Coconut oil is so handy

It is high time to plug my favourite ingredient ever.

CoconutOilPicThe year has flown by and suddenly it is the Friday before Christmas and the 50th column I have produced. Which means it is high time to plug my favourite ingredient ever.

Some products are so handy that your pets will also benefit from using or eating them. During a recent event in Seven Dials, I purchased half-a-dozen tubs of NHR organic coconut oil (£9.63 for 100ml); some were for gifts. It is versatile enough to condition dry skin and act as an anti-microbial base for homemade deodorant, or act as a makeup remover.

I currently use coconut oil to massage my rescue dog and keep him calm and glossy. Yes, unrefined coconut works amazingly well to condition pet fur, as my shiny collie will testify. It is working wonders on his tail. Dogs love the smell and taste - and will merrily try to lick it while you are rubbing it over their hocks.

It offers many benefits and is a more sustainable and less toxic source of oils than fish. It is so natural that you can even let dogs eat it and no harm will be done.

Most of the canine benefits also apply to humans. It improves skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergy, contact dermatitis, and itchiness. It also reduces allergic reactions, promotes better skin health, and makes coats sleek and glossy. Topical applications also promote the healing of cuts, bites and stings.

When taken internally, it helps digestion and nutrient absorption. And it helps with inflammatory bowel syndrome and reduces bad breath.

The powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agents can aid arthritis or ligament problems. No wonder so many people also choose to cook with coconut oil, its benefits are truly legion.

I read somewhere that Lauren Hutton swears by coconut oil as a sunscreen, but - because it lacks SPF - I am not going to suggest this, although it is a lovely after-sun conditioner. Don’t forget to slick a little over your ears at this time of year, as they take an unexpected beating in the cold weather.

It a great shield against the seaspray and wind on your face. Apply frequently as a lip salve. Just exfoliate with a dry flannel to remove any dry skin then let it all soak in.