Coconut seems to be one of those things people really love or really hate. If you’re a coconut lover like me you’ll want to keep reading. If you’re a coconut hater you’ll definitely want to keep reading! Forget about the taste or texture. There are lots of ways to get the benefits of coconut without the ick factors…and there are LOTS of benefits. Below is an article written by Dr. Jana Joshu , founder of the Middle Tennessee Center for Alternative Medicine , on the many benefits of coconut in all its forms. Enjoy!
Are You As NUTS About Coconuts as We Are?
By Dr. Jana Joshu
If you’re a patient of MTCAM, then you know how crazy we are about coconut oil and coconut products. Here you’ll learn why.
While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine.
Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food.
Coconut oil has been described as “the healthiest oil on earth.” That’s quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats?
The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.
The size of the fatty acid is extremely important. Why? Because our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size. So the physiological effects of MCFA in coconut oil are distinctly different from those of LCFA more commonly found in our foods. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids. Both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, milk, eggs, and plants (including most all vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA.
MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial.
There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils. So, now you know why we are nuts about coconuts!
· Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
· Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
· Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
· Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
· Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
· Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
· Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
· Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
· Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
· Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
· Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
· Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
· Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
· Helps protect against osteoporosis.
· Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
· Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
· Improves digestion and bowel function.
· Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
· Reduces inflammation.
· Supports tissue healing and repair.
· Supports and aids immune system function.
· Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
· Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
· Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
· Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
· Functions as a protective antioxidant.
· Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
· Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
· Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
· Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
· Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
· Reduces epileptic seizures.
· Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
· Dissolves kidney stones.
· Helps prevent liver disease.
· Is lower in calories than all other fats.
· Supports thyroid function.
· Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
· Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
· Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
· Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
· Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
· Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
· Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
· Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
· Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
· Provides protection form damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation form the sun.
· Helps control dandruff.