Coconut oil is a staple in my kitchen and after reading this post, I hope it's in your kitch too. The coconut has been valued for thousands of years, rightly so! Scriptures of Hinduism dating back to 1500 B.C.E. said it nourishes the body, increases strength and promotes beautiful hair and skin. In Ayurveda medicine, it has been used for over 4,000 years as an effective treatment for skin diseases. It's also a good lube (yes, I did just say that). Why put chemicals anywhere near your lady-parts or your man's man-parts I say! Coco oil smells delicious too. And that just barely scratches the surface.
In the Phillipines, the coco plant is called the "tree of life". Interestingly, a country where coconut oil appears in virtually every single dish, also has the LOWEST cancer rates of the 50 countries surveyed by the National Cancer Institute. Now let's get right down to the nitty gritty of why coconuts make me so dang joyous!
First I want to set the record straight about coconut oil and heart disease.
Due to one study, it was mistakenly accused of contributing to heart disease due to its saturated fat content. Harvard researchers have later reviewed that initial study and concluded it was not accurate because the oil used in the study that raised cholesterol levels in rats was "hydrogenated" which altered it to the point of being devoid of ANY essential fatty acids. Despite this misinformation, coco oil continues to be demonized even though the latest research shows that coco oil not only causes an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol, but it does NOT increase LDL (bad) cholesterol. And this is just one of many health benefits, please share this knowledge to set the record straight!
Promotes weight loss
Studies have shown that when coco oil has been part of one's diet, white fat stores have been reduced. Due to the medium chain (MCTs) being so well absorbed and used an energy source, their burning actually increases metabolic rate. A diet high in MCTs showed in a study over a 6-day period to increase thermogenesis by 50% - that's huge, talk about fat burning potential just by adding it to your smoothie!
You can literally slather your body in coco oil after a shower or a bath and use it as a hair moisturizer and not have to worry about any toxic chemicals being absorbed into your blood stream through your skin. Wonderful for dry, flaky and dull-looking skin or dry scalp. It can also been used for psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in the coconut is in the form of medium-chain (12-carbon) saturated fat called "lauric acid". The only other abundant source of this healing fat is in breast milk. Your body converts this to a a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an anti-viral, antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. H. Pylori, yeast, fungi, protozoa and a number of species of ringworm are all destroyed by lauric acid.
Anti-viral for sexually transmitted disease
Another fat in coconut is called capric acid which when converted in the body to monocaprin has been shown to have antiviral effects for many sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, herpes and HIV. In fact, these antiviral compounds are currently being heavily researched in treatment for AIDS patients. Initial studies are showing that coco oil reduces the viral load in people with AIDS.
Safest oil for cooking
Due to the fact it's a saturated fat, it is very stable and can withstand high heat without turning rancid making it ideal for cooking, sauteing and roasting food. Plus it tastes absolutely deeeelish!
Now that you have the health benefits, I hope you are excited to pick up a bottle at your local health food store! Next week I will write a post for you that includes my favourite brands, recipes, how to use it, but in the meantime if you are already excited to get going with it, then just add 1 tbsp to your morning smoothie.
Have a joyous day!