The health benefits of coconut oil are real, and not just for candida.
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Let’s clear up a few false accusations against coconut oil, and then we’ll look at some of the health benefits of pure, virgin coconut oil, often referred to as "VCO".
For many years coconut oil has been named a culprit in cases of heart disease and high cholesterol, but that's incorrect.
First, some people mention laboratory studies when they claim that coconut oil raises cholesterol levels and/or promotes heart disease. Here’s the truth: Pure coconut oil contains no cholesterol and does not contribute to high cholesterol. Coconut oil is used in laboratory experiments on rats to study the effects of cholesterol in heart disease. But the coconut oil is not the bad guy here, it’s used as a carrier oil for oxidized (a.k.a. rancid) cholesterol, which is what causes the rats to develop atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Coconut oil is used in these lab tests simply because it's the best carrier oil for the oxidized cholesterol, but the same results would happen if olive oil were used, or canola oil, or sesame oil.
It’s the oxidized, damaged cholesterol that causes the heart problems (which, by the way, is a different form of cholesterol than what our bodies manufacture from carbohydrates, or what we get from wholesome, natural animal foods produced in cleanly-raised environments, which are very beneficial and necessary for good health).
Second, it’s important to realize that there is a big difference between types of coconut oil available, and that’s where more of the false health information has come from.
Hydrogenated coconut oil (and all hydrogenated oil) contains trans fats:
AVOID all hydrogenated oils.
Hydrogenated oils should not be consumed by anyone, ever, period. Unfortunately, the kind of coconut oil that has been used most often in commercial food preparations for the past few decades is hydrogenated coconut oil.
We’ve all heard the term “trans fats”, right? Hydrogenated oil is where you’ll find them. Trans fats do cause disease because their molecular structure is altered in such a way that we cannot utilize them properly, and so they end up being stored in the cells of our bodies, creating a host of problems.
But it's not the coconut's fault -- it's the addition of hydrogen to the oil that changes it into an unnatural, disease-causing substance.
A law was passed by the FDA in 2003, that requires food producers to list amount of trans fats on their nutrition label. Here is a quote from the FDA website:
“On July 9, 2003, FDA issued a regulation requiring manufacturers to list trans fatty acids, or trans fat, on the Nutrition Facts panel of foods and some dietary supplements.
With this rule, consumers have more information to make healthier food choices that could lower their consumption of trans fat as part of a heart-healthy diet. Scientific reports have confirmed the relationship between trans fat and an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Food manufacturers have until Jan. 1, 2006, to list trans fat on the nutrition label. FDA estimates that by three years after that date, trans fat labeling will have prevented from 600 to 1,200 cases of coronary heart disease and 250 to 500 deaths each year.” Source: www.fda.gov
Bottom line: Read those labels. If there is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients, or trans fat listed on the nutrition label, don’t buy it!
Pure coconut oil has been used for thousands of years by millions of people around the globe with no evidence of it causing heart disease, obesity, or any other ailment for that matter. Only when we began hydrogenating and fractionating these oils did they begin to create problems. It's so simple, really, when you stop and think about it!
Pure, unrefined ‘virgin’ coconut oil (which has not been bleached, refined, deodorized and/or hydrogenated) is one of nature’s treasures. The benefits of coconut oil in its natural state (as in - naturally extracted from a coconut and eaten in its pure form) are something you want to incpropate in this weird age of low-cholesterol, high trans fat, 'saturated-fats-are-evil' kind of food culture. It's expensive, but worth it! I buy it in bulk, it has a long shelf life and won't go rancid at room temperature. Use it daily and your body will thank you.
In most cases pure, unrefined raw coconut oil will not care weight gain. Some will even notice weight loss, yes you read that right, when switching from canola oil to unrefined coconut oil for cooking. The medium chain fatty acids (MFCA's) in coconut oil increase fat-burning in your body and increase the activity of the thyroid gland, effectively raising the metabolism. Instead, it's the larger long chain fatty acids (LCFA's) in other vegetable oils which are more difficult to process, therefore making them more likely to be stored as fat which tend to cause weight gain.
And of course, carbohydrates contribute to weight gain. Carbohydrates break down into sugars during digestion, thereby raising the glycemic levels (and causing insulin spikes) in the blood at such a rate that unless there is enough metabolic activity to burn off all those sugars, they get stored in the body until a time when they might be drawn back out into the bloodstream and burned as fuel.
Occasionally someone reports a slight weight gain when they begin adding pure coconut oil to their diet, but then the weight returns to normal, as their bodies adjust to the new source of fuel. The MCFA's in coconut oil help satiate the appetite and keep you feeling fuller, longer, so another benefit of coconut oil is that it can actually help with weight loss, especially in combination with a reduction in the amount of carbohydrates taken.
Benefits of coconut oil for candida and other immune-deficiency diseases:
Coconut oil is naturally anti-fungal, so it’s a perfect yeast-fighter. Eating coconut oil helps fight the yeast on the inside, and it can be used topically to relieve fungal/yeast symptoms on the outside as well. It's also anti-bacterial and anti-viral in nature, so eating it every day is an excellent boost for your immune system.
Benefits of coconut oil for the heart:
Did you know that the heart functions optimally when gets the majority of its energy from fat, preferably saturated fat?
When we do not consume optimal levels of good fats, including saturated fats and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA's) like those found in pure coconut oil, the heart must rely on more glucose for energy, and will not function as well. It's like the difference between giving a car "low-grade" gasoline and "super".
Benefits of coconut oil for digestion:
The fats in pure coconut oil help our bodies utilize the fat-soluble nutrients in our foods. When we add coconut oil to our vegetables we get more “bang for the buck” in the nutrient value of each bite! And it's easier to digest proteins when they are consumed with adequate amounts of good fats as well.
Benefits of coconut oil for infections:
You can use coconut oil in your ears when you feel an earache coming on, and it has been used to cure warts when applied topically - either by keeping the wart covered for a few weeks with band-aids saturated with the oil, or applying it frequently throughout the day. Use it in your nose to relieve dryness and help ward off infections, it's even safe to use in the eyes if you suffer from dry eyes, or when you feel a stye coming on.
Benefits of coconut oil in general:
Dr. Bruce Fife, one of the world's leading experts on coconut oil (also known affectionately as Dr. Coconut) has much to say about the benefits of coconut oil. For some more in depth reading on the subject check out this article from his very informative and well documented website.
Stock up when you see a good price - there are so many ways to enjoy the benefits of coconut oil, and it has a shelf life of at least two years, most often even longer.
Buy in bulk and save some money!
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