Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Coconut Oil is #1

Have you ever bought a coconut at the grocery store? No, not the brown furry ones, the white roundish smooth ones with a sort of dome on top. These are young Thai coconuts, and they are truly a superfood.

Several decades ago, cattle farmers in the mid-western states decided to feed their cattle coconut-based feed. The idea was that this saturated fat-based food would cause the cattle to get all fat and lazy and produce the effects desired by the cattle farmers. Instead, a few weeks into it, the cattle were showing the opposite effects----they were becoming lean and very active. The cattle farmers quickly switched to soy and corn-based feed and then got the fat lazy cattle they wanted. (There is also another discussion relevant to this, involving the unfounded bad rep of saturated fats--for a later post)

What does this mean?
1. Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, however, it is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs). Digestion of MCTs is nearly effortless and they are not stored in the cells as other saturated fats are.
2. After consuming MCTs, the liver almost immediately converts MCTs to energy. MCTs are easier on the liver, pancreas, and digestive system than other fats.
3. Coconut oil does not become rancid easily (it has been tested after a year, and still no sign)
4. Coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antiprotozoal, and antifungal
5. Coconut oil helps with normalization of body lipids, protects against alcohol damage in the liver, and helps improve the immune system's anti-inflammatory response

What to look for:
1. Virgin Coconut Oil (It doesn't have to be organic, but it usually will be!)
2. On the label it must say it has 60% or more MCTs---if it doesn't, the oil is processed and the MCTs have been removed

What to do with it:
1. Cook with it---coconut oil can be heated to a very high temp without becoming a trans fat
2. Bake with it---substitute it 1:1 for any other oil or fat
3. Add it to soups or other recipes
4. Use it as body lotion (out of a different container than that with which you cook, please)
5. Eat it straight out of the container (!) or use in place of butter on toast or anywhere else

What it will do for you:
1. Help regulate metabolism (i.e. speed it up)
2. Help with minor thyroid dysfunction
3. Increase energy levels and endurance
4. Helps with digestion and reduce symptoms of acid reflux, IBS, and ulcerative colitis
5. Fight bacteria and infections, including STDs (but it won't prevent them)!
6. Decrease cholesterol and blood pressure
7. Relieve stress
8. Improve hair, skin, and nails
9. It's high level of antioxidants helps fight aging and free-radicals
10 Helps control blood sugar
11. Promotes healthy teeth and bones
12. ....Many many more

Things you should know:
1. It's solid at room temperature (melts at around 77 degrees)
2. The recommended amount per day for maximum benefits is 3-4 TBSP
3. It doesn't taste like coconut!
4. If you're going to buy your own young coconuts and consume it that way (great!), you need to read the instructions on how to open it --- so you don't chop off or injure your hand :) There are many options--just be careful! Google it or check out one of these: http://thenaughtyvegan.com/youngcoconut.htm or http://vegetarian.about.com/od/cookingtipstools/ss/youngcoconut_2.htm (p.s. I don't actually recommend doing this, but I know there are many benefits to it)
5. My favorite brand of coconut oil (so far) is Nature's Way

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/03/24/coconut-oil-part-one.aspx (you probably have to subscribe to read this one)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting information - thanks for the links too. I appreciate the resources you offer --- will definitely give it a try.