Have you been noticing that coconut oil seems to be popping up in everything lately? From healthy recipes to beauty products, coconut oil has become a major player in the holistic health world and with good reason. Coconut oil is packed with nutrients, anti-viral, antibacterial and as versatile as it gets. In one day you can use coconut oil for three very different things: to deep condition your hair, put in your smoothie and use as a base for cooking. Coconut oil truly is a miracle product that is loaded with nutrition and has a long list of impressive uses.

If you are new to purchasing coconut oil, look for extra virgin and avoid refined, as it is imperative that it is in an unrefined state. Also, buying coconut oil organic will ensure 100 percent non-GMO, which is ideal. As for storing coconut oil, you don’t have to refrigerate coconut oil, if you store below 76 degrees Fahrenheit it will solidify, and above that temperature it will liquefy.

Here are eight incredible health benefits of unrefined coconut oil:

1. Lowers cholesterol: It is rich in lauric acid, which protects your heart by reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

2. Helps with weight loss: Remember, healthy fats do not make you fat! This is a major misconception, don’t fear coconut oil for the fat it contains…it is good fat! The healthy medium chain fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats; they are sent directly to the liver and are converted into energy. Thus the body does not store the fat in coconut oil as fat; it uses it to produce energy instead.

3. Thyroid-stimulating: Research shows that coconut oil contains a medium-chain fatty acids accelerate that stimulates metabolism, gives you more energy.

4. Controls blood sugar: Coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. Instead it helps control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin.

5. Fantastic for the skin: When applied externally it forms a protective antibacterial layer protecting the infected body part.  Also, coconut oil speeds up the healing process by helping to repair damaged tissue.

6. Improves brain health: Studies show that it improves cognitive function, and stalls, or even reverses, neurodegenerative diseases in their early stages.

7. Supports the immune system. It is rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system.

8. Aids in anti-aging: Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and other essential vitamins that can make your skin more healthier and help reduce any premature aging.