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10 of the Most Surprising Benefits of Raw, Unrefined Coconut Oil

This post: Ten surprising ways raw, unrefined coconut oil can help you be a healthier (and more beautiful) woman.

The health benefits of raw, unrefined coconut oil are pretty amazing. You may already be familiar with many: healthier hair, skin + nails, for example. 

But did you know that there are some surprising ways coconut oil benefits your body- both internally and externally?  

Quick Links:

This article has tons of information, so go ahead + bookmark this post so you can refer back it, okay? Oh, and hit a “share” button + spread health awareness!

But what is raw, unrefined coconut oil?

The term “virgin coconut oil” (or VCO) refers to the process by which the oil is harvested and refined – or, in this case, unrefined. Simply put, virgin coconut oil is pure, coldpressed coconut oil that has not been refined.

Benefits of raw, unrefined coconut oil – versus refined coconut oil – include:

  • better taste + aroma (refined coconut oil is better for frying, since it has no taste)
  • VCO contains high amounts of vitamin E (which makes it ideal for skin + hair)
  • high in antioxidants
  • rich in medium chain fatty acids

Virgin coconut oil is a life-giving source of nutrients, especially for us ladies.

How to Take Coconut Oil as a Supplement

My naturopath recommends two to three tablespoons of organic coconut oil as a daily dose for an adult (less for a child).

I’ve taken coconut oil directly off a spoon, but the oily texture is hard for me to get down. Blending it in a smoothie, or melting a tablespoon or two into a cup of hot tea, is more to my liking.

For more ideas, read the “How to Eat/Use More Coconut Oil” section in this article.

Where to Buy Raw, Unrefined Coconut Oil

You can generally find coconut oil in any major super market, but be on the look out for virgin, organic, cold-pressed oils. This simply means that the growing + refining processes are going to deliver the highest nutritional quality in the product you buy.

My go to brand for raw, unrefined coconut oil is Nutiva + I buy it from Amazon. I’ve used this brand for over a decade + the quality is always top notch.

Quick Links for Buying Coconut Oil:

As a Health Supplement

For an raw, unrefined coconut oil supplement, I buy a bottle of Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil in the 15-oz jar, and simply add a bit to my morning smoothie or hot tea/coffee.

In the Kitchen

I use this delicious Organic Buttery Flavor Coconut Oil for frying, baking, etc, and this Organic Palm Shortening for pie crusts, cookies, etc.

Beauty Products

Fractionated Liquid Coconut Oil makes a wonderful face moisturizer, massage oil + makeup remover.

For Oil Pulling

I use Terra & Co Gentle Oil for my morning oil pulling. Read more about oil pulling here.

My Go To Coconut Oil Products

Raw, Unrefined Coconut Oil Health Benefits

Let’s look at ten little known health benefits of raw, unrefined coconut oil.

I gleaned the following information, and more, from the book, Virgin Coconut Oil: How it Has Changed People’s Lives, and How it Can Change Yours.

1. Coconut oil can raise the body’s metabolism and enable weight loss.

Can we all say, Hallelujah?!

In the past, many of us fell for the “low fat” diet fad (I know I did.) But both science + nutrition now tell us a different story.

The truth is, when we starve the body of good fats (and coconut oil is a good fat), we inhibit the body’s ability to absorb key vitamins (like A, D, E and K), maintain a proper metabolic balance, and use up fat instead of storing it.

Polyunsaturated fats (like vegetable oils and margarine) actually promote weight gain. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in my body storing fat!

One of the great benefits of raw, unrefined coconut oil is that it is nature’s richest source of medium chain fatty acids/triglycerides (also known as MCTs). Researchers have discovered that MCTs are used by the body for energy and burn up quickly (think, bye-bye calories and fat), unlike the polyunsaturated fats that are stored by the body.

 Research also points to the fact the regular consumption of raw, unrefined coconut oil can reduce food cravings, boost energy levels, and help trim abdominal fat.

Anyone want to try a tablespoon right now?

2. Coconut oil can enrich breast milk.

Breastfeeding was hard for me, and my babies tended to be small- so this was good news to me as a young mom.

The MCTs (remember those medium chain fatty acids, the good fats?) found in raw, unrefined coconut oil are similar to fats found in breast milk, and have similar nutriceutical effects.

Consumption of virgin coconut oil can enrich breast milk by boosting its fat, or lipid, content.

Health benefits for nursing babies can include

  • improved weight gain in low weight babies
  • increased brain development
  • -a stronger immunity

3. Coconut oil is a powerful natural antiobiotic.

Today, many strains of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, and antibiotics are generally ineffective in treating viral infections.

The good news is, the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties of MCTs found in coconut oil are super powerful against sickness and infection (researchers have known this since the 1960s).

Outside of a human mother’s breast milk, coconut oil is nature’s most abundant source of lauric acid and MCTs.

When lauric acid is consumed in the diet, it forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin, which has been shown to destroy bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Our family has personally used organic, raw, unrefined coconut oil as a natural antibiotic with good results.

