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I mentioned earlier that I everything I cook or bake lately is made with coconut oil, and if you don’t already know how awesome this stuff is you’re about to learn. I have to admit, when I first started seeing Facebook posts about oil pulling and coconut oil, I thought it was yet another diet gimmick, thrown out there to promote a new (and always expensive!) product that can miraculously cure pretty much everything you could ever dream of. It was my husband’s mom and sister that convinced me to take a look at it and give it a try, and after some research and incorporating it into my diet I’ve been nothing but happy.

First of all, because coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, it is MUCH easier to deal with than most other oils, and it doesn’t make food greasy if you use a little too much (the way olive or canola oil would). Secondly, it is less expensive than the olive oil I usually buy, and it has a really good flavor to it. And, of course, it’s incredibly healthy.

There are a lot of conflicting opinions about coconut oil and it’s supposed healing powers — doctors and western medicine tend to be of the opinion that it’s worthless, while practitioners of natural and food based medicine tend to be of the opinion that it’s the gold standard for everything. My own opinion lies somewhere in the middle (as the truth usually does), but I am definitely leaning towards the belief that coconut oil has some great health benefits beyond just being an alternative to the healthy fats in avocado or olive oil.

According to the research I found, coconut oil can help increase thyroid function, one of its main components (lauric acid) is present in breast milk and helps infants fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections, and it has been linked to improvement in Alzheimer’s patients. There is even some discussion that coconut oil can cure cavities and other dental problems (accomplished by “oil pulling” — basically pushing coconut oil back and forth through your teeth for 15-20 minutes). Although much of this information is backed by peer reviewed studies, some of the benefits of coconut oil are primarily through anecdotal evidence — obviously not as reliable. Hopefully studies will continue to prove the benefits of coconut oil, because I am feeling healthier and I’m looking forward to the longer term benefits of oil pulling on my teeth and gums — I just started oil pulling, so I’ll have to update you on how that’s working in a few weeks.

Question for the Day: Have you ever tried using coconut oil or oil pulling? If so, what was your experience?