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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coconut Oil and its Wonderful Health Benefits

Coconut oil has been used for centuries as a vital source of food for health and general well being in traditional communities of tropical regions. Recent research verifies traditional beliefs that the coconut palm is “The Tree of Life” and that, just like any other pure, whole food, coconuts and virgin coconut oil have a significant role to play in a well balanced, nutritious diet. Abandoning unhealthy lifestyles and reverting to natural foods can help to reverse many of the diseases that have manifested in our bodies through the highly refined diet of our modern society. This website provides information on the researched health benefits that can be derived from using coconuts and virgin coconut oil in conjunction with a well balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Coconut oil as a "functional food".

Medical research is in agreement that at least 30% of our daily nutritional intake should be made up of fats or oil. However, the structures of different oils are as diverse as nature itself and even a basic knowledge of what defines the different classification of fats will help us understand why this classification is so important when choosing oil to augment and support a healthy lifestyle for our children, families and ourselves.

Research shows that replacing other cooking oils with virgin coconut oil generally creates a more favorable HDL/LDL ratio. This oil has antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal properties and, like all whole foods, contains nutrients for a healthy body.

Saturated Fat ~ A Vital Ingredient for a Healthy Body: Over many decades coconut oil received bad publicity due to its saturated fat content, but research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike and coconut oil is unique in its structural make-up. It is not only the highest source of saturated fats (92%) but included in this is the highest source of saturated medium chain triglycerides (62%) of any naturally occurring vegan food source.
Furthermore around 50% of these MCT’s are made up of lauric acid, the most important essential fatty acid in building and maintaining the body’s immune system. Apart from coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid found in such high concentrations is in mother’s milk.
Tropical oils and mother’s milk are by far the richest food sources of medium chain fatty acids available. The closest other source of these vital building blocks for our immune system would be milk fat and butter, comprising around 3% of its content. Any other vegetable oil is completely deficient in these medium chain fatty acids.It should also be remembered that the negative research done on coconut oil in the past was the result of one study conducted four decades ago, using hydrogenated oil (which has been processed and altered from its original form), not on virgin coconut oil.
Research shows that some saturated fat is in fact necessary for human health and modern research shows that the medium chain fatty acids help to increase metabolism and are more easily digested than fats found in other oils. This is because they are processed directly in the liver and immediately converted into energy. There is therefore less strain on the liver, pancreas and digestive system and these MCFA provide the body with a wonderful, quick source of energy.
Virgin v. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Don't be mislead by the term "extra virgin" when used in conjunction with coconut oil. This term is borrowed from the olive oil industry and there is no such product or existing standard that can be applied to coconut oil production. If you see the term "extra virgin" be assured that it is simply a marketing ploy to encourage you to believe that the oil has something more to offer than virgin coconut oil.

Coconut Oil Capsules
There are a number of companies now selling coconut oil capsules. In many cases it is recommended that people consume 2 - 4 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. This would equate to approximately 28 x 1000mg capsules PER TABLESPOON! The companies selling these coconut oil capsules are recommending anywhere from 3 to 6 capsules a day, which is only a few drops of coconut oil. To ingest a therapeutic dose of oil using coconut oil capsules is going to be prohibitively expensive and also means that you would consume a large amount of gelatine.

"Never before in the history of man is it so important to emphasize the value of Lauric Oils. The medium chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother's milk and have similar nutriceutical effects." Jon J. Kabara, PhD - Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University

"The doctor of the future will give little medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." Thomas A. Edison

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