Did you know that coconut oil may be one of the best things you can eat to protect against heart disease? That coconut oil does not increase blood cholesterol levels and that because it stimulates metabolism may in fact, promote lower cholesterol? Perhaps you have been led to believe that coconut oil being a saturated fat is a dietary villain and to be avoided – replaced with low fat /no fat margarine (which by the way without colouring is black, never needs refrigerating because its so close to plastic it can’t go mouldy and your body can’t break it down!)
Coconut oil has received a really bad press over the last few years, often condemned as containing ‘artery-clogging’ saturated fat. But many facts say otherwise. Studies on people living in tropical climates with a diet high in coconut oil, show that they are healthier and have fewer incidences of heart disease, cancer, digestive complaints, and prostate problems. Whereas here in the West – with our diets high in hydrogenated vegetable oils, and low in coconut products these diseases are all on the rampage.
When coconut oil is eaten our amazing bodies transform the unique fatty acids into a powerful antimicrobial force able to defeat some of the most notorious disease-causing microorganisms. The unique properties of coconut oil make it a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal food.
These fatty acids that make coconut oil so effective against germs are the same ones that nature has put in mothers milk to protect her child. Most fats that we eat, if we do not use as an energy source, are stored as fat tissue in our bodies. Coconut oil being made up of medium chain fatty acids are broken down and used predominately for energy production and seldom end up as fat in the body. They therefore do not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol and help protect against heart disease. Coconut oil, along with butter and ghee is one of the safest oils to cook with, due to the fact that it is high in saturated fat, extremely stable and can be used to cook at high temperatures without oxidising and causing cellular damage.
Wow! Coconut is so amazing!
Someone once said to me ‘don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t be prepared to eat’ – at the time I thought that was a bit extreme. But now, knowing about the amazing healing properties of coconut oil both outside and in – it seems to be the perfect skin treatment too.
It can be put on fungal skin infections, ie athletes foot, eczema, psoriasis, dry, sensitive skin. It can be used as a sunscreen – without the horrid carcinogenic ingredients that are in so many branded ‘sun protection’ products. With the added bonus of not blocking the wonderful Vitamin D that the sun provides, and that these products block.
Just think of those beautiful Polynesian people with their soft, youthful appearance, in the hot sun all day and not a wrinkle in sight!!
Use it as a lip balm, hand, body/face moisturiser and even on hair. Using coconut oil as a hair conditioner can help to control dandruff. Just a couple of teaspoons of the oil massaged into the hair and left either overnight or for a couple of hours and then washed off can work wonders!
Just a note to say that I am referring to organic virgin coconut oil which is unrefined, pure and delicious!
By Fiona Campbell Nutrition