Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Benefits of Raw Coconut Oil

The blog has already delved extensively into the benefits of coconut water and coconut milk. Since coconuts are sooooo nutritious, I wanted to offer a close look at the benefits of coconut oil -- a healthier alternative to the other oils that we cook and prepare food with.

What it is

Mature coconuts contain a high quantity of coarse protein and fiber. This fiber is cold-pressed to extract its healing oil. The oil that results has historically been used as both a food and a medicine. It is raw, saturated fat containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) which the body can metabolize efficiently and quickly turn into energy.

How it Works (if you don’t care, skip down to the benefits)
To comprehend why coconut oil is so beneficial, it's useful to understand what MCFA’s are. Firstly, fats are chains of carbon atoms (of varying lengths) surrounded by various quantities of hydrogen. The arrangement of hydrogen around a carbon chain determines its saturation. The more hydrogen, the more saturation, and the more stable the molecule. The length of the carbon chain in a given fat determines many of its properties (including how long it takes to digest it). Coconut oil is a highly saturated fat consisting primarily of MCFA's of 8 to 12 carbon atoms in length (for comparison, the saturated fatty acids in meats range from 14 to 24 carbon atoms in length). The shorter a particular MCFA chain, the less energy and enzymes required for the body to digest it. Therefore, coconut oil provides minimal strain on the body's digestive energy. [*By the way, don’t believe the hype about saturated fats being bad for you and raising your cholesterol/clogging arteries. In reality, studies show that arterial plaque is 75% cooked unsaturated fat and foreign cholesterol derived from eating animal products . . . not all saturated fat is bad for you -- generally just the fat from animal sources.]

Benefits . . .

Improving Digestion
Since coconut oil can be emulsified in digestion without burdening the liver or gallbladder, it provides energy more quickly than other fat sources. Therefore, people who suffer from poor digestion, especially liver and gallbladder trouble, would benefit from switching to coconut oil in cooking, and even from eating coconut oil straight up (the recommended daily intake is 1 to 4 tablespoons).

Enhancing Immunity
The particular MCFA's in coconut oil (caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid, and mystristic acid) are known to help the body’s defenses. All of these demonstrate amazing anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties (lauric acid has the greatest anti viral, and caprylic acid has the highest yeast-fighting power). The way that coconut oil fights off viruses and bacteria is basically by confusing them (their harmful microbes become unable to determine the location of their membranes in the presence of coconut oil…they then spill their genetic contents and become easy prey for your white blood cells to take them out).

Lowering Cholesterol
Coconut oil contains no cholesterol, and actually helps to lower cholesterol (it even outperforms cold-pressed olive oil in this category). The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil are a direct result of its ability to stimulate thyroid function. In this regard, it also helps to prevent heart disease, obesity, cancer and other diseases associated with degeneration.

Normalization of Blood Sugar
Shifting to coconut oil from other oils normalizes blood sugar levels. In this way such a shift can be helpful to persons with diabetic concerns. Click here for more info on how to use it with a view toward this purpose.

Curing Skin Deficiencies
Because the oil's antioxidant properties prevent destructive free-radical formation, coconut oil is also highly beneficial to the skin. When applied topically, it prevents and gets rid of acne, helps to get rid of dead skin, and gives skin a healthful glow. It also helps to keep connective tissues strong to prevent sagging and wrinkles.

Selection, Storage, and Cooking…
It goes without saying that 100% raw organic coconut oil is the one you should use. It's best to select oil that’s packaged in a dark-colored container or other container that doesn’t allow light to get into it. You can keep it in the fridge to keep it from melting if your house is warm (in its oiliest form coconut oil it’s hard to manage and you might end up using more than necessary-- and it’s not cheap stuff). However, it remains stable at room temperature for up to 2 years so this is a matter of personal preference. As far as cooking goes, vegans can use coconut oil as a direct substitute for butter in most baking recipes. It's also a great option if you must use oil in stovetop cooking, as its smoke emission level is above 170 degrees (much higher than other oils).


Penguin42 said...

Nice...people dont realize but some of the worlds greatest civilizations have know about this....Stay good yall!!!

Svetlana said...

I have a crush on this blog....kind of a guilty pleasure being vegan...all my friends are flesh eaters so the music and health stuff u guys post is soothing to the soul....

Anonymous said...

Nice blog as for me. It would be great to read something more concerning that theme. Thanks for sharing that info.
Sexy Lady
Escort services