We use coconut oil a lot in this house.
My son has severe atopic dematitise (basically eczema so bad, its not even eczema anymore - caused by a dairy allergy). I have thousands of dollars worth of creams in my "doesn't work" or "he's allergic to it" pile... including Rx creams and steroids. what works for him? coconut oil!
The best way we have found to get it into his skin is to put it in the bath water and let him play for a good 30 minutes. Def need a mat or non slip stickers on the bottom of your tub because it does get slippery! His skin actually looks somewhat normal now!
We also cook with it - a little goes a long way. I don't use much oil to cook, but if I do need oil for something I will put about 1/8 - 1/4 of a teaspoon into the pan and its enough to cook with for most things we cook.
So yes, my family ingests it. We are also dairy free as I have 2 children allergic to dairy. I would much rather them consume coconut oil than processed vegan margarines (ie chemicals), canola oil (which is quite often GMO), corn oil (again, GMO) or other oils. We do occasionally use olive oil - I prefer olive oil for salad dressings for example, because of the taste.
I also use it in my hair, and my clients hair (I am a licensed hairstylist). A tiny little amount works wonders!
I would like to add something to the saturated fat debate - there are different kinds of saturated fats. saturated fats from plant sources are easier to break down than saturated fats from animals. your body does need fats to run efficiently, and if you are living an otherwise relatively healthy lifestyle (rich is whole food, especially if they are predominately plant based) then consuming a bit of coconut oil can be beneficial. if you lead a lifestyle that is already high is fats, coconut oil is not going to be beneficial if consumed.
no one can say that it is beneficial or harmful just by saying someone consumes coconut oil. if you can see the rest of the diet and lifestyle, then maybe a claim as to whether it is beneficial or harmful can be established. but there is no right or wrong answer.
I'm Amy... AC1OZ