Organic coconut oil is getting a huge amount of attention lately. The mainstream media can't say enough about coconut oil, celebrities and natural health advocates are all over it. The strange part is that the focus of all this attention seems to be on its uses as a beauty and skin care product, washing hair and cosmetic uses in general.
This is all media fluff and in this page the discussion will strictly be on its real health benefits.
At first glance, coconut oil appears to be something that should be avoided. After all it's rich in saturated fats which for decades have been condemned as contributing to all kinds of horrible diseases including Alzheimer's, heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. As is usually the case, the establishment was wrong.
It turns out not all saturated fats are created equal and there's no better essential fatty acid and antioxidant than those that come from the hairy, tropical coconut.
Half the fat in coconut oil is a naturally occurring fat called lauric acid that converts to a form known as monolaurin that has anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits. It makes one wonder if anyone has examined this fat as a possible antibiotic for those nasty antibiotic resistant bacteria strains. Well, actually they have.
Recent articles have reported the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in our homes now, notably counter tops, cutting boards and sponges. The recommended fix is to throw the sponges out and wipe down your cutting boards and counter tops with coconut oil.
The problems with the early research into coconut oil were that the researchers used a partially hydrogenated coconut oil because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their test animals in order to obtain the needed data. Partial hydrogenation of a fat creates those dangerous trans fats and damages or destroys the good essential fatty acids in the process.
Virgin, with the stress on virgin, organic coconut oil which has not been processed or chemically treated is a whole different ball game. Organic is just what it says, no contamination from pesticides, chemicals or harmful processing.
As of February 2013, if one were to go to Pubmed and use the keywords "coconut oil research", 937 separate studies will be brought forth. Now in August 2016 it is up to 1,040 studies and growing.
Even a cursory scan of the research titles will reveal implications for learning and memory, cardiovascular disease, tumor reduction, immunity, inflammation, cholesterol and many more. Concerning diabetes, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, reported that animal studies showed that a diet containing coconut oil reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by protecting against insulin resistance and retarding the buildup of body fat.
Alzheimer's disease apparently shows remarkable improvement when coconut oil is introduced into the diet on a regular basis. This 5.45 minute YouTube video courtesy of CBN.com is a great story about what one couple experienced from using coconut oil.
When consumed, the lauric acid in organic coconut oil is converted into monolaurin which is a monoglyceride that can destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, flu, measles as well as the protozoa that cause giardia lambia and gram-negative bacteria.
Gram-positive or gram-negative merely refers to the staining process used to identify various types of bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics due to their having a fairly impermeable outer fatty membrane.
The monolaurin's ability to destroy the fatty or lipid-coated membrane is what makes it so medically useful.
Organic coconut oil is easily digested and does not produce an insulin spike in the bloodstream; it could be said to be low glycemic. This is due to the fact that coconut oil's fatty acid is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) that can easily cross cell membranes. MCFA's are converted by the liver into energy and not stored as fat. So for a quick energy boost, take a spoonful of organic coconut oil or add it to food.
Another plus is that coconut never goes rancid like other fats. Tests on coconut oil that have been kept at room temperature for over a year have not shown any rancidity. The conclusion is that since the small amount of unsaturated fat in coconut oil would be expected to go rancid, it appears that the saturated oils contained in it have an antioxidant effect that prevents the product from going bad.
In wrapping up, consider the following list of assorted health benefits of organic coconut oil. As always, coconut oil, organic or not, has not been approved by the FDA for treating any particular disease condition so do your own research and don't try to self-medicate without the advice of a qualified medical doctor.
There are many more sources of information and the following short reference list will help getting started in your research.
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