4. Coconut oil has a substantial effect on blood sugar levels.

This is great news if you struggle with hypoglycemia or diabetes.

Coconut oil helps control blood sugar and improves the secretion of insulin.

It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and/or treating diabetes.

For some, coconut oil seems to have a direct effect on blood sugar levels. Others may experience a reduced craving of foods that spike blood sugar levels.

Either way, reports are in favor of coconut oil as a big blessing to people with blood sugar issues.

Studies carried out in nations like India and the South Pacific Islands (where virgin coconut oil is traditionally consumed in high quantities) have shown an increased rate of diabetes (and other western diseases) when highly processed, polyunsaturated vegetable oils become common place in the diet.

Let’s stick with coconut oil, shall we?

5. Coconut Oil Fights Candida (yeast)

Yeast infections are a big issue for a lot of women in the Western world.

Our diet plays a huge roll in the candida problem, and our diet can also play the leading roll in the cure and prevention of candida problems.

Again, research is on the side of coconut oil.

Studies show that the medium chain fatty acids (MTCs) in coconut oil (namely, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid) all work together to kill Candida albicans (the nasty bacteria that causes yeast infections).

The book, Virgin Coconut Oil, suggests a 5-step plan to get rid of Candida:

  1. Slowly work up to at least 3.5 tablespoons of raw, unrefined virgin coconut oil per day.
  2. Add fermented foods into your diet (think: kefir, kombucha, homemade yogurt, etc).
  3. Eliminate sugar and simple carbs (while breads, pastas, etc) as much as possible.
  4. Once your system is used to the coconut oil, begin the 15-day Fungal Defense supplement from Garden of Life.
  5. Follow up with Primal Defense supplementation at maximum dosage for at least six months.

I’ve personally battled Candida + can attest to the fact that coconut oil is a powerful weapon against yeast.

6. Coconut oil may help prevent osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones, and women are four times more likely to get it than men.

In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) estimates as many as eight million women in the United States have osteoporosis.


Factors like pregnancy, aging, calcium deficiency and a family history of osteoporosis increase the risk of the disease.

Recommended preventatives include sufficient calcium intake (organic dairy and herbal calcium are two great resources), getting enough Vitamin D (sunshine!), a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

So how can coconut oil help prevent osteoporosis?

Coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for the development of bones.

Just another one of the benefits of raw, unrefined coconut oil.

7. Coconut oil is amazing for oral health.

Oil pulling has brought coconut oil into the lime light in a new way over the years, and for good reason. The healing benefits of coconut oil for our mouths are incredible.

Some benefits of daily oil pulling may include

  • naturally whitening of teeth + removing stains on teeth
  • reduction of bad breath
  • improvement of dry mouth
  • reduction of plaque build up
  • stronger teeth + fewer cavities

This is the coconut oil product I use for oil pulling.

8. Coconut oil aids digestion and can help heal the gut.

This is more good news, especially if you suffer with digestive ailments (I sure do!).

It is estimated that about 95 million Americans suffer from some kind of digestive disorder.

Adding raw, unrefined coconut oil to your diet can go a long way in relieving digestive disorders such as Chrohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gastritis, constipation, etc.

As I’ve already stated, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCTs).

MCTs are easily absorbed by the body, and they aid the absorption of other nutrients, as well.

Longer chain fatty acids, such as those found in polyunsaturated oils (corn, soy, and other vegetable oils) increase inflammation in the gut, and should be avoided by those suffering with digestive issues.

–> Read more about gut health here on the blog.

9. Coconut oil may support thyroid health.

Research suggests that as many as 13 million Americans suffer with an undiagnosed thyroid problem!

That statistic grabbed my attention, since thyroid issues run in my family.

Our American diet is rife with thyroid inhibitors, such as soy products and polyunsaturated oils.

One of the reasons the long chain fatty acids in vegetable oils are so damaging to the thyroid is that they oxidize quickly and become rancid.

Raw, unrefined coconut oil, on the other hand, is a saturated fat made up primarily of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs).

These MCTs are known to increase metabolism, aide weight loss, and raise basal body temperatures.

Coconut oil does not require the enzyme stress that vegetable oils do, it doesn’t prevent the T4 to T3 conversion.

Chapter six of Virgin Coconut Oil  is a fascinating read and goes into the why’s and wherefore’s of how coconut oil so readily supports thyroid health.

10. Coconut oil can help preserve and protect your skin!

I’d guess that most women are at least some what interested in preserving their skin (and maybe some are obsessed with it!), so this last point is probably applicable across the board with females. *wink*

I’m extremely fair-skilled and burn super easily in the sun, so I was very interested to read that coconut oil can help out with preventing and healing sun burn.

Coconut oil has wonderful antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radical damage.

When it is consumed and used topically on our skin, it helps our bodies absorb other nutrients more effectively as well, such as vitamin E (another powerful antioxidant that protects the skin).

