If you frequent natural or health food stores, you’ve most likely noticed the abundance of Coconut Oil promoted and being used in products these days. And that’s not surprising considering the media has touted it as a natural wonder for a range of conditions, from weight loss to diabetes, and as a natural anti-aging cream. So to help you make sense of all the hype, I’ve pulled together the basics for you, and am adding a recipe section dedicated to foods containing Coconut Oil to help you integrate this natural wonder/superfood into your daily life. So read on for my review of whether this trend is worth all the hype.
So, the first question is can Coconut Oil be good for us? I mean, it’s a FAT right?
YES, and with all the internal health and outer beauty benefits, you’ll want to get in on this trend for the sake of your health today!
Heart Healthy Fats:
Here’s some basics on what makes Coconut Oil a healthy fat.
What we do know is that Coconut Oil is incredibly good for your heart. The truth is this: it is unsaturated fats that are primarily involved in heart disease and too much sugar and processed foods, not the naturally occurring saturated fats as you have been led to believe.
With all the publicity around saturated fats, and how “bad” they are for us, it may be surprising for you to learn that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil is actually good for you and provides a number of profound health benefits, such as:
• Improving your heart health
• Boosting your thyroid
• Increasing your metabolism
• Promoting a lean body and weight loss if needed
• Supporting your immune system
Coconut oil even benefits your skin when applied topically and has been found to have anti-aging, regenerative effects.
Coconut oil has actually been shown to help optimize body weight, which can dramatically reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Besides weight loss, boosting your metabolic rate will improve your energy, accelerate healing and improve your overall immune function – pretty amazing!
As I often do, I turned to the experts first for their opinions and have pulled out the important highlights below to help get you started. I’ll keep you posted as I gather more resources for you, so to get started please read on for the health benefits you can expect from Coconut Oil, a natural superfood that has helped keep folks from the South Pacific healthy and heart disease-free for decades.
From the experts….
How Coconut Oil Works Wonders in Your Body (According to Dr Mercola)
Nearly 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is of a type rarely found in nature called lauric acid, a “miracle” compound because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. (6)
Coconut oil is also nature’s richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.
LCTs are large molecules, so they are difficult for your body to break down and are predominantly stored as fat.
But MCTs (7) , being smaller, are easily digested and burned by your liver for energy — like carbohydrates, but without the insulin spike. MCTs actually boost your metabolism and help your body use fat for energy, as opposed to storing it, so it can actually help you become leaner. The first, extra-virgin olive oil is the best monounsaturated fat and works great as a salad dressing. However, olive oil should not be used for cooking. Due to its chemical structure, heat makes olive oil susceptible to oxidative damage. So for cooking, I use coconut oil exclusively. And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to cook with.
Three primary reasons:
1) Cooking your food in omega-6 vegetable oils produces a variety of very toxic chemicals, as well as forming trans-fats. Frying destroys the antioxidants in oil, actually oxidizing the oil, which causes even worse problems for your body than trans-fats.
2) Most vegetable oils are GM (genetically modified), including more than 90 percent of soy, corn and canola oils.
3) Vegetable oils contribute to the overabundance of damaged omega-6 fats in your diet, throwing off your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Nearly everyone in Western society consumes far too many omega-6 fats — about 100 times more than a century ago — and insufficient omega 3 fats, which contributes to many chronic degenerative diseases.
There is only one oil that is stable enough to withstand the heat of cooking, and that’s coconut oil. So, do yourself a favor and ditch all those “healthy oil wannabes,” and replace them with a large jar of fresh, organic, heart-supporting coconut oil.
Benefits of Coconut Oil (according to Dr Oz):
This is one fat that diabetics can eat without fear. Not only does it not contribute to diabetes, but it helps regulate blood sugar, thus lessening the effects of the disease. Island people have consumed large amounts of coconut oil for many generations without ever encountering diabetes, but when they abandoned it for other foods and oils, the results were disastrous.
The connection between coconut oil and weight loss is interesting. Farmers in America discovered this early last century when they tried to fatten their cattle by feeding them coconut oil. Instead of gaining weight, their cattle lost weight! So again, this is not news. Do a simple Internet search such as “benefits of coconut oil” and you will get plenty of details.
Bone and Dental Health
Coconut oil improves calcium and magnesium absorption in the body, which in turn is greatly beneficial to dental and bone health. The improved calcium absorption created by coconut oil use ceases tooth decay and aids in the development of strong teeth. The combined increased calcium and magnesium absorption are of great benefit to middle-aged women who may become afflicted with osteoporosis.
Coconut Oil: A Good Saturated Fat?
You may ask, isn’t coconut oil a saturated fat? And aren’t saturated fats harmful? Yes, coconut oil consists of 90% saturated fats. But whether or not saturated fats are harmful depends on who you ask. Among mainstream nutritionists, the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease is an “absolute truth” that is never questioned. Those who question this belief, however, point out that mankind has been consuming mainly saturated fats – in the form of butter, lard, coconut oil, etc – for thousands of years, yet heart disease was rare before the 1920s. If anything, the rise of heart disease in recent decades may correspond to the increasing use of polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, safflower and canola, as well as margarine.
Now that we’ve talked about the internal benefits, let’s focus a bit on the external “beauty” benefits!
Coconut Oil; a natural beauty product:
Coconut oil can act as an antioxidant for your skin as well and can be used in place of lotion or even lip balm. Women can use it to remove eye makeup and men can use it in place of shaving cream. Using coconut oil on your face may even help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Since it is completely natural and chemical-free, it is ideal for people with sensitive skin.
According to ORGANICFACTS.NET, there are some pretty great beauty regimen benefits from Coconut Oil. Read on for some natural home remedies!
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair; it helps in healthy growth of hair providing a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care, where it’s common to apply coconut oil on their hair daily after a bath. It’s an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair, and provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It’s often used as a hair care oil and in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams.
Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil, however, unlike mineral oil there are little chances of adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin, and also delays wrinkles and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
Coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care and helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
Healing and Infections:
When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
What are you waiting for?
Our favorite brand of Coconut Oil is Tropical Traditions, and they not only make some of the most mild tasting Coconut Oil we’ve tried, but they also make Organic cleaning products for your body and home, and offer a range of grass fed meats, eggs from free range hens and more.
Check out their weekly sales offers here, and comment below to let us know what your favorite Coconut Oil products and recipes are.