Cuckoo for Coconuts

November 1, 2011

By johnmac

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I love, love, LOVE anything coconut! I love eating raw coconut meat, drinking coconut water, using shredded coconut in baking, using coconut milk in soups and curries – but my favourite coconut product is also the one that offers the biggest health benefits – coconut oil. In fact, I am cuckoo for coconut oil!

Coconut oil has had a bad rap in the past because it is a highly saturated fat and saturated fats are commonly associated with all kinds of health problems; however, emerging research is shedding a different light on saturated fats. Not all saturated fats are evil and some of them (particularly coconut oil) offer some pretty amazing health benefits.

Healthy fats have critical roles in our body and in our overall health. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t making very healthy choices when it comes to fats due to all of the misinformation out there about them. In my one-hour workshop, The Skinny on Fats, I get into quite a bit of detail regarding fat imbalances and deficiencies that most of us have and offer suggestions on how to correct them. (If you are interested in attending or