In this Issue:
Is Coconut Oil Healthy?
Because coconut oil is mostly saturated fat, it's reasonable to ask, "Is coconut oil healthy?" The truth might surprise you. Coconut oil is actually one of the healthiest fats around.
Is Coconut Oil Healthy?
With a few exceptions, coconut oil seldom shows up on any list of foods that are generally recommended as part of a healthy diet. More commonly, nutritionists recommend that coconut oil should be avoided, and fats in general kept to a minimum.
Even "alternative" health sources like Dr. Andrew Weil do not recommend regular consumption of coconut oil. Dr. Oz gives it an OK, but doesn't promote its virtues much beyond that. The Mayo Clinic is rather lukewarm about coconut oil as well. Why is this? Is coconut oil really not good for you?
The reason for this thinking is that coconut oil is primarily saturated fat, and saturated fats have been blamed for the epidemic levels of heart disease that we see today.
Everyone "knows" that a diet full of fatty foods and cholesterol is the principle cause of heart disease today, don't they?
Let's take a look at how scientists and nutritionists came to this assumption.
The Myth of the
Saturated Fat-Heart Disease Connection
The "lipid hypothesis" of heart disease was proposed by a researcher named Ancel Keys in the late 1950's, and has been considered the accepted standard ever since. Based on Dr. Keys' conclusions, there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease.
As it turns out, Dr. Keys' study was significantly flawed. He extracted only the data that supported his conclusion, and omitted data that conflicted with it. A quick look at the recent statistics for heart disease clearly demonstrates the fallacy of the saturated fat theory.
Before 1920, coronary heart disease was extremely rare. This despite the fact that people commonly ate a diet full of high-fat foods like butter, lard, beef, bacon, whole milk and cheese, etc.
However, by the 1950's, the rate of heart disease had grown so dramatically that it became the leading cause of death among Americans. The rate of heart disease has continued to climb since then. Today, it causes about 40% of all deaths in the United States. If heart disease is a result of dietary saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase of saturated fat in the American diet.
In fact, it's been just the opposite. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and annual butter consumption dropped from 18 pounds per person to just 4 lbs. From the 1930's until today, dietary cholesterol intake in the U.S. has increased only one percent.
Did anything else change dramatically in the standard American diet since that time that might give us another clue? Well, the population switched from consuming saturated fats to more polyunsaturated fats instead, at the recommendation of heart "experts" who blamed saturated fat for the increases in heart disease.
We now consume four times as many vegetable oils as we did back then, and heart disease is still the number one cause of death. Consumption of sugar and processed foods has also increased about 60 percent. These are the foods that are now finally being recognized as contributing to the epidemic of heart disease we see today.
The truth is that the primary reason that the saturated-fat theory is still prevalent today is because pharmaceutical companies promote this theory in order to sell more cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Maybe the World's Healthiest Fat?
Now that we've debunked the saturated fat theory, we can look at coconut oil in a new light. What makes coconut oil a superior source of fat?
For one thing, there's a significant property of coconut oil that distinguishes it from other sources of saturated fat. Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides. Research has demonstrated that medium-chain fats in coconut oil actually protect against heart disease — and may one day even be used as a treatment to cure it! Most significant among these is lauric acid, a nutrient not found in any other source except mother's milk.
The saturated fats present in coconut oil have germ-fighting properties that help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Regular use of coconut oil reduces your risk of developing diabetes, and is effective in alleviating symptoms of diabetes.
Coconut oil is so healthy, some health practitioners recommend eating some every day, much like a nutritional supplement!
Discover More Benefits of Coconut Oil
Cooking with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is stable even during long periods of storage, and needs no refrigeration. Because its melting point is 76° F, it can be used in both liquid or solid forms. It has a neutral flavor that makes it ideal for use in frying, cooking and baking.
Here are just a few suggestions:
- use it in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil, shortening or butter
- as a healthy butter replacement on bread or vegetables
- coconut oil is the best oil for making popcorn
- add a tablespoon to your oatmeal when cooking, for a creamier, richer flavor
- try eating coconut oil right out of the jar for a quick burst of energy, without creating a spike in your blood sugar levels.
I like to add coconut oil to my smoothies — it gives them a rich, creamy texture, and keeps me feeling satisfied for hours. See my page on How to Make Smoothies the Healthy Way where I reveal my secrets for creating incredibly-healthy smoothies.
Coconut Oil for
Beautiful Hair and Skin
Coconut oil is one of the most common natural ingredients found in shampoos and hair conditioning products today, for good reason. Coconut oil contains several different nutrients that keep your hair strong, protect it from the effects of aging, and make it healthier and shinier.
There's also no better oil for the skin than coconut oil. It smoothes and moisturizes, promotes skin elasticity, helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals. When coconut oil is absorbed into the skin and connective tissues, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep connective tissues strong and supple.
Coconut Oil for the Skin
Coconut Oil for Hair
Make Your Own Natural Toothpaste
with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil makes a great toothpaste ingredient; it has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, so it will also help keep your toothbrushes more sanitary. Combine it with baking soda and you've got a great tooth cleaner with no harmful chemicals or artificial ingredients, at a fraction of the price you pay for regular toothpastes.
Start with equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees F; warm it up and it will make the mixing easier. Add a bit of stevia powder and peppermint or other essential oil if you want to add some flavor.
Recommended Coconut Oil Products
There are several excellent organic coconut oils that I can recommend. Click on the links for more information on any one of them:
Jarrow | Garden of Life | Nutiva
If you want to take a look at a wider selection of coconut oil products, check out the Coconut Oil Store at iHerb.com. There's over 30 different name-brand coconut oil products to choose from.
Worthwhile Causes to Support
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) works to protect the public from harm due to toxic contaminants. Their website has lots of great information that will help you identify the threats from toxins and make it easy for you to voice your opinion on environmental issues to your congressman and other policy-makers.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a grassroots, non-profit public interest organization that promotes and supports organic agriculture and addresses issues related to it, including food safety, food politics and GM technology.
The OCA is actively working to stop Monsanto from spreading GM agriculture around the world and gaining control of the world food supply. You can sign up here to support their campaign, Millions Against Monsanto.
The Institute for Responsible Technology is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about genetically modified (GM) foods and crops. Founded in 2003 by international bestselling author and GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, the IRT works to mobilize citizens, organizations, healthcare professionals and the media to discover the truth about GM foods.
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