The word's getting out and the use of coconut oil is on the rise, and to meet the needs of modern cultures, a high-quality coconut oil that is made under modern sanitary conditions is now available. But regardless of the technique used to get the oil, coconut oil is remarkably beneficial and should be incorporated into everyone's diet.

Early studies of people who were still following the traditions before westernization included a careful analysis of the oil-eating habits of native people such as the residents of the islands of Pukapuka and Tokelau near New Zealand. The people ate only natural foods, especially coconut, which was part of nearly every meal. An average of 60 percent of their calories came from fat, mostly saturated fat from coconuts, as opposed to the 35 percent of fat-derived calories that people in western countries consume. Applying western standards to these people, we would expect their diet to result in many dietary-induced diseases, but in fact there were no signs of kidney disease or hypothyroidism, no high cholesterol readings, no atherosclerosis, heart disease, colitis, colon cancer, hemorrhoids, ulcers, diverticulosis, or appendicitis that we would normally associate with a high-fat diet. None of the above, and they had no digestive problems either. And despite having a very high saturated-fat diet, these people were lean and healthy, and as a whole had an ideal body mass index.

Researchers found later that coconut oil promotes weight loss because of the healthy medium chain fatty acids, which do not raise blood cholesterol; in fact, they don't even require cholesterol for transport in the blood. They don't circulate in the bloodstream like other fats either, they are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. Research also determined that medium chain fatty acids speed up the body's metabolism which in turn burns more calories and promotes weight loss. In fact, farmers use fattening, thyroid-suppressing unsaturated oils like corn, canola, and soy to force their stock to gain weight; when they tried cheaper coconut oil, the livestock became lean, active and hungry.

Research shows that in single doses, coconut oil reduces triglycerides 15 percent, while canola oil raises triglycerides by 47 percent. The most telling research shows that long-lived mammals fed more saturated oils live longer than mammals fed more unsaturated oils such as canola, corn, and soy. One main reason for that is saturated oils generally, and particularly coconut oil, is by far the lowest free radical-producing dietary oil, while the pourable oils like canola at once impose a huge free radical load that damages internal organs and creates a biological imbalance in both man and beast.

According to the Ayurvedic classics, coconut oil nourishes the body and increases strength, Michigan State University professor Emeritius and consultant to private industries J Kabara said. The oil was also valued for its antimicrobial properties. Different preparations of this oil promote luxurious hair growth and protect the skin from bacterial, protozoal, and viral infections. Fresh coconut oil is wholesome to the heart and relieves skin troubles, and also has a pronounced anti-yeast effect.

Initial trials have confirmed that coconut oil or purified monolaurin has an anti-viral effect that reduces the viral level in HIV-AIDS patients to undetectable vallues, University of the Philippines, Emeritus professor of pharmocology Conrato S Dayrit said. A minimum of 50 ml of coconut oil would contain 20 to 25 grams of lauric acid, which indicates that the oil is metabolized in the body to release monolaurin which is an antibiotic and an antiviral agent. Among the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has the maximum antiviral activity, he said. These monolaurins also have profound use in cosmetics and is now appearing to be effective for dental caries, peptic ulcers, benign prostatic hyperplasia, genital herpes, and hepatitis C, said Dayrit.

Based on this research, the first clinical trial using monolaurin as monotherapy on some of the HIV patients was conducted recently. Fifteen patients were given nearly 50 ml of coconut oil for a period of six months. By the end of the first three months of trials viral levels of seven patients had gone down and by the sixth month viral counts in the others had gone down substantially, he said.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

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