Ladies, please meet your new bestie, coconut oil: You’ve been drinking coconut water, you’ve been eating coconut chips, you’ve been slathering on coconut-infused moisturizers for years, but did you realize there’s another part of this incredible nut that may hold more benefits than all of the above combined? In case that opening statement didn’t immediately sell you on the oil, keep reading to find out why coconut oil should become every pregnant (and not pregnant) woman’s bestie. Below you will find 10 amazing health benefits of coconut oil during pregnancy
Here’s why coconut works wonders and gets into BFF territory.
- It removes stretch marks. Yes, it can make your skin feel nice, but a huge plus that many see is that does a superior job of minimizing these tears in the skin that show up on the hips, stomach and rear as a result of dramatic weight increase. Stretch marks are sometimes described as nature’s way of saying “sorry, we need to expand things a bit here, here, and here to eventually get this kid out of here.” Some veteran moms even call them “stripes” or “tiger scars” that they’ve worked hard to receive, and show them off proudly. As much as we take pride in these marks, we admittedly do what we can to minimize them. According to EarlyCare.org, rubbing in coconut oil two to three times a day can reduce or maybe even mostly remove these marks.
- It’s a natural moisturizer. While the treatment of stretch marks deserves some attention, the oil can be handy for other spots on the body as well. The natural materials in the oil, including Vitamin E, can help psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema or general itchiness as your skin contours change. It has also been said to help reduce wrinkles and bags under eyelids, even better than some of those fancy and fancy-priced anti-aging creams. Since it’s semi-solid, coconut can also add some depth to your lips, like a thicker gloss.
- Lots of lauric acid. If you’re not familiar with this ingredient, you will be soon, especially if you’re planning to breast feed. Among other healthy minerals and antioxidants, coconut oil contains an abundance of this type of natural fatty acid that is present in breast milk and has wonderful healing properties. Though you may just be at the beginning stages of your pregnancy, you can still start building up your reserves of this fatty acid now.
- Wonderful when eaten. Coconut is an antioxidant and when used raw, adds a super tasty & crunchy texture to your food. When used in its oil form, it stays more solid and doesn’t burn easily, unlike olive oil that can scorch quickly if things get too hot too fast. Foods needing oil, even popcorn, can also benefit from coconut oil. It has a wide variety of minerals, vitamins and proteins, and is a plant-based medium chain fat that breaks down in the body and turns into energy, as opposed to animal-based proteins that take longer to break down.
- Great in drinks. Coconut milk can easily be drunk ‘straight’ or added to existing meals like cereal or coffee or as the base for your favorite shake. Its increased popularity means the milk can now be found at more stores and coffee shops, rather than obscure health and natural living establishments where it was found in the past.
- It helps your child. As nutrients pass from mom to the child in the womb, coconut oil can easily be absorbed into the child’s digestive system. The nutrients will provide energy for positive growth and development through the pregnancy. Lauric and capric acids, whether from breastfeedng after birth, or absorption during pregnancy, offers some protections against bacteria as well.
- It smells great. If one of your happy places is a sandy beach, a spot at the lake or even poolside, you may associate the aroma of coconut-flavored suntan oil with good times. If so, it will be another reason to enjoy coconut oil. If it’s rubbed into your skin or even just your hands, you’ll smell it all day and feel amazing. If it’s used in your cooking, you can smell it in the kitchen and associate another positive smell of good food with it.
- It helps smooth out natural processes. Constipation is common in pregnancy, caused by everything from changing hormones to a changing diet. But BellyBelly, an Australian pregnancy resource, included coconut oil in a list of recommended saturated fats that can prevent or alleviate constipation. As a little as a tablespoon of coconut oil once a day can boost your energy and keep you regular.
- A useful supplement. Coconut oil has anti-fungal properties, anti-viral properties, and has in other ways been shown to benefit the immune system. If you’re already taking supplements due to pregnancy, such as folic acid, just add one more to your daily mix.
- Morning sickness relief. Some parents say coconut is as useful as ginger in the early days of pregnancy for helping settle a jumpy stomach. At the same time, Mother and Baby says the smoothness of the oil can coat the esophagus that may be becoming irritated by acids from heartburn or upset stomachs.
Even if you haven’t been a big fan of eating coconut, you might want to consider the wide variety of health benefits of this magical food during pregnancy – can’t stomach the flavor? They make flavorless and odorless versions as well – but be aware that this oil has been refined, and while providing some health benefits, doesn’t pack the health punch that the virgin oil does.
Got any amazing coconut recipes? We’d love to hear! Leave a comment below