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Coconut Oil - Health Benefits

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Article: Holistic Nutrition - Coconut Oil - Health Benefits

Coconut Oil - Health Benefits

active prevention... nutritional strategies to support a health lifestyle

..... by Dieter Luske N.D.-D.C.H.-D.M.H.-D.H

Holistic Therapy Consultant - Gold Coast - Canungra

"Holistic Therapies” .. the natural way to free yourself from physical and mental decline.

* Health is more than a good diet, everything is inter-connected...

Coconut Oil and it's Health Benefits

* NOTE: There is a tendency to confuse health benefits with medical treatments. But Health benefits are NOT medical treatments, they merely describe constituents and their properties recognised by scientific evidence. - Often, to exchange a food item with 'bad' properties for one with 'good' properties can have a already health benefits. - Health benefits are aimed holistically at individuals, and definitely NOT as a treatment for a specific Disease.

The humble coconut ... who would have thought that something that delicious could be good for you? Yes, it's like having your cake and eating it too, and in the process of it, you will get a host of benefits.

Even so Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats, which may sound terrible after just surviving decades of fat phobia, it is widely accepted that "not  all saturated fats are created equal".

The reported beneficial properties of 'Organic Virgin Coconut Oil' are attributed to the Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid content.

The beneficial Coconut Oil properties are:  antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti fungal, anti bacterial, anti ageing.

Possible Benefits include;

Supporting Weight loss,  maintaining or lowering cholesterol levels, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, gallbladder stone prevention, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, dental care, bone strength, and possibly many more...

Explanation of Benefits:

Most people know three kinds of fat,  saturated, unsaturated and polyunsaturated. However another classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) - Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) - Long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).

Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). 

The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, fatty acids - whether they are saturated or unsaturated, come from animals or plants.

98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA (long-chain fatty acids).

The size of the fatty acid is very important. We respond to and metabolise each fatty acid differently depending on its size.

The effects of MCFA in coconut oil are vastly different from those of LCFA.

MCFA with it's 50% lauric acid content, are assimilated very well, they do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease.

MCFA help to lower the risk of heart disease,  including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure,  it also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis. Coconut oil  does not lead to increase in LDL levels. (unless oxidised - depending on age, and manufacturing process)

Coconut oil is nature's richest source of these healthy MCFAs

... but there is more good news ...

Coconut oil contains a fat which is hardly found in any other food - Lauric Acid.

Lauric acid is converted in our bodies into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.

Monolaurin is a monoglyceride which can destroy lipid coated viruses (in vitro) may show benefits with:

  • HIV, herpes

  • Measles

  • Influenza virus

  • Various pathogenic bacteria

  • Protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance!

Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, is another antimicrobial.

Another powerful reason to switch to Coconut oil is the convenient fact that it will support you eating less of the long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), which have some detrimental effect on your health, such as:

  • LCFAs are difficult for your body to break down -- they require special enzymes for digestion.

  • LCFAs put more strain on your pancreas, liver and your entire digestive system.

  • LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat.

  • LCFAs can be deposited within your arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.

  • LCFAs are easy to go rancid, are not heat stable and should not be used for frying.

MCFAs however, are smaller,  easily digested, easy to permeate cell membranes, and do not require special enzymes to be utilised effectively by your body.

MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.

MCFAs  help stimulate your body's metabolism, leading to weight loss.

* NOTE: Medical and scientific communities are now fairly united in the opinion that hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils should be avoided. - These unsaturated fats, artificially manipulated into saturated fats, are also called trans fats.

More reasons to use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is convenient in cooking. It is an excellent oil to use whenever high temperatures are needed, such as stir fry's. Any recipe calling for butter, margarine, or any other oil can be substituted with Coconut Oil.

It aids the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems, including irritable bowel syndrome.

Coconut oil has anti microbial properties and helps combating various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that can cause indigestion.

Coconut oil also aids in absorption of other nutrients.

By using coconut oil, you automatically eliminate one of the greatest health offenders, the heating of any other oil is causing oxidation problems and changes a good oil into a bad one.

Health issues which "may" benefit from using Coconut Oil.

Coconut Oil Helps in the fight against Diabetes and it's side effects.
Your body sends medium-chain fatty acids directly to your liver to use as energy. This makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually supplied by simple carbohydrates.
Coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream, it helps in controlling blood sugar,  improves the secretion of insulin and helps in effective utilisation of blood glucose.
Coconut oil acts on your body like a carbohydrate, without any of the debilitating insulin-related effects associated with long-term high carbohydrate consumption!
Common side effects of diabetes, such as circulation problems, heart problems or high blood pressure, may also benefit.

Your Skin:
Many  professional massage therapists use coconut oil. You can  use coconut oil as you would any other oil or  lotion.
Coconut oil is ideal for skin care. It helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals, and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.
Many  believe coconut oil may help restore more youthful-looking skin. When coconut oil is absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother.
Since coconut oil is moisturizing, anti microbial, anti fungal and anti-inflammatory, it's a great soothing natural remedy for all kinds of skin problems ranging from eczema to acne to nappy rash and general dry skin complaints.

Colds and Sore Throats:
The anti microbial properties may help you recover from a cold. Mix it with warm tea or water with Lemon or Lime and honey for a very soothing throat remedy.

Dandruff and Cradle cap: Massage coconut oil it into your scalp several times per week

Lip Balm: Try coconut oil - just apply to your lips.

Make-up Remover: Coconut oil is a very effective make-up remover, and natural moisturizer, so it won't cause dryness or irritation.

Coconut Oil pulling:
Putting a tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth and swirling it around for 15-20mins then spitting it out.
The benefit is that it supports to "pulls" bacteria out of the gums. Improving oral health, makes teeth whiter, helps receding gum lines, improves general health and immunity.

Which Coconut Oil to buy?

Buy only the Organic Virgin Coconut OIL made from fresh coconuts -- opened less than 48 hours after they are picked from the trees.

Coconuts should be grown and processed organically, (No GM) without potentially harmful fertilizers, additives or chemical solvents.

NOTE: Most commercial coconut oils are made from 'COPRA', the dried up meat from coconuts, often many days or weeks old before processing.
The oil should not be refined or purified. This type of inferior coconut oil is called RBD -- refined, bleached and deodorized.
NO Hexane – Hexane is a colour less liquid derived from petroleum. It’s found in glue used for shoes, leather goods and roofing.

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Article by ... Dieter L. - Editor for useNature

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* Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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