There is a growing body of scientific research that conclusively points to the fact that coconut oil and coconut milk is healthy for humans. Despite widely held misapprehensions about coconut oil being a saturated fat, more and more people are discovering the health benefits of using coconut oil in cooking, as a health supplement and as an aid to better skin.
Firstly I will briefly introduce some of the ground breaking studies conducted that clearly show the coconut oil is good for you and then I will look at some of the health benefits of coconut oil
In 1987 Lim-Sylianco published a 50 year literature review documenting experiments on laboratory rats. The rats were given injections to induce colon and breast cancer. Half the rats were fed on corn oil and the other half were fed on coconut oil. Among the corn oil eating rats 32% developed cancer whereas only 3% of the rats fed on coconut oil developed cancer.
South Pacific Islands
A Prior, F Davidson, CE Salmond, Z Czochanska. “Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Aug;34(8):1552-61.
For 20 years prior to the widespread introduction of Western food items to the 2 South Pacific Islands of Pukapuka and Tokelau the diets of the local inhabitants were studied and their health. The islanders had a diet that was virtually free of polyunsaturated fats and that consisted of up to 60% coconut fat. The study clearly showed that the people were lean and healthy. Rates of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes were very low. The report concluded that:
Vascular disease is uncommon in both populations and there is no evidence of the high saturated fat intake having a harmful effect in these populations.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat that stimulates the thyroid gland. A hyperactive thyroid gland is the bodys best defense against cancer. It also helps to convert blood cholesterol to into the anti-aging steriods pregnenolone, progresterone and DHEA.
The same is the case with the Inuit People of Greenland who traditionally have a diet composed nearly entirely of saturated fat from their fish diet. Rather than suffering from high blood cholesterol it was found that as with the populations of Pukapuka and Tokelau the Intuit People are healthy and cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are nearly unheard of.
The thyroid gland is the key to good health and the fact that the saturated fat in coconut oil and coconut milk help to promote thyroid activity has led to the possible connection between preventing HIV turning into AIDS and the use of coconut oil in the diet.
Lauric acid is the main acid in coconut oil. It is a medium chain fatty acid or medium chain triglyceride. Lauric acid is also found in human breast milk. Lauric acid has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that the mother passes onto the infant via breast milk to protect the child. You can enjoy the same protection against disease by including organic or extra virgin coconut oil in your diet.
Vitamin E and Lactose Intolerance
Including coconut oil, coconut water or coconut milk in your diet is a great way to avoid vitamin E deficiency. It is for this reason that coconut oil and coconut milk are frequently used in beauty treatments.
Coconut milk contains calcium and other minerals essential for a healthy body, especially a growing body. For people unable to take dairy products either because of an allergy or a conviction, coconut milk makes a good substitute for milk or yoghurt. It is much better as a health food than soy milk.
Coconut Oil and Alzheimers Disease
There is no official cure or effective treatment for Alzheimers Disease. It is estimated that 4 million people in the USA suffer from the disease. The disease takes 15 years to become diagnosed in many cases.
New research has shown that regularly eating coconut oil can not only prevent Alzheimers disease from developing but can also reverse the effects of the disease. The efficacious nature of coconut oil is down to the fact that Alzheimers disease is a malady of the brain. The brain contains 25% of all the cholesterol found in the body. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil provide the energy needed to keep the brain cells alive. To find out more read coconut oil treatment for Alzheimers disease.
How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Some people prefer to take a spoon of virgin coconut oil every day to enjoy the benefits of coconut oil. While others like to cook with coconut oil and coconut milk. Both are acceptable ways to ingest coconut oil.
Coconut milk tastes great in smoothies and is a suitable dairy product substitute. Coconut milk contains about 17% fat and eating coconut milk is a good way to enjoy the benefits of coconut oil. Coconut milk is widely used in cooking for curries, soups and deserts. There is a plethora of dishes to try that use coconut milk.
Coconut oil has a pleasing aroma and taste. It is great for cooking. Coconut milk is a very popular ingredient in South East Asian cuisine. It is very easy to find coconut milk in supermarkets nowadays. Coconut milk contains coconut oil and is a good way to get coconut oil in your diet.
It should be remembered that only extra virgin or organic coconut oil is suitable for eating. Avoid RBD (refined, bleached, and deodorized) coconut oil. It is a cheap, mass produced coconut oil that is not suitable for human consumption. RBD coconut oil is odorless and tasteless and is used for cosmetic and industrial processes.