By Lynnette Astaire
To tell you the truth, after my recent 10 day detox, I am pretty coco’d out. But in the spirit of this month’s issue, I must share two of my favorite ways to maintain my skin. No matter where I am I try to incorporate coconut in some form. These days it’s becoming more widely available and in better quality. Most of the mainstream attention on coconut goes to the oil, which is a huge beauty trend, but to me, like most things, the best work is done on the inside first.
Coconut Oil for Skin
Now here’s the little known thing about coconut oil and skin. On a scale of 0-5, with 5 being the most acne causing, coconut oil lands at #4 on the comedogenic chart. Despite this, it is still an excellent cleanser and moisturizer for many people with non-sensitive skin, especially during the drier, colder months.
A more effective way to get the external benefits of coconut oil is internally of course. Drinking raw coconut oil “straight” has been the new wave recently. Benefits are said to include healthy digestion which is important in keeping skin clear. For those that need a “chaser,” add about a tablespoon to make a creamy coffee or chai. I also add it to certain smoothies, especially my Sweet Potato Pie recipe. Although many factors go into the bioavaibilty of nutrients at any given time, the coconut oil does help to absorb the fat-soluable beta carotene/Vitamin A of the sweet potato, which is essential for skin moisture and sun protection.
Also, the anti-microbial properties of coconut oil include several fatty acids, in particular lauric acid which contains anti-microbial properties that help to suppress the symptoms of cold sores/herpes.
Since all oils are essentially processed foods and are 100% fat, with the exception of above, I try to use as little as possible. When choosing a coconut oil, make sure you choose a raw organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain GMO ingredients.
Coconut Water for Skin
Although many tropical folks use coconut water topically to cleanse, tone and moisturize the skin as well use its anti-viral properties to treat infections, the water also does wonders on the inside. Besides being ultra-hydrating and mineral rich, coconut water contains a good amount of collagen building antioxidant Vitamin C and a small amount magnesium helps to fight wrinkle causing free radical damage.
If you are in an area that sells actual coconuts, please go for it! In fact, major chains like Whole Foods will even open your coconuts for you and give you a container with the meat and water. The truth is most people drinking coconut water these days have never even tasted a fresh coconut but trust that (as of this writing) Harmless Harvest tastes most like the fresh stuff! Although I haven’t had most of the brands in Europe, my current favorite is GoCoco.
Any other brand is hit or miss in terms of taste and nutrition. This article breaks down the unfortunate truth about many leading coconut water brands out there.
The ULTIMATE way to receive the benefits of coconut water is by doing a coconut water detox. It’s become one of my favorite cleanses. I now offer it as a part of my retreats and upcoming e-book (to detox at home) so be sure to join my mailing list to receive upcoming information on both.
Lynnette Astaire is a lifestyle expert and raw food chef with 15 years of vegetarian, vegan and raw food experience and 10 years of juice detox fasting experience. She holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Art from NYC's School of Visual Arts as well as certificates in health. She has conducted lectures and workshops internationally and regularly consults clients in juice detox fasting and raw food preparation. Visit www.livelynnette.com for more encouragement on clean eating and creative living.