  • use raw, unrefined coconut oil as a face moisturizer (I do, daily!)
  • use a natural deodorant that contains coconut oil (like this one)
  • use liquid coconut oil topically before you go out in the sun, or to treat a sun burn

Last weekend, I spent most of the morning working with my daughter in our garden and I ended up with a terrible sun burn on my arms. Instead of using my go to product for sun burn (aloe vera), I applied coconut oil to the burn every few hours. Within 24 hours, the redness was gone and the skin never blistered or peeled!

So how can I eat/use more coconut oil?

Feeling inspired to give raw, unrefined coconut oil a try?

If you’re wanting to get the BEST nutritional benefits out of your coconut oil, opt for a quality product that is

  • organic
  • virgin
  • cold-pressed

Here are some tips on how to take coconut oil on a daily basis (and make sure you’re getting enough of a good thing):

  • cook with it (think sauted veggies, buttered toast, etc)
  • eat it on a spoon
  • melt a little coconut oil in coffee or hot tea
  • add a tablespoon or so of coconut oil into smoothies
  • mix it with nut butter to make a yummy treat
  • start oil pulling every morning
  • replace your makeup remover + face moisturizer with coconut oil
  • use it as a cuticle oil + hair treatment
  • use it as a personal lubricant

There’s a coconut oil for that!

This is the coconut oil I take as a supplement. This is the coconut oil I cook with. This is the coconut oil I use for skin care. This is the product I use for oil pulling.

Your Turn

Did any of these health benefits of raw, unrefined coconut oil surprise you? Which one? Drop me a comment below.

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  1. Hi Kristy!! That’s a great Article.
    And I too love Virgin Coconut Oil to the most.
    Yeah, because of the presence of lauric acid in VCO, consumption of this super-food by little born infants are more over similar to getting fed from their mother’s. That’s awesome this!!

  2. Coconut oil is a great source of vitamin E, which helps with intense moisturization. I really like your all-effective ways to use coconut oil to moisturize the skin I also use SKOG coconut oil and it seems that they are actually working for me as they are very natural and made with pure and natural ingredients. I am using it as a body oil, oil bath, hydration, eye cream, for oil pulling, and also for Frizzy Hair Treatment. I mean sometimes I can’t even believe how can they make an amazing oil which has all the solutions for me. their oil keeps my skin moisturized for long hours and improves collagen production. It is naturally anti-aging and reduces damage from the sun. It also stimulates hair growth and promotes scalp health as well as adds luster, shine, and softness to your hair. I’ll strongly recommend this oil to people who have interested in natural skincare and haircare.

  3. Hi Kristy. That’s a great article. it can be said that coconut oil has multipurpose. I agree that coconut oil is good for skin care because it consists of Vitamin E. I still use coconut oil but the supply of Vitamin E is needed more when I’m older so I also find some pure or more Vitamin E example here http://www.womensedge.org/best-vitamin-e-oils/. I found a positive result in my daily skin care, it also adds radiance to my skin, boosts collagen production in the body, and get flawless skin.By the way, I agree with you Coconut oil benefits. I love your article and please keep sharing.

  4. We love coconut oil , we also use it in our toothpaste or swish ish to brighten out teeth too .. Makes wonderful brownies and pie crust also .. Makes baking very fluffy .. Yummy !!!

  5. Oil pulling! I’m a huge fan. I do it atleast once a day and have naturally whitened my teeth and have better dental and overall health as well.

    1. I hear a lot about oil pulling… what exactly is that? I know that probably sounds like a silly question, but I honestly don’t know what it is! 🙂

      1. You put a teaspoon of organic coconut oil in Your mouth and swish it around without swallowing for about 20 or so minutes a day. I do it in the shower each morning since I’m for one not focusing on what I’m doing so much and two it makes the time go by faster. Don’t swallow it though, as the swishing is pulling toxins from your mouth and you don’t want to swallow that. Also, spit in a trash can not in the sink as the oils could eventually clog your drains. It sounds weirdi know, but I promise once you start doing it it does really help! 🙂

  6. I did not know this about coconut oil and I am big into health too. I will definitely get some soon. blessings, Amy

  7. Nice article! Didn’t know coconut oil good for candida yeast. I use coconut oil for oil-pulling and make snackie for kids. Made homemade pancake using coconut oil on low heat…oh I put coconut oil in my hard herbal salve to soften it… Well I end up putting it in the refrigerator to keep the salve firm.

  8. I’m a huuuuuge organic virgin coconut oil fan!!!! It’s awesome for everything in my opinion. I’m pinning this! Thanks!

  9. Um, can I just say… you had me at #1. By the time I got to #10, I’d decided to seriously step up the coconut oil in my families diet as well because we could all use each of the benefits you listed. Now I just need to come up with a good plan on what foods to use it in because I’m with you, I don’t think I can swallow it off the spoon. I recently saw someone who used it in their homemade coffee. I think it’s in the BHS video post on Father’s Day gift ideas for dad.

    Anyway, GREAT article Kristy! I’m definitely sharing this one!

    1. Thank you so much, Meagan!

      I’m REALLY challenged to get more of this good stuff into my family member’s bodies too! I had fallen off the band wagon but researching for this post has me fired up again! 😉