Lauren from Port Macquarie New South Wales, wrote:
“Dear Kurma, thanks for your website. It is very good reading. I was wondering about whether coconut oil would be a good item to add to my kitchen cupboard. I have heard good and bad things about it, and I am confused. What do you think?”
“Hello Lauren, here’s some interesting information about the coconut and it’s products. I think you will find it enlightening”.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known for being anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal. Coconut oil is also being used by thyroid sufferers to increase body metabolism, and to lose weight. Virgin coconut oil is also used for making natural soaps and other health products, as it is one of the healthiest things one can put on their skin.
At one time coconut oil received negative press because of its high level of saturated fat. However, modern research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike and that the fatty acids in coconut oil, the medium chain triglycerides, do not raise serum cholesterol or contribute to heart disease, but are in fact very healthy.
Also, some negative studies done on coconut oil in the past was done on hydrogenated coconut oil, which has been altered from its original form. Other studies have clearly shown that traditional Asian cultures that eat significant amounts of coconut in their diet do not suffer from modern diseases seen in western cultures that promote a low-fat diet.
Longitudinal section through a coconut (left) and plan view of stone (right): 1- thin, yellow-brown, watertight outer skin (exocarp) 2 – thick, fibrous middle layer (coconut fiber, coir, mesocarp) 3 – hard inner layer, the stone (endocarp) 4 – white, oily copra layer, 1 – 2 cm thick (solid endosperm) 5 – cavity filled with coconut milk (liquid endosperm) 6 – embryo, 7 – “eyes” (3 germ pores set in pits)
Much research on the nutritional and medicinal benefits on coconut oil has surfaced in recent years. Much of that research has been done by Dr. Mary Enig. Dr. Enig has classified coconuts as a “functional food,” which provides health benefits over and beyond the basic nutrients. She has specifically identified lauric acid as a key ingredient in coconut products:
“Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body.
Monolaurin is the anti-viral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.”
As a “functional food,” coconut oil is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against immune diseases. Several studies have been done on its effectiveness, and much research is currently being done on the incredible nutritional value of pure coconut oil.
Posted by Kurma on 4/7/08; 2:23:31 AM