Contributed by Dori Cranmore R.N.
The coconut palm is often referred to as “the tree of life” among Asian and Pacific Islanders because of its wide range of uses – from traditional medicines, to food and drink to body and hair tonic.
New studies are revealing just how beneficial coconut oil is for your health and vitality:
• Accelerated weight loss
• Improved heart health
• Slowing the process of Osteoporosis
• Healthy skin and hair
• Prevents or slows the process of Alzheimer’s Disease
There seems to be a widespread misconception that coconut oil is bad for you because it is a “saturated fat”. Top scientists now recognize that just as there is good cholesterol, there are good saturated fats.
Fats are classified as short, medium or long-chain based on the number of carbon molecules they contain. Nearly two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of special fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Most of the time, we think of triglycerides as bad, but the medium-chain variety is actually good for you.
Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is easily digestible and converted into quick energy by increasing your metabolism. These types of fatty acids are less likely to cause obesity because they are immediately used by the body and aren’t stored. It seems amazing that consuming fat can actually help you lose fat, but remember – not all fats are created equal!
Nearly 50% of the fatty acid in natural coconut oil is lauric acid, which converts to the fatty acid monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin fights against bacteria, yeast, fungi and some viruses. It destroys the lipid membrane of such viruses as HIV, measles, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1), and influenza. Lauric acid is a main component of human breast milk and helps protect children from illness during infancy.
Renowned coconut oil experts and authors like Dr. Mary Enig and Dr. Bruce Fife recommend the average person eat about three tablespoons of coconut oil each day. They say this amount will not only provide protection against bacteria and viruses, but it will also increase your metabolism and improve the condition of your skin and hair.
I use coconut oil to cook with because you can use high heat without burning and I notice it does not soak up into my food. I also make great popcorn using organic yellow popcorn and coconut oil in a pan on top of the stove. It has an amazing sweet taste. I also traded our butter for coconut oil on my toast. I exchange coconut oil in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil. Anyone with dry skin or irritated skin, the coconut oil is very soothing and gives you fabulous looking skin. It is also one of the best oils for pregnant tummies and keeping those dreaded stretch marks away.
To reap the full benefits when consuming coconut oil, choose a high-quality source that offers coconut oil in its best form: organic, cold-pressed and extra virgin. All About Herbs has a coconut island with all your coconut product needs.
Dori Cranmore is a registered nurse and owner of the All About Herbs Store in Wasilla. For more information, call 376-8327 or 745-8387. This information is for educational purposes and is not medical advice or meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.