A third of the Worlds population relies on the Coconut for food and ultimate nutrition. Asia and the Pacific have used Coconuts and Coconut Oil for cooking, medicine and beauty for centuries with Countries like Thailand having the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer and a tenth of the cases of diabetes compared to the western World.
As a child, the only place I saw real coconuts was at Fun Fairs where you stood a small chance of winning one if you could knock it off its stand with a wooden ball. It was an exotic treat from a far off land that we never thought we would be able to visit. I didn’t see a green coconut until about 15 years ago. Now we are lucky that we can import coconuts and coconut products and gain the benefits that have been enjoyed for so long elsewhere. When you buy Coconut Oil do make sure that it is good quality Oil and that it has not been processed by deodorising, bleaching or chemicals where its healthy properties will have been changed. I watch out for half-priced offers and bulk buy.
Some people are still under the impression that because Coconut oil is a saturated fat that it must be bad for us but nothing could be further from the truth. Coconut oil has Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) that are metabolised in a very different way to other saturated fats. It goes straight to the Liver from the digestive tract as a quick source of energy and doesn’t require bile or pancreatic enzymes.
Here is a list of Health Benefits
- Prevention of Heart Disease as it raises HDL, good Cholesterol and lowers total Cholesterol. It improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.
- It supports our Immune system as it is very protective against gut pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and viruses. Coconut has been used for Centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to boost energy and health.
- Helps treat and prevent Diabetes by improving glucose tolerance and preserving insulin action and sensitivity.
- The ketone bodies Coconut oil produces improve brain function and have been proved to help in Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy.
- As little as 1oz a day of Coconut Oil can help weight loss, especially belly fat, by increasing the body’s fat burning capabilities, reducing hunger and increasing energy expenditure compared to Long Chain Fatty acids.
- Coconut oil contains about 50% Lauric acid (also high in breast milk) which can kill bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi. Studies have shown it to be effective in killing Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida Albicans.
- Coconut Oil improves calcium and magnesium absorption and so helps with bone, teeth and nail strength and health.
- Coconut oil reduces inflammation especially in diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and also IBS
- Published studies have shown that Coconut oil can kill or expel Tapeworm, Giardia and other Parasites, kill head lice and ticks.
- Helps relieve symptoms of Gall Bladder disease and Pancreatitis.
- Coconut oil does not deplete the bodies antioxidant reserves like other oils can.
- It is lower in calories than other saturated fats.
- It is completely non-toxic to humans even for babies and during pregnancy.
For a full list of uses go to The Coconut Research Center
The nutrient content of an average coconut is that it is about 12% carbohydrates, 80% fats and 6-8% protein. It would have about 354 Kcals. Contains low sodium but is high in Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Potassium. Also contains calcium, iron, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. Coconut water is often used to rehydrate following exercise or gastroenteritis due to its good complement of available minerals. Coconuts also contain Vitamins B, C, E and K and phytosterols that can help lower high Cholesterol and Triglycerides.
Coconut Oil for Beauty and hygiene
- Hair conditioner
- Skin moisturiser also lessen age spots
- Make-up remover
- mild sun screen and treatment for sunburn
- Lip Balm
- Nails and cuticles
- Skin scrub when sea salt added, rub over skin and then shower off.
- Nappy rash
- Toothpaste and gum health
- shaving cream
So along with other healthy fats like Olive Oil which is about 76% Mono-unsaturated Fat and Avocados you really should incorporate Coconut Oil into your diet and 1-2 oz a day for normal use and up to 4oz for treating Alzheimer’s.
As I am Gluten and Dairy free I love to add a little Coconut oil to my black coffee in the morning and it really gives me a mental and physical boost without raising my blood sugar excessively. I also use it in baking, for sweet potato chips and as an alternative spread to butter. Because it has become so popular there are loads of recipes out there and I use Pinterest to save my favourites.