early and usually plan a few DIY projects over the weekend. I love nothing more than drinking my tea, creating and watching a good movie, while the rain plays games on my windows and I have nowhere to be and nothing to worry about.
Coconut oil love story (about the oil)
I’ve had the honor to meet coconut oil back in the day when my mum decided to go full-on vegan, organic, and natural in our household. That was a long time ago. It took me a few years to really get into the atmosphere, because I always associated coconut with a body mist an acquaintance of mine had, and that spray had an awful chemical smell, loaded with sweet notes of coconut. I can still remember it today and only for the love of coconut and all its benefits I’ve managed to let my doubts go.
Off the record here, did you know that according to an urban legend, more deaths are caused yearly by coconuts falling off trees than shark attacks? Next time you visit an exotic place, don’t forget to pack your helmet. Just in case (ok, joking here!). Now, back to business. Coconut oil has innumerable health benefits and they’ve been discussed far and wide by amateurs, experts, DIY fanatics, and vegans. It was only earlier this year that we came across an article from American Heart Association (if I’m not mistaken), claiming that coconut oil is as healthy as beef fat (meaning: it’s not and it will kill you on the spot). Ok, exaggerating here, but let us have a look at the few health benefits coconut oil has to offer.
Coconut oil nutrition
Coconut oil is considered as one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to us, but these are not the typical saturated fats we find in steaks, for instance. According to Healthline, saturated fats from coconut oil
contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into so-called ketones, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
These saturated fats are made of lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. All of these fats are very beneficial; lauric acid transforms into monolaurin in our bodies, which has antibacterial properties and boosts immunity.
Coconut oil health benefits
- Antibacterial, antiviral properties
- Anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties
- It speeds up the healing process of the skin when applied topically
- Reduces a number of bacteria in your mouth (the harmful kind)
- Can reduce plaque (by removing the harmful bacteria)
- Can reduce gingivitis (by keeping the gums healthy)
- Aids with bad breath (which could also be a result of that bad bacteria)
- Increases the absorption of calcium and magnesium
- Helps to re-mineralize teeth according to this article on Wellness Mama.
Coconut oil pulling: what is it?
I’m sure that most of you have heard some rumors about weird people who keep coconut oil in their bathroom to keep their teeth clean. When I heard about it for the first time, I was skeptical. But, I am a curious creature by nature, so I just had to give it a try.
Coconut oil pulling is basically this: swish coconut oil in your mouth daily, every morning, like a mouthwash. And when you’re done, you spill it into a bin. Yes, it’s just that simple. And here is the whole procedure:
- Take 1 teaspoon– a spoonful of coconut oil (if runny, a little more, if solid, it should be enough). You’ll see how it goes once you get used to it. This is a measure that worked for me, but if you think that’s too much or too little for you, just take more/less.
- Put coconut oil in your mouth, wait for a few moments for the oil to melt. You can also chew on it, if you like, it may melt faster this way.
- Start swishing! Change direction, pressure, and flow. Go crazy and pull and push the oil around your mouth the best way you can.
- Ideally, you should do this for about 15 to 20 minutes each morning.
- After you’re done with pulling (you’ll notice the oil changing color to a white substance), spill out the remains.
- Brush your teeth as you normally do and you’re good to go.
When I first started with coconut oil pulling, I kept doing it more or less regularly, which means daily for almost two months. Yes, I left out a day here and a day there, but you get the picture. I was a bit reluctant to try it out at first because I read a lot about it online and some people complained that they vomited and that the whole procedure was a very bad experience for them.
Is oil pulling really strange? A bit, I’ll admit. Until you get used to that oily coconut-y flavor in your mouth first thing in the morning, yes, it’s weird. But now I changed my mindset into believing that I’m having a premium chance of tasting the rich, coconut flavor as soon as I wake up and it’s rewarding. Ok, exaggerating here, but you get the idea. The whole idea and the taste don’t bother me anymore, it became quite automatic and a normal part of my daily care routine.
How about the results, you’re probably wondering? It helped. There wasn’t any drastic change; my teeth are not whiter, my breath might have improved a bit, but my teeth are healthier. Less white spots on my teeth, less black spots as well (which also go by the name of cavities). My gums are stronger; there is no more gum bleeding which I experienced from time to time. Overall, I am very satisfied and even though the process is a bit time-consuming (especially if you work in the morning), I’d say it’s definitely worth giving it a try. I believe that doing it a few times a week would probably still be better than not doing it at all.
Coconut oil pulling tips
- Always pull in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Drink a bit of water before you begin; this way your mouth isn’t too dry and you already have saliva that will help you with the whole procedure.
- In case your face muscles around your mouth start to ache, stop or go easier on your muscles. It’s a long-term relationship, so you have all the time in the world, to make it to those 20 minutes.
- Always spit the remains into a bin. Coconut oil changes with temperature and you don’t want to clog your sink.
Coconut oil shopping
When I’m shopping for coconut oil, but this goes without saying for any other oil as well, I always pay attention to the following:
- The coconut oil is non-refined
- It is organic certified
- And cold-pressed
- The oil is 100% pure
- And free of any trans acids
Coconut oil recipes
In case you want to experiment more with this phenomenal plant, have a look at my other post on hair care. A few months ago I wrote a simple guide on how to include coconut oil in your hair care. You can find the article here: How to treat your hair with coconut oil: a simple DIY guide. In case you’re dealing with an itchy scalp, yep, you guessed, coconut oil can help there as well. I think it’s been well-established to this point, that I adore coconut oil. It’s become my kitchen and bathroom staple:
- Oil for cooking (it has a very high smoke point (232 degrees), so it’s healthier to use than other oils, such as olive oil)
- Coconut hair conditioner (once a week I apply the oil to my hair and leave it overnight. It nurtures my dry hair and leaves it soft and hydrated)
- Coconut oil pulling (daily, as mentioned above)
- Coconut oil as one of the frequent ingredients in body scrubs
- Make-up remover (as natural as can be)
- Coconut oil as a natural body lotion to treat dry skin, when you run out of everything else
Have you ever tried coconut oil pulling?