Coconut Oil - Saturated Fat that`s Good for You! PDF  | Print |  E-mail
By Pierre LeFrancois

Did you know that oil extracted from coconuts (cocos nucifera) is a powerful health food? Coconut oil strengthens the immune system, helps fight infections caused by bacteria and viruses, improves cardiovascular health and protects the body against oxidative stress, one of the main causes of degenerative illnesses.

In all likelihood, coconut oil was one of the very first oils used for cooking. Used traditionally in Asia, Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean, it later found its way into the European and American diet where it remained until the middle half of the twentieth century, before being replaced with the less saturated vegetable oils extracted from soy, colza and corn. A handful of multinational companies in the agricultural industry made a fortune through the mass production and widespread distribution of these polyunsaturated cooking oils. Not surprisingly, it was these same large companies who played a role in the public denigration of saturated fats in general and coconut oil in particular, which led to the almost complete demise of coconut oil in the western diet.

Coconut oil takes on a somewhat solid form at room temperature. It is far more stable than unsaturated fats; it withstands heat much better than they do and is consequently less likely to go rancid. All of these attributes make coconut oil one of the healthiest cooking oils on the market today. Coconut oil provides a quick source of energy and contrary to popular belief it does not cause cardiovascular disease. Rather, it improves the absorption of unsaturated fatty acids, in particular the omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) known for their protective effects on the blood vessels.

Coconut oil is now making a successful comeback thanks to the concerted efforts of an increasing number of scientists who are eager to proclaim its beneficial properties and unique composition in particular its content of medium chain fatty acids (MCFTs). These fatty acids stimulate the immune system and exert a positive effect on the serum lipid profile (the amounts of fats found in your blood), in sharp contrast to the negative effect on the serum lipid profile by the so-called hydrogenated fats (trans-fats). Trans-fats are now subject to a ban by the Canadian government.

Trans-fats are a recent invention of the agricultural industry. They are made up of tampered-with vegetable oils derived from soy, corn or canola, elements that are increasingly derived from genetically modified varieties. This type of fat, which human beings have been consuming only over the last 50 years, wreaks havoc on our health. Recent findings conclude that trans-fats could be responsible for the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in modern society.

There is a growing consensus that virgin coconut oil contributes to the prevention (and in some cases the treatment) of illnesses such as allergies, auto immune system disorders, cystitis, malfunctioning of the gall bladder, high blood pressure, kidney problems, liver problems, digestive problems, candida and other bacterial or fungal infections, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, diabetes and cancer.

Coconut oil is metabolized in the liver. Unlike other fats, it provides a quick source of energy instead of being stored as fat. When used in conjunction with a balanced diet of unprocessed foods, coconut oil can contribute significantly to weight loss and a healthy weight management program.

Unprocessed coconut oil exerts a powerful healing action on the skin. Rough, dry, flaky skin starts to become smooth, soft and younger looking. Acne, psoriasis and other skin problems begin to disappear. The skin looks and feels healthier because it is healthier. Coconut oil can also do wonders for your hair. It gives it a healthy lustre and enriches its natural colour. In some cases it has been reported to help prevent premature greying and baldness. It is great for the scalp and helps control dandruff.

Coconut oil can partially or wholly replace butter and vegetable oils for cooking. It is especially useful for frying as it is not well absorbed by the foods being fried. It can be eaten raw, spread on toast, or used in salad dressings (slightly heated to melt if necessary). At room temperature it keeps for at least six months and much longer when refrigerated. Due to its low moisture content, virgin coconut oil extracted through centrifugation has the long shelf life of up to two to three years even without refrigeration. In fact, to maximize therapeutic benefits described above, make sure to use virgin coconut oil (preferably extracted through centrifugation).

Unfortunately, most coconut oils on the market today are refined, bleached or deodorized (RBD), which makes them less than ideal for human consumption. Do your homework and find a supplement that has a high standard of quality. For maximum benefits a minimum daily consumption of two to four tablespoons of virgin coconut oil is recommended..

Pierre LeFrancois

Pierre LeFrancois is a journalist specializing in the field of integrated medicine and a contributing writer to Réseau Proteus (www.reseauproteus.com), an independent internet site dedicated to the promotion of holistic health

This article has appeared in, and is supplied courtesy of  VISTA Magazine

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