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WORLD GOING NUTS FOR COCONUTS: Great ways to use the fruit

 Yes! The region is running short on meeting the demands of coconut. While the rest of the world might have just caught up with coconut, Jamaicans and Caribbean nationals by extension have always been consuming coconut. From drinking coconut water to cooking with coconut oil or applying to the skin or making coconut milk for our Sunday staple, rice and peas. Over the years, as coconut and coconut-based products become renowned around the world with a superfood label attached to it so have the various uses as robust demand have created a shortage in the Caribbean and an increase in price.  
According to a recent Bloomberg report, the price of coconut oil had jumped more than 50 per cent in the last year and research company, Technavio reveals that tt’s on track to become a $4 billion industry by 2019. So what is it about this superfood that is causing everyone to flock towards it.

Coconut contains a wide array of nutrients including fibre and potassium which is stated as a deficiency in most adult’s diet, based on a few studies. Other nutrients includes; calcium, iron, vitamin C and antioxidants which aids in the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Along with the various nutrient comes a variety of products or product spin off.

We are almost all familiar with coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk but there are many other products made from coconut and if you look closely you can find on your supermarket shelf; coconut cream, shredded coconut, coconut flour, coconut sugar but today we zone in on coconut oil, one of the most popular byproduct of coconut and its variety of uses.


What makes coconut oil so special?

Coconut oil is what we refer to as one of the good fats. Not to confused with body fat. The healthy fats and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that is made available as an energy source because it goes directly to the liver where it is rapidly metabolized; harder to store as fat as it is easier to burn off. Coconut oil is also high in saturated fat but don't be alarmed, this is actually a good thing. The fats raise one's good cholesterol levels, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and reduce the production of bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) that clog the artist if too high.


The most obvious use of coconut oil because of the good healthy fat and one requested fat in their diet as it is one of the three macronutrients. Help to keep you full and as such suppressed one’s appetite that in turn results in lower caloric intake. Coconut oil doesn't contain harmful chemicals that you will find in vegetable oil and some others, so ditch the heavily processed vegetable oil and MCT contained in coconut oil can propel the body to burn even more calories versus other fats.


Skin Care

Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is a highly sought after compound which makes it perfect antioxidant-rich serum the skin needs to preserves it elasticity, reduce wrinkles, nourishes and moisturizes skin.



Skip the butter or jam and use coconut oil on toast.


1Oil pulling

An old Ayurvedic practice used to cleanse the mouth; teeth, gum and freshens breath. This involves swishing around a tablespoon of oil around in the mouth for approximately 20 minutes. Think of it as detoxifying the mouth.


Boost your smoothie

Yes you read correctly, adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your smoothie is a great way to add that extra boost and give you a serving of good healthy fat that the body needs.


Lip Balm

Our lips are most vulnerable to being chapped and dry because we have no oil glands to help self-moisturized. Coconut oil works well as a lip balm because it is naturally moisturizing. The antioxidants like; Vitamin E, A and C aid the moisture to work much harder at nourishing the lips and keeping them soft.



The tropical scent makes it ideal for an aromatherapy session in focusing the mind.


Cuticle Oil

Coconut oil nourishes the nails and may help in preventing it from chipping. It gives a salon-like conditioned treatment.

As you can see that are a myriad of uses for this oil; inside and outside the kitchen but not all coconut oils are created equal. So you may want to look out for the difference and always try to get virgin coconut oil, organic if possible to enjoy some of the benefits above and refined coconut oil. Also please share with me some of the ways in which you use coconut oil.

Contributed by Meisha-Gay Mattis, founder of Bodhi, a Kingston-based holistic wellness company. She is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Personal Fitness Trainer. Email [email protected] for more information or visit any of the following