There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress the pancreas, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Also coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
In one word: economics. Beginning with a flawed study four decades ago, continuing through the 1950s, intensifying in the 1980s, and again in the 1990s, the misinformation about coconut oil has been promulgated by such economically motivated organizations as the American Soybean Association (ASA), the Corn Products Company (CPC International) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). They are aided by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many of whose key personnel are recruited from and return to the vegetable oil industry. Previously, coconut oil was widely used in baked goods and fried goods until their publicity campaigns, based on erroneous information, totally discredited coconut oil and caused its nearly complete elimination from the American diet.
The studies were done to show that coconut oil, and all saturated fats, were bad for one's health because they raised serum cholesterol levels. However, these studies were done on hydrogenated coconut oil, and all hydrogenated oils produce higher serum cholesterol levels, whether they are saturated or not. Recent research shows that it is the presence of trans fatty acids that causes health problems, as they are fatty acid chains that have been altered from their original form in nature by the oil refining process.
Although many studies at the time had also shown research to the contrary, the mud stuck and by the mid 60’s the reputation of all saturated oils in America had been destroyed.
Critical modern research is starting to show that dietary changes based on the evidence presented by these early studies were at the very least premature and at worst placed the health millions of people at risk. However, time will only tell whether the greatest crime of this initiative will have been the bundling of all saturated fats, whether from meat, dairy or vegetable source together under the one label: Deadly Diet.
The travesty of this action was that one of nature’s most amazing resources, tropical oils, and especially coconut oil with all its functional, nutritional and pharmaceutical possibilities, has been lost to modern medicine for decades.
Finally, after years of denial, The FDA and CSPI are now talking about the harmful effects of trans fatty acids, evidence of which has been accumulating since the 1950s. Nonetheless, they continue to disparage coconut oil and take no effective action to limit TFAs, which already have been banned in some European countries. TFAs will finally be listed on food labels, starting in 2006 — why has it taken them so long! TFA dangers have been known for decades and continue to cause disease! News items coming from the USDA and FDA still lump TFAs with saturated fats, which are natural and do contain nutrients vital for our bodies. The current FDA Consumer's Guide to Fats was last updated in 1999 and consistently warns against (all) saturated fats, while failing to mention any harmful effects of trans fatty acids.
How effective is this brainwashing? Many of you will not believe the facts on these pages and will continue to avoid coconut oil and coconut milk out of health concerns. Despite the proven benefits. We invite you to investigate further.
Researchers state that the optimal amount for an adult is between 3 and 4 tablespoons per day. This equates to the amount of medium chain fatty acids a nursing child would consume in one day from mother's milk. It is best to use coconut oil three times a day at meal times. I recommend that you begin with a smaller amount and build up to the recommended dosage if necessary.
thanks to Kiran Patil et al