Virgin coconut oil is a very stable, saturated fat that comes from the white meaty part of the coconut fruit. Coconuts come from coconut palm trees, which grow abundantly in the tropics and subtropics. The fruit yields a variety of products, all of which are beneficial to human health.
Coconut is a major source of the medium-chain saturated fatty acids, which are much easier to digest since no bile from the gallbladder is needed. If you are just starting out eating more fat, try beginning with coconut products. They will be easier on your digestive system.
The health benefits of coconut are impressive. They include but are not limited to:
- better immunity to infections
- better digestion
- relief from kidney problems
- lowering of high blood pressure
- stabilization of blood sugar in diabetics
- reduced inflammation
- increasing bone strength
The benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. These fatty acids are known to be antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial. These substances help the body kill pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and protozoa.
Lauric acid is a major component of human breast milk and helps newborns fight off infections. For this reason, coconut oil has been added to commercial infant formula so that lauric acid is present to help newborns survive. Adults can get lauric acid from only three sources: butterfat, coconut and palm oil.
Here’s a recent study that confirms the anti-microbial properties of coconut products.
And another study shows how virgin coconut oil can help children overcome pneumonia.
Because the oil from coconuts is highly saturated, it gets a pass from those who believe saturated fat causes heart disease. In reality, the virgin form of this fatty substance may be one of the most useful to prevent heart disease because of its antiviral and antimicrobial characteristics. Coconut consumption helps reduce inflammation in the body. Recent studies are revealing that inflammation is a major factor in heart disease.
Mary Enig, Ph.D. writes: “There is another aspect to the coronary heart disease picture. This is related to the initiation of the atheromas that are reported to be blocking arteries. Recent research is suggestive that there is a causative role for the herpes virus and cytomegalovirus in the initial formation of atherosclerotic plaques and the reclogging of arteries after angioplasty. (New York Times 1991)
What is so interesting is that the herpes virus and cytomegalovirus are both inhibited by the antimicrobial lipid monolaurin, but monolaurin is not formed in the body unless there is a source of lauric acid in the diet. Thus, ironically enough, one could consider the recommendations to avoid coconut and other lauric oils as contributing to the increased incidence of coronary heart disease.”
Does Coconut Oil Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease?
I recently read an article that discussed how the daily consumption of virgin coconut oil helped a man with Alzheimer’s disease regain some awareness and more normal function. The man’s wife, Mary Newport, is a medical doctor with an office in Spring Hill, Florida. Click here to read the entire article.
Coconut Products I Use
I use a product called Coconut Cream Concentrate on a daily basis. It consists of organic coconut meat that has been ground into a fine creamy consistency and it tastes fantastic. I eat it right from the jar for most days. It’s a good way to get coconut into your diet if you don’t like the texture of pure coconut oil.
I also use the virgin form of the oil for any sauteing that I do for meals. I mix it with butter or olive oil, and it imparts a nice flavor to the food.
Be careful about buying “organic” coconut oils at cheap retailers such as Walmart. Walmart, in particular, has been investigated for marking non-organic products with an organic label.
Note that it’s important to make sure that you buy organic, non-hydrogenated coconut products. The Weston A Price Foundation, which maintains a shopping guide of true organic brands, recommends buying these brands:
- Aloha Nu
- Beyond A Century
- Blue Breeze
- Body Ecology
- Garden of Life
- Jungle Products
- Mountain Rose Herbs
- Nature’s Blessing
- Tropical Traditions
- Wilderness Family Naturals
- Siberian Tiger Naturals.
More Information about Coconut Products
- Bruce Fife, N.D., an expert in this area, sites the benefits of coconut products here.
- Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s this website has a great deal of information on this subject.
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D. This book offers a weight loss program based on traditional foods and coconut products in particular.
- Organic Facts has some information here.