In Sanskrit, coconuts are called ‘Kalpa Vriksha’, which means ‘the tree that gives all that is necessary for living.’
I’ve been consuming coconut oil on a regular basis for about five months now, and I love it. Where I previously used extra virgin olive oil I mostly use coconut oil. It’s fabulous for cooking with, but as well as ingesting it you can use it topically for skin and hair. Coconut oil is such an all-rounder. Those tropical fuzzy brown balls really are the complete superfood…
I use Lucy Bee’s extra virgin organic coconut oil for cooking and Biona virgin organic coconut oil for skin and hair. Just before bed I usually slather it on my face and body, and it soaks in quite quickly, leaving your skin soft and smooth with a subtle tropical scent.
No wonder people who live in Asia and the Pacific Islands generally live so long and look so young; they are using nature’s nectar!
Coconut oil has been used for food and medicinal purposes for thousands of years, indigenous people learned it had enormous health benefits. It could well be the healthiest oil on earth.
The Saturated Fat Myth
You’ve probably heard or read that saturated fats are bad for you. In Western society the message has come over loud and clear: they clog your arteries, raise cholesterol, cause heart-attacks and more; but that’s just plain wrong! Not all fats are bad.
The devil of fats is actually man-made trans fats (from hydrogenated oils), the sort you find in most commercial oils and which are used to prolong shelf-life in many processed foods . Any time any oil is artificially hydrogenated it creates a molecular distortion of its fatty acids, converting them into trans-fats. The more unprocessed and raw foods you can include in your diet the better.
Unrefined coconut oil is a natural saturated fat as opposed to a man-made saturated fat. The saturated fats in organic virgin coconut oil are ESSENTIAL to good health (in moderate dosage), as part of a healthy diet. There are no harsh toxic chemicals being put into your body or onto your skin.
Dr. Bruce Fife (author of The Coconut Oil Miracle), talks about the benefits of coconut oil:
10 Reasons to use pure, organic, unrefined virgin Coconut oil:
- Skin care. It’s brilliant for many types of skin problems such as acne, dry and cracked skin, dermatitis, eczema, itchy skin (e.g. yeast infections such as candida albicans), oily skin, pathogens, psoriasis, infections, wound healing and for anti-ageing in prevention of wrinkles. Mixed with certain essential oils it can even be used as a bug repellent cream. The properties in coconut oil make it antibiotic, antifungal and antimicrobial. It’s completely natural and can be blended with other ingredients to make scrubs, facials and emollient treatments. Coconut oil works well as a carrier oil in conjunction with essential oils that are used in aromatherapy.
- Hair Care. As with skin, coconut oil can work wonders on dry, brittle, over heated and over treated tresses! Most over the counter treatments are a cocktail of toxic chemicals unless you know the brands that are completely free of parabens and sulfates. The Journal of Cosmetic Science published a study in 2003 where researchers found that coconut oil reduces protein loss in both healthy and damaged hair when used both before and after washing hair. It is an effective pre-wash treatment for damaged hair as the oil coats and protects the hair from water damage. The fatty acids enter the hair shaft and lock in the proteins, and it’s also a great de-tangler!
- Coconut oil contains MCTs – Medium-chain triglycerides. Why should you care about that? MCTs comprise about two thirds of the total composition of coconut oil. Other vegetable oils are made up of LCTs – Long-chain triglycerides, which are more complex than MCTs and are harder for the body to digest and break down into energy. MCTs enhance your body’s ability to convert fat to energy and are a healthy source of energy as they’re sent straight to the liver. MCTs as part of a healthy diet are not typically stored as fat.
- Lauric Acid (found in abundance in breast milk) forms around fifty percent of the MCTs in coconut oil. Your body converts lauric acid into Monolaurin, which has antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Hence coconut oil is a natural remedy for bacterial infections, yeast infections and athlete’s foot among other conditions. You don’t need to worry about bacteria building up resistance to coconut oil as you would with antibiotics prescribed by a GP because your body doesn’t recognise it as an ‘invader’ and won’t start to build up immunities against it. That’s one powerful natural antibiotic! Coconut oil contains roughly 6 to 8 grams of lauric acid per tablespoon. The secondary fatty acids are caprylic acid, capric acid and myristic acid.
- Aids your body with Vitamin E absorption. Whilst coconut oil does not have high levels of Vitamin E it has been shown to assist your body to absorb it in your diet. Vitamin E is a bit of a miracle worker. It helps with muscle growth, blocks polyunsaturated fats from oxidizing, helps to regenerate and repair damaged tissue and wounds, it’s an anti-oxidant that protects your cells from free radicals which are unstable molecules that can wreak havoc in the body, and it also promotes neurological health.
- Instant energy boost & weight loss. Because your body can easily digest coconut oil and utilises the MCTs much more quickly than other types of fatty acids it gives you an instant energy boost, and because it’s not stored as fat in the body you can keep your weight at healthy levels in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet. Obesity is usually quite rare in cultures that consume coconut oil.
- Controls cholesterol. Coconut oil promotes healthy HDL cholesterol levels and lowers the bad LDL cholesterol.
- A balanced metabolism. Current research is pointing to coconut oil being able to correct thyroid malfunction. The Alternative Daily Special Report: Coconut Oil Exposed.
- Coconut oil is stable at high temperatures. It’s great for cooking with and can be used for frying, roasting and baking. Coconut oil can also be used raw and unheated in soups, smoothies, or combined with vinegar, honey and olive oil to make a scrumptious salad dressing, for flavouring coffee, melted and drizzled over roasted vegetables, drizzled over rice, on baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, used to scramble and fry eggs, or spread on toast. There are a myriad of different recipies online and in books.
- Supports the immune system. The antiviral properties of coconut oil can help to fight off and lessen the severity of colds and flu. It can be taken as a supplement in warm tea to help alleviate sinus congestion, and externally when mixed with a little eucalyptus oil it can be rubbed on your chest as a natural decongestant.
To prolong the life of your coconut oil, keep it in a cool, dark environment away from heat, light and oxygen. Coconut oil is slow to oxidise and turn rancid when kept this way.
There isn’t a recommended daily intake amount for coconut oil but some health experts advise taking 2 to 3 tablespoons per day.
No wonder diseases such as cancer and diabetes are on the rise. In our increasingly polluted environment our bodies are continually assaulted by the elements, man-made chemicals and from processed and genetically modified food, so it makes sense to protect them with nature’s nectar!
It may not be an instant magical elixir that will cure all your ailments or help you to lose weight overnight, but I do know what it has done for me, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
“He who plants a coconut tree plants food and drink, vessels and clothing, a home for himself and a heritage for his children” ~ South Seas saying