Although once shunned for being high in saturated fat, coconut oil has emerged in recent years as one of Mother Nature's best kept secrets. Solid at room temperature and slightly sweet and nutty in flavor, it is excellent for cooking and baking — but those are just a few of the many ways your family can benefit from use of this incredible, edible oil.

1. Use coconut oil in place of butter, shortening, or other oils in all types of baked goods from banana bread to pound cake to brownies.

2. Sauté bitter greens like kale in coconut oil to mellow the flavor.

3. Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil in your morning coffee to help burn stubborn belly fat.

4. Use it as a conditioning treatment for dry hair. (This is especially great during the summer after repeated trips to the pool.)

5. Rub it on feet as a natural treatment for athlete's foot.

6. Coconut oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, so some breastfeeding mothers have found it helpful in treating thrush.

7. Soothe infants by massaging them with a small amount of coconut oil after their bath.

8. Dry skin can be softened with coconut oil instead of lotions or moisturizers.

9. It makes an effective eye makeup remover.

10. Many parents who use cloth diapers swear by coconut oil as a diaper cream.

11. Use it to lightly sweeten smoothies or hot chocolate.

12. Season your cast iron pans and skillets with coconut oil.

13. Use it as a lip balm.

14. Use it as a personal lubricant.

15. Coconut oil is said to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy when rubbed directly on to the skin.

16. Mix it with some essential oils for a natural insect repellent.

17. Mix it with baking soda to make a natural toothpaste.

18. Some say that unrefined coconut oil is a safer alternative to chemical-packed sunscreens.

19. Because it is anti-bacterial, a dab can help heal cuts and scrapes. Great when you're raising kids.

20. Fry eggs in coconut oil for a new twist on a breakfast favorite.

21. Make a natural deodorant using coconut oil.

22. Coconut oil is one of just two ingredients in this homemade chocolate Magic Shell topping for ice cream.

23. Lots of women are using coconut oil in place of shaving cream when shaving their legs.

24. Add a tablespoon or two to soups for added nutrition.

25. A dab on a canker sore is said to help with pain and promote healing.

26. Can be used as a leather or furniture polish (test a small space first).

27. When combined with apple cider vinegar, many sources report that it makes an effective natural treatment for head lice.

28. Can help treat cradle cap in infants.

29. A few drops inside the ear are thought to help treat ear infection.

30. Coconut oil can help take away the itch of a bug bite.

31. Eat a spoonful straight from the jar when you're hungry to curb your appetite.

Have you tried coconut oil? What do you do with it?