What in the world is a coconut oil detox?
The idea of a coconut oil cleanse seems a little crazy at first. I’m right there with you.
I’m not big on fad cleanses personally. I’ve never been good at subjecting myself to an insanely restricted diet (aside from my milk diet, but what can I say? I love milk), especially one that required heavy duty fasting.
I know now this is probably because my stress levels have been too high for a few years, and fasting can generally stress even further (can we say mood swings, anyone?).
So it’s with some reserve that I talk about a coconut oil detox as a way to cleanse without using complicated formulas or living off nothing but water for days on end.
Coconut oil is a powerful cleansing food. I know this from personal experience.
When I first added a couple tablespoons of coconut oil to my diet, I went through some noticeable die-off symptoms like headaches and chills for about 2-3 days. Considering I hadn’t changed much else in my diet I was pretty impressed.
Coconut oil is also a great source of energy.
It’s largely comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, which are sent directly to the liver for energy rather than storage. This type of fat is ideal for a cleanse, since it can provide the energy needed at a time when less food is being consumed.
It’s also supposed to give digestion somewhat of a break during this time, which is an important benefit of fasting because this allows the body to process and eliminate general toxic buildup.
These same medium-chain fatty acids play a crucial role in cleansing the body from toxins. Coconut oil is heralded as a natural healing food, and a coconut oil detox simply speeds up healing results by thoroughly flushing the entire body of toxins in a short time.
Four Benefits of a Coconut Oil Cleanse
(1) Candida. In modern society, candida overgrowth is considered by some to be almost epidemic. More people are experiencing systemic candida (when the problem spreads throughout the body and causes a myriad of unpleasant side effects).
A coconut oil detox is completely void of sugar and other carbohydrates, which effectively starves off all candida in the system.
People who suffer from candida will notice many conditions improve or disappear after a coconut oil detox, including sugar cravings, fatigue, eczema, acne, repeat sinus infections and poor concentration.
(2) Fungal infections. Often connected with candida, repeat fungal infections like ringworm and jock itch are linked to an imbalance of bacteria and fungal organisms in the body.
The lauric acid and caprylic acid in coconut oil are antifungal, so a coconut oil detox is an effective way to cleanse the entire system of fungal growth. Many people with fungal conditions report a complete recovery within the cleansing period.
(3) Digestive conditions. A coconut oil detox can help banish digestive conditions like irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) and leaky gut syndrome by restoring health and balance to the digestive system.
(4) Viruses. Lauric acid, which is found in abundance in coconut oil, is converted into monolaurin in the body, which has strong antiviral properties that can protect against and even destroy lipid-coated viruses like herpes and influenza.
How to Do a Coconut Oil Detox
A coconut oil cleanse is a very simple detoxification method that replaces regular food with coconut oil, usually for about 3-7 days. Start your day with two tablespoons of coconut oil and take 1-2 tablespoons throughout the day as needed for up to 14 tablespoons total each day.
Take the coconut oil plain if you enjoy it that way, but those who can’t tolerate swallowing the oil straight can mix it with warm lemon water or plain organic yogurt if necessary.
You can use small amounts of stevia if you’d like to sweeten the lemon water or yogurt, but no sugar should be consumed during the cleanse.
In his book Coconut Cures, Dr. Bruce Fife adds that you can eat up to four ounces of fresh coconut meat daily while on the detox if needed.
The best kind of coconut oil to use to detoxify is organic, raw extra virgin coconut oil.
This type of oil should be completely unrefined, expeller- or cold-pressed, unbleached and not deodorized. This ensures you are getting the maximum natural benefits from your coconut oil.
But I wouldn’t say that refined coconut oil has no benefits, so if that is what you have on hand or if it’s easier for you to take, then it will probably work for the cleanse.
You can read my thoughts on refined vs unrefined coconut oil HERE.
*Warning: Work Up Slowly if You’re New to Coconut Oil*
- If you have never taken coconut oil before, then you’ll want to let your body adjust by slowly incorporating it into your diet before trying a coconut oil detox. Start with 1/2-1 teaspoon three times per day.
- Gradually work your way up to 1-2 tablespoons three times daily. It may take two weeks to work up to the full amount.
- When you feel comfortable taking this much coconut oil, then you should be ready to start a coconut oil detox.
- Some people will experience “die-off” symptoms when they begin a coconut oil detox.
- These symptoms are often flu-like, including headaches, joint stiffness, dizziness and foggy-thinking.
- It may not feel so good, but it’s a sign that your body is ridding itself of harmful toxins like fungal organisms.
- Die-off symptoms usually only last for 3-5 days, but you can ease them by gradually introducing coconut oil to your diet before doing a detox.
Coconut Oil Cleanse Tips: Drink Your Water!
During a coconut oil detox, it’s important to drink plenty of filtered water to nourish the body and facilitate cleansing benefits. Here is a recipe for a delicious drink that can replenish you during a cleanse:
The lemon juice has cleansing properties, and the sea salt replaces minerals that may be lost during a cleanse.
You can also add some liquid trace minerals for additional minerals if you’d like.
Add stevia for a sweeter taste, but do not sweeten with any kind of sugar.
Question: Is it safe to detox while breastfeeding?
I hear this question a lot, and I found a great post that addresses whether or not it’s recommended to detox while breastfeeding here.
*Remember, if you have medical conditions or if you are on prescription medications, it’s important to talk with your physician before trying a coconut oil cleanse or any other kind of cleanse.
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Elizabeth is the founder and creative director at The Nourished Life. Her mission is to help people find a more balanced (less stressful!) approach to living a happy, healthy life. Read more about Elizabeth here.