Much like nuts and seeds, coconut oil has also had bad press, scaring people into excluding it from their diet and missing out on its wonderful health benefits. The story goes that, in the early and mid-1980s, that public became concerned that saturated fats could raise cholesterol levels. Taking advantage of their fear, the soybean industry took the opportunity to make a profit. They began a massive publicity campaign and spent millions convincing people of the dangers of saturated fats. They knew that if people believed all saturated fats where bad, they would begin consuming unsaturated fats (vegetable oils, like soya bean oil) in their place. The media campaign was so aggressive that it spread quickly and even today, many authors (who can’t be bothered to do their own research) use the false information produced by that campaign.
The truth is that if you want to prevent heart disease, coconut oil should be a part of your daily diet. It is a medium-chain triglyceride, which is small and is digested quickly. In fact, it does not even need digesting because as it enters the intestinal tract it is immediately absorbed into the blood stream and sent to the liver (bypassing bile metabolism). There it is used as a source of energy. Since coconut oil is used as an immediate source of fuel, it requires no energy to break it down and it does not circulate in the blood stream like other fats do. Therefore, it does not collect in fat cells or collect in artery walls as plaque. It also has cholesterol-reducing qualities, linked to its ability to thyroid function.
Since coconut oil it is used for energy and not stored as fat, it is a great weight loss aid. An amusing report in the 1940’s told of farmers attempting to use cheap coconut oil to fatten their animals, but instead founding that it made them lean, active and hungry.
Coconut oil contains 40% lauric acid, which has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity, thus benefiting many conditions such as ringworm, athlete’s foot and Candida infections. Applying coconut oil to the skin is excellent for dry and damaged skin. It heals cuts and burns quickly, leaving the skin soft and glowing.
The average sized adult should consume 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. Coconut oil can be enjoyed by adding it to a bowl of oatmeal, putting it in smoothies, spreading it on bread or even adding it to soups. It does not denature at high temperatures, making it the preferred oil to cook with.