Coconut Oil – A Bunch Of Reasons It Optimizes Health & Wellbeing

By Anne Edwards

Coconut oilMost of us have been conditioned to literally cringe at the mention of the words “saturated fat”. Images of heart disease, obesity and poor health are conjured with the very thought! However, not all saturated fats were created equal. There needs to be an unmistakable understanding that the saturated fat contained in coconut oil is very different in function to the saturated fat contained in animal fats. It is now known the unique saturated fat contained in coconut oil actually helps prevent and treat a number of serious diseases and contributes to overall good health.

Coconut Oil is composed predominately of a group of fat molecules known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). The majority of fats in the western diet, however, are composed almost entirely of long chain fatty acids (LCFA). The primary difference between MCFA and LCFA is the size of the molecule. Medium chain fatty acids are small enough to be absorbed directly into the blood stream in the same fashion as other nutrients are absorbed. However, long chain fatty acids are too large to be directly released into the bloodstream and must undergo a variety of complex transformations before they can be utilised. The other major difference is the cholesterol content; coconut oil does not contain cholesterol, while animal fats such as lard or butter contain significant amounts.

In brief, cholesterol is generally divided into two classes: HDL is known as ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have shown that coconut oil consumption increases HDL levels, hence, reducing the risk of heart disease. The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil are a direct result of its ability to stimulate thyroid function.

Most commercially available (mono, poly) unsaturated dietary oils either contain trans-fats or have the potential to mutate into them by heating these oils for long periods at high temperatures, as in deep-frying. These trans-fats are a more recent introduction into our daily diet and are highly detrimental to health and well-being. Trans-fats are developed when fatty acid chains are altered from their original form as found in nature, by the oil refining process. Partially hydrogenated oil such as margarine contains trans-fatty acids due to the process used to manufacture it. Just to make it a little clearer; trans-fats may be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated but NEVER saturated.

Including cold-pressed oils in the diet would be a far better alternative to trans-fat containing unsaturated oils, however, using coconut oil as the main source of dietary fat is THE best alternative by far. In many aspects the human body is amazingly precise and efficient, unfortunately it is not perfect. To our body edible fat is edible fat, whether it’s good for it or bad for it the body will use it anyway. Unfortunately we are not programmed to recognise any difference between a healthy natural fat and an unhealthy manufactured trans-fat or hydrogenated fat. Upon consuming these, what I call ‘hybrid fats’ (manufactured fats), the body has no idea they are not capable of performing the functions for which nature had intended them, and therefore can lead to disease. It is now an undisputable fact that the presence of trans-fatty acids in the diet is linked to a variety of serious health problems such as Cardio-Vascular Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Obesity, Liver Dysfunction and Infertility, to name a few.

On the other hand, saturated fats, particularly those of vegetable origin, play a number of very important roles in contributing to our overall health and wellbeing.

Coconut oil has been used for centuries by traditional communities of tropical regions as a vital source of food for health and general wellbeing. Fortunately for us, the secret of this health-giving oil has been generously passed to the rest of the world and hopefully the ignorance surrounding coconut oil will diminish over time.

So, why is coconut oil so good for you?
Below are a bunch of reasons it optimizes health and wellbeing:

  • The saturated fats in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and help fight various bacteria, fungi and parasites.
  • As it contains the antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, coconut oil strengthens the immune system.
  • Coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients.
  • Helps protect the body from harmful free-radicals that promote premature aging and other degenerative diseases.
  • Assists in relieving symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Assists in relieving symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Coconut oil protects against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • It helps fight harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
  • An excellent conditioner which also assists in the re-growth of damaged hair.
  • Helps prevent premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
  • Reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
  • By increasing metabolism, coconut oil is able to control weight gain.
  • As the small molecular structure of the oil allows for easy absorption through the skin, it is a great moisturizer and softener, giving the skin a soft, smooth texture.
  • Helps improves digestion and nutrient absorption.

Coconut oil has shown to be far superior compared to other vegetable oils for improving the nutritional status in malnourished people. Yes, even in our overindulgent society there are many people with malnutrition, thanks to the increase in factors such as poor quality fast foods and soil degradation leading to low quality vitamin content in fresh produce.

Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease because it is absorbed directly into the blood stream avoiding over-production of bile.

Other studies have clearly shown that traditional cultures who have significant amounts of coconut oil in their diet do not suffer from modern diseases, as seen in western cultures who heavily promote low-fat diets.

About the Author:

Anne Edwards has maintained an active interest in health for over 20 years. During this time she has been researching and finding natural remedies that actually work. She gained her broad knowledge base through necessity while battling a number of debilitating illnesses throughout her life. As she is a qualified Counselor, she also has a special interest in mental health issues.

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