Oil what? This was my first response when I heard this term… you’re pulling my ‘you know what’ – surely!
On investigation though this is an incredible cleansing technique and one I’ve happily added to my morning routine.
If you haven’t come across it before, Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy. It involves swishing oil in the mouth for a few minutes first thing in the morning. It’s a simple practice, with remarkable results.
I’d first heard of it ages ago, but thought I’d get to it one day, then started reading more and hearing more about it, and knew it was time to give it a go.
Why do it?
- The process attracts and removes bacteria, toxins, and parasites that live in our mouth or lymph system
- It can pull congestion and mucus from our throat and loosens up our sinuses
- Our saliva helps bind these undesirable particles to the oil, that’s ready to dispose them
- Pulling can help remineralise our teeth and strengthen our gums
- For whiter teeth and healthier pink gums
- our teeth feel soooo clean after the process!
Besides looking a bit strange for 10 – 15 minutes, this is what’s involved:
- Ideally do it first thing in the morning when you wake up and on an empty stomach
- Place about 1 tbsp of coconut oil in your mouth. If the oil is cold (hard) melt it a little first either in a pot or your mouth.
- Hold it in there and swish it around as you would a mouthwash from 5 – 20 mins.
- Pull it through your teeth and try to get it to touch every part of your mouth, except your throat. I usually do it anywhere between 10 – 15 minutes (before I really need to attend to family matters…). Try not to swallow the oil.
- Then spit the oil in the bin or the garden, (not down the sink as you may find your drains begin to clog through winter)!
- Rinse your mouth with water a couple of times straight away
- Then give your teeth a good brush.
The last steps are important. The practice of oil pulling potentially releases toxins and bacteria from the mouth, which we don’t want to consume.
Ayurvedic literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral health and treating systemic disease such as diabetes or asthma. Scientific evidence is yet to show this, some studies though have suggested it may reduce plaque, halitosis and gingivitis. (wikipedia)
Coconut oil is a great oil to use with its antimicrobial properties – traditionally sesame oil was used.
Now if you’re the slightest bit interested or intrigued, give oil pulling a go – it’s quick, harmless, relaxing and see what benefits you notice? Post your comments below, we’d love to hear from you.
References; Dr Bruce Fife, ‘Oil Pulling Therapy’ and www.naturalnews.com
I could talk all day on the phenomenal benefits of using this hero of nutritional foods! Particularly as its had its time in the ‘wings’, where its been banished for its high saturated fat content for far too long. I reckon it needs to be out here in the limelight – front and centre, leading the chorus line of healthy, nutrient dense, mega nourishing foods! Listed below is an overview of the many different uses for coconut oil, there are bound to be more.
We regularly use coconut in all it’s various forms:
- as a young coconut, for the water and meat (as in the photo)
- the oil, for cooking, baking & pulling… (a new health routine I’ve embraced & love. Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition that I’ll shed more light on in a future post). Coconut oil is definitely a pantry staple
- flakes for making coconut milk and desiccated coconut
- the syrup & sugar, as a great sweetener with a low glycemic load
In this post though I’m zooming in on the oil. In terms of coconut, this is the form we use the most and I believe the most ‘valuable’. It’s easy to use for all kinds of cooking requirements and it’s medicinal properties are phenomenal.
Some of the many healing benefits & reasons to love it:
- aids digestion
- it has anti-microbial properties that help our bodies fight off bacterial, fungal and viral infections
- eases acid reflux and gallbladder disease
- stabilises blood sugar and insulin production
- improves magnesium and calcium absorption, promoting stronger bones
- great for dental health
- regulates thyroid function
- prevents oxidation of fatty acids
- provides antioxidants to fight free radicals slowing aging and degenerative disease
- stabilises female hormones
- strengthens the liver and protects against degeneration
- assists wound healing
- and it does not upset cholesterol levels
Due to the molecular structure of coconut oil, generally it is more easily absorbed by our bodies. Hence some of the many nutritional benefits including:
- provides a quick source of energy and stimulates our metabolism
- produces an immediate, usable source of energy
- increases our metabolic rate, stabilises body weight and helps control food cravings
- enriches the milk supply of breast feeding women
- won’t form harmful by products during cooking at a high heat
- soothes nappy rash and cradle cap on babies
Why coconut oil is great for cooking: when it’s heated, it’s health properties are retained – unlike many vegetable oils ie it doesn’t turn rancid or oxidize when heated. It can be used at a moderate to high temperature and has a long shelf life, (refined coconut oil can be heated up to 230 degrees Celsius and the unrefined oil up to about 175 degrees celsius).
Some of the many other uses for coconut oil:
- a skin moisturiser. After the shower I smother my skin with it. I’ve been doing this for a good couple of years now and my skin has never felt better, softer and smoother. The dry skin I used to have especially through Winter, which is ‘in the family’, is a thing of the past.
- treatment of lice. This is interesting… our kids haven’t had lice since they’ve been going to school (for the four and a bit years). Maybe it’s around the corner? Or their hair is just not clean enough! Or maybe it’s due to the large amount of coconut oil in their diets?
- Makeup remover: it’s a perfect solution to using the toxic makeup removers promoted on the market. Coconut oil works a treat.
- a sunscreen. I havent’ tested this yet, even though some people swear by it. I’ve been too concerned to test it incase it doesn’t work … one day.
How to use it regularly:
- Sauteeing, baking or roasting
- in smoothies – 1 to 2 tbsp
- porridge – add 1-2 tbsp into your porridge at the end of cooking
- as a moisturiser
- makeup remover
- just off the spoon after a meal, for extra sustenance
What type should we buy?
- Extra virgin cold pressed is preferable. It is less refined, i.e. processed and more in it’s natural & whole form.
- I buy coconut oil in a glass jar. With the fats in coconut oil this is important as toxins leach from plastic and are readily absorbed into the oil.
- Coconut flesh and water is protected by a hard outer shell. I don’t believe organic coconut is necessary. but check the processing of the product you’re buying (as suggested above).
Where to find Coconut oil?
- Most supermarkets sell coconut oil. Our local IGA supplies the Eco brand.
- For value-for-money & for cooking I use Precious Organics. They do their own brand that’s in a 850g glass jar and it is good quality. Precious Organics is in Myaree.
- General use: Precious Organics, Bananana (I buy this from Peaches in South Fremantle)
- As a beauty product I use INDAH, found at www.indah.com.au
I’d love to hear your experience with coconut oil? How do you use it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.