All About Coconut Oil

Because of its purported health benefits, the daily use of coconut oil has become very popular as of late, and the internet is flooded with a lot of information regarding its use and both its therapeutic and beautifying properties. In spite of this readily-available information, which varies widely, there are truly no proven facts regarding coconut’s effectiveness as a weight loss supplement or medicinal, but that isn’t to say that coconut oil can’t be beneficial when taken internally or used as a topical during breast massage because there are some things that we do know about this oil–and the wonderful things it can do.

1. It is light and non-staining.

2. It balances hormones.

3. It is moisture-rich and improves the overall appearance and condition of the skin.

4. Because it is not prone to pesticides or unhealthy GMOs, it is safe and non-toxic.

5. It is given to lactating women to boost their milk supply.

These five things are really enough to make coconut oil a wonderful addition to your daily breast enhancement and/or lactation-inducing massage routine. I have used it for years (even before my re-lactation journey began), as a dietary supplement, cooking additive, and moisturizer, with great results. Because it can be taken internally or applied externally, used alone or as a base for your favorite essential oils, coconut oil is very versatile, and depending on the type and brand you purchase, can be quite economical.

Five Common Types of Coconut Oil

1. Virgin

2. Raw

3. Unrefined

4. Cold-pressed

5. Organic

By nature, because we are not able to grow oils, as we do other fruits, vegetables, and plants, coconut oil is a refined product, extracted from the whole coconut. The only real unrefined coconut oil comes from within a freshly picked coconut. The word virgin is used to define the least refined coconut oils on the market; research shows that there is no difference between virgin and extra-virgin varieties.

Although virgin coconut oil can be as pure as raw coconut oil, the raw variety has gone through a minimum amount of processing before you receive the final product. Processing involves much more than simply oil extraction; it defines everything from how long fresh coconuts are kept in factories before the refining process begins and how many steps the process involves to how it is refined–and even packaged. Organic coconut oil is extracted on coconut farms that use no fertilizers or harmful chemicals during the growing and/or refining process.

The way coconut oil is extracted doesn’t only affect its flavor, but its nutritional properties as well. When heat is used to extract the oil through the hot-pressed method, it produces larger quantities, but compromises quality. During the cold-pressed method, very little heat is generated, as oil is refined through forced pressure; choosing cold-pressed coconut oil ensures a higher-quality product.

What is Fractionated Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is mainly comprised of saturated fatty acids, which ensures both stability and long shelf life, and is also rich in medium-chain fatty acids. Hoping to provide a healthier option to consumers while maintaining stability and shelf life, manufacturers began to produce fractionated coconut oil, which, as its name suggests, contains a fraction of the oil. Steam distilling removes nearly all of the long chain triglycerides and raises certain acidic levels, which makes the coconut oil more effective as both an antioxidant and disinfectant. Although slightly more expensive than other varieties, fractionated coconut oil is an option to consider when choosing the right oil for you.

Does Packaging Matter?

Because it is often said that plastic can compromise the nutritional and therapeutic properties of oils (and other foods, too), it is recommended that people opt for a coconut oil that has been packaged in a glass jar or bottle.

Is it Okay to “Bargain Shoo”?

Coconut oil can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. I have used many brands over the past four years, and have found very little difference in the effectiveness of less expensive oils when I compared them to “higher end” oils. I did this by reading and comparing labels–and ended up saving a lot of money!

Where to Purchase Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is everywhere: in health food stores, retail chain department stores, grocery stores, and online. In retail stores, it is often found with the vitamins and supplements, and, depending on the brand, ranges in price from $6.00 to $18.00 per jar.

When we hear the word “oil”, we think of a liquid state. Coconut oil actually comes in two forms: liquid and solid. I prefer solid; it melts very well, and is simple to measure by the spoonful. When I’m using it as a massage oil or moisturizer, I warm it in the palms of my hands until it liquefies, and then apply it to my breasts and skin.

While opinions will vary on the benefits and effectiveness of using coconut oil to enhance overall health, beauty, and milk production, it really is a product worth trying, and I hope it works for you!