I have talked a bit about coconut oil in past articles, but the more I studied this super food, the more I felt it deserved an entire article on its own.
Many health benefits can be associated with the coconut, but it is its oil that sets it apart from all others. Dr. David Jockers of the Exodus Health Center writes, “Coconut oil is one of nature’s most powerful forms of nutrition. Mothers’ milk is considered the most perfect food on the planet for human consumption due to its ideal nutritional content and immune boosting compounds. The closest match in nature to mothers’ milk is found within the coconut”.
Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut, known as the “copra”. This process can be attained using a variety of methods, and naturally, some are better than others. Quick drying the meat then pressing the oil out with a machine produces virgin coconut oil, the purest coconut oil possible. Another method is known as “wet-milling”, which allows the oil to rise to the top of the coconut milk, making it easy to separate. (Incidentally, when talking about coconut oil, “virgin” and “extra virgin” mean the same thing.)
Many years ago, we were told to avoid all saturated fats; they would lead to high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and so much more. But there are natural saturated fats, and man-made ones (hydrogenation). Studies prove that people living in countries with a high intake of coconut oil are free of many of the diseases we were warned about.
All oils and fats are composed of molecules known as fatty acids, and our body responds to all fatty acids differently. The fatty acids contained within coconut oil are different than most, and they provide instant energy to our system. It is said that every part of our body can benefit from this oil.
Even our immune system can be strengthened by it to help prevent and fight sickness and degenerative disease.
And here’s an interesting little tidbit, related to Dr. Jocker’s earlier statement. One of the fatty acids contained within coconut oil is called lauric acid; breast milk is one of its few other sources. Coconut oil contains approximately 50% lauric acid, the same percentage as breast milk. Once inside your body, lauric acid is converted to monolaurin, which has the ability to eliminate all fungal and bacterial infections. This is why breast feeding is so important for babies; they develop a stronger immune system and are able to fight off infections much easier.
Those who believe in the merits of coconut oil recommend taking 2 to 3 tablespoons daily. It can be taken directly from the jar, added to your favourite drink (including tea or coffee), or mixed in with foods. Virgin coconut oil smells and tastes just like coconut, so if you are not particularly fond of coconuts, you will want to mask its taste.
Here is just a short list of some of the benefits of coconut oil:
- Improves bone health by helping the body to absorb calcium and magnesium
- Helps with weight loss
- Lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease
- Is a natural remedy for pneumonia
- Enhances proper bowel function and reduces hemorrhoids
- Provides relief from chronic fatigue
- Reduces joint and muscle inflammation
- …and so much more!
Coconut oil is also beneficial by applying it to your skin (it contains vitamin E). If you have a respiratory infection, rub the oil over your throat and chest. It can be used to treat skin rashes and burns, eczema, bug bites, diaper rash, used as a sun block, makeup remover or just as an overall moisturizer. In fact, many believe coconut oil has the ability to restore more youthful-looking skin.
It also makes an ideal hair treatment for damaged hair. Massage the oil into your hair and leave on overnight for a noticeable difference in the morning. Dandruff sufferers can also expect improvements from a coconut oil massage. And clinical studies have shown that it can also be effective in treating head lice.
When it comes to cooking and frying foods, coconut oil should be your only choice. It is able to withstand high heat; whereas some oils are damaged at high temperatures. According to Dr. Mercola, polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola are absolutely the worst oils to cook with.
You can substitute coconut oil for butter and apply it to your morning toast, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, etc. Anywhere you would normally use butter, make the switch.
And coconut oil is known to have a long shelf life; two years or more at room temperature.
So throw away your butter, cooking oils, skin moisturizers and hair conditioners and buy one big jar of virgin coconut oil. Your body will thank you.