12 May 2006

Coconut Oil, the healthy “fat”

Would you believe a fat that speeds up metabolism, helping weight loss, banishes infections and reduces heart disease and a whole lot more?

Before World War II, the use of coconut oil was popular for cooking and an ingredient for other food products. During the war, and long after, supplies of coconut oil was cut off, so manufacturers in the US developed alternatives sources of cooking oil – polyunsaturated oil. So much money had been poured into the production and promotion of these oils that they weren’t about to turn their back on them. These oils were soon promoted as being a healthy alternative to the more traditional “saturated fats” of butter and coconut oil. As happens time and time again, the mighty dollar and the all important profit win out. The poor nations who produce the coconut oil, simply couldn’t afford (and still can’t) to combat the publicity by the big multi-national companies.

The numerous health benefits of coconut oil are finally again becoming well-known.
Benefits like:

Reducing your risk of heart disease, reducing cholesterol,
Promoting weight loss when and if you need it
Supporting your immune system health
Reducing your risk of cancer and degenerative diseases
Supporting a healthy metabolism
Providing an immediate energy source for you
Helping to keep your skin healthy and prevent age-related damage
Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
Preventing infections due to harmful bacteria, viruses, yeasts and other micro-organisms.
Coconut oil is a stable oil which is not damage by heat, like other oils. Unsaturated oils are prone to damage when heated and it is these that are primarily involved in heart disease, not the saturated fats. In countries where they have a coconut-based diet they rarely have heart disease.

The unique health benefits of coconut oil are directly related to its chemical structure, or more precisely, the length of its fatty acid chains.
Vegetable or seeds oils have long chain fatty acids, which are
are difficult for the body to break down -- they must be packaged with lipoproteins or carrier proteins and require special enzymes for digestion;
put more strain on the pancreas, the liver and the entire digestive system
are predominantly stored in the body as fat.
can be deposited within arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.
Coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids which are healthier, because:

they are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require lipoproteins or special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system. This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic problems.
are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
in coconut oil can actually stimulate your body's metabolism, leading to weight loss.
One of the best benefits of coconut oil lies in its ability to stimulate your metabolism. In the l940s, farmers attempted to use cheap coconut oil for fattening their animals, but they found that it made them lean, active and hungry. Animals which ate just a little pure unsaturated oil were fat, and animals which ate a lot of coconut oil were lean. Interesting!

So, by changing the fats in your diet from the unsaturated long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable or seed oils to the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil, you may find yourself gradually losing those unnecessary kilos with little or no effort.

Coconut oil has often been compared to carbohydrates in its ability to be "burned" for energy. However, since insulin is not involved in the process of digesting the coconut oil, you won't get those carb-related spikes in your blood sugar level. This is especially good news for those of you with diabetes or other blood sugar issues.

Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. Good news for those with a sluggish thyroid preventing them from losing weight.

There are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. The healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old, worn-out or damaged cells. And your immune system functions better overall.

Coconut milk contains the same compound that is in breast milk, lauric acid.
Lauric acid transforms when consumed into a substance called monolaurin, the actual compound responsible for fighting numerous types of infections. A lot of research has been done on the ability of lauric acid to fight dangerous micro-organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, parasites and moulds. Researchers found that this medium-chain fatty acid derivative actually disrupts the lipid (or fatty) membranes of the offending organisms.

Numerous studies have also indicated that many viruses are inactivated by medium-chain fats -- viruses like influenza, measles, HIV, herpes and cytomegalovirus.
Bacteria like strep and staph, gonorrhoea, helicobacter pylori, salmonella and clostridium botulinum. Also other "badies" like the yeast Candida, and the ringworm fungus.

The medium chain fats in coconut oil are so nutritious that they have been used in baby formulas, and in hospitals to feed the critically ill, those on tube feeding, and those with digestive problems.

Coconut oil is exceptionally helpful for pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, those with digestive problems or metabolic diseases like diabetes, athletes, those who are fighting infectious or chronic degenerative diseases, those with thyroid disease, and those of you who just want to prevent disease.

Here are a few things you can do with coconut oil:
• Whenever you fry, stir-fry or sauté veggies, eggs, poultry, fish or whatever, use coconut oil for a healthy light flavour
• Toss some coconut oil into your smoothies or juiced drinks for a burst of lauric acid
• Make your own mayonnaise with coconut oil
• Use it on your salads for a tropical flair

Coconut oil is not just for cooking & eating, it’s good for the skin too!
Coconut oil is ideal for skin care. It prevents the formation of destructive free radicals, and can prevent your skin from developing skin blemishes caused by aging and overexposure to sunlight. It is ideal to use as a massage oil or in place of other lotions and creams.

So please, before you cook with oil again, don't pass up this way to improve your health by making one simple change in your diet.