Unjustly maligned for decades, coconut oil is reemerging as a miracle fat that boosts energy, burns fat, is antibiotic, and helps with thyroid problems. In the past, poorly done, misleading studies were used to discredit the saturated fats in coconut oil in order to displace it in our diet with soybean oil. Now that soybean oil has caused an epidemic of health problems, healthy coconut oil is being reintroduced. After a yearlong study of coconut oil, I recently approved a superior product and added it to my own diet.
Coconut oil has been safely used for thousands of years. Natives in tropical climates who consume lots of coconut oil don’t suffer from the heart disease, cancer, colon problems, and other health challenges that we do. Because it is highly saturated, coconut oil is very stable, stores well, and is suitable for cooking. But don’t let the saturation bother you. These saturated fats are different. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are easy to absorb, digest, transport, and metabolize in the body. Unlike other saturated fats, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil speed up the body’s metabolism and are used by the body to produce energy rather than being stored as fat. Coconut oil does a body good. Let’s have a look at the reasons why:
Population studies show that coconut oil lowers cholesterol, and reduces risk of heart disease. Americans consistently have higher cholesterol levels than coconut eating cultures.
Coconut oil helps you to lose, maintain, or gain weight depending on your body’s need. It contributes to weight loss by speeding metabolism and being used as fuel rather than stored as fat. For underweight people, coconut oil helps to gain weight, especially useful to those suffering from AIDS or cancer.
The medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother’s milk, and they have extraordinary antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. About half of coconut oil consists of lauric acid. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin, and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes such as H-pylori, Candida albicans, and Giardia. Natives in Southeast Asia who drink filthy water, loaded with bacteria and parasites, are nonetheless healthy, mostly due to the protective effect of the coconut oil in their diets.
Coconut oil helps people with low thyroid function. Regular oils such as soybean, canola, safflower and corn suppress thyroid function. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil stimulate metabolism, boost energy, and promote weight loss. While not a cure, some people have been able to reduce and even eliminate their thyroid medications.
Coconut oil appears to protect against cancer and not to promote cancer. Animal studies have shown that when animals are fed carcinogens and a variety of oils, the animals that do not develop cancer are those on coconut oil.
Coconut oil appears to have anti-inflammatory effects. For the past 20 years it has been known that coconut oil has been beneficial to patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. Coconut oil appears to have a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue, and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation.
Good for the Skin
Coconut oil rejuvenates skin and wrinkles and slows the aging and wrinkling of skin. Used as a lotion, it protects against sun damage and strengthens underlying tissues. It moisturizes, heals sores and injuries, and prevents production of “liver spots,” (oxidized oils). When liver spots occur, this same oxidative damage is also happening in other tissues such as the brain, heart, eyes, and blood vessels.
Among other properties, coconut oil:
- Does not require refrigeration, and is stable at room temperature from one to five years.
- Increases lung function by increasing the fluidity of cell surfaces.
- Regulates blood sugar and prevents hypoglycemia by providing a supply of fuel not affected by insulin.
- Boosts energy in chronic fatigue and suppresses herpes and Epstein-Barr viruses.
- Doesn’t oxidize easily, thereby protecting the body from lipid peroxidation.
Selecting a healthy, high-quality coconut oil was no easy task. Obtaining reliable information about production techniques and quality was difficult. These products come from far away third-world countries, and from small producers who may speak poor English and have difficulty answering technical questions. I found that even some usually reliable sources in the U.S. were not offering the best oil because they ran up against the same problems, didn’t do their homework, and made poor choices.
The virgin coconut oil I have approved is the least processed oil on the market. This extraordinary oil is not heated above normal air temperature, and it is made form freshly harvested coconuts. Most oils are made from copra (dried coconut), which can be contaminated with mold. Coconut oil is a sensible addition to anyone’s diet, and the purity, flavor, texture and quality of the oil I have selected is truly superior. A therapeutic dose is three tablespoons a day.
Raymond Francis is an M.I.T.-trained scientist, a registered nutrition consultant, author of Never Be Sick Again, Never Be Fat Again, Never Fear Cancer Again, and an internationally recognized leader in the field of optimal health maintenance.
Reprinted with permission from Beyond Health® News
Copyright 2005, Beyond Health