Coconut oil for optimum health

Taken from the fruit portion of the seed off the coconut palm tree, coconut oil is one the most beneficial foods you can consume. In tropical regions where coconut oil or fat is a large portion of their caloric intake, people are much healthier and experience a much lower incidence of the modern diseases we do in the U.S. [1, 2]

There is an array of positive research published in the last few years showing the significance of coconut oil. [3] Coconut oil is classified as a “functional food” because of its health benefits that go far beyond its nutritional content. In fact, the coconut palm is so highly valued by Pacific Islanders as a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” [4]

Coconut oil is the most saturated of all fats. Saturated fat has three subcategories: short chain, medium chain and long chain. Coconut oil contains approximately 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Although recognized for its health benefits many centuries ago, it wasn’t until 40 years ago that modern medicine found the source to be MCFA. Remarkably, mother’s milk contains the same healing powers of coconut oil. [5]

The saturated medium chain lipid lauric acid, which comprises more than 50 percent of coconut oil, is the anti-bacterial, anti-viral fatty acid found in mother’s milk. [6] The body converts lauric acid into the fatty acid derivative monolaurin, which is the substance that protects adults as well as infants from viral, bacterial or protozoal infections. This was recognized and reported as early as 1966. [7]

Since the first half of the 19th century, infection has been implicated as a cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). [8] Researchers have been studying what causes the changes in the arterial wall. Professors Russell Ross and John Glomset formulated a hypothesis in 1973 about what causes CVD, concluding that CVD occurs in response to localized injury to the lining of the artery wall, which has been brought about by a number of things including viruses. [9, 10] The injury, in turn causes inflammation/infection. The plaque that develops is a result of the body trying to heal itself. It has been very well established that pathogens play an integral role in cardiovascular disease.

What is interesting about the role of viruses that have been found to initiate cardiovascular disease is they can be inhibited by the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil. One could say that consuming coconut oil decreases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sources of Coconut oil:
Only use organic virgin coconut oil. I am currently using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil. This oil is truly unrefined and made from organic coconuts. It contains a very high lauric acid content between 50 and 57 percent. I use between two and four tablespoons per day, which is what is recommended.

references:
1. Enig, Mary. “A New Look at Coconut Oil.” westonaprice.org. http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/coconut_oil.html

2. Rethinam, P. Muhatoyo. “The Plain Truth About Coconut Oil.” http://www.apccsec.org/truth.html

3. Enig, Mary. “Latest studies on coconut oil.” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts. Spring,2006;7(1).

4. “Coconut.” Coconut Research Center. http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

5. Kabara, Jon J. “Health Oils From The Tree of Life – Nutritional and Health Aspects of Coconut Oil.” http://www.coconutoil.com/John%20Kabara.pdf

6. Enig,Mary. Know Your Fats. Silver Spring: Bethesda Press, 2000

7. Lee, Lita. “Coconut Oil: Why is it Good for you.” Dec. 2001. coconut.com http://www.coconutoil.com/litalee.htm

8. Epstein, Stephen, et al. “Infection and Atherosclerosis.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2000;20:1417 http://atvb.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/20/6/1417

9. “Getting to the Heart of Atherosclerosis.” The UW Office of Research. http://www.washington.edu/research/pathbreakers/1973b.html

10. Furci, Michael. “Fats, Cholesterol and the Lipid Hypothesis.” www.bullz-eye.com.

  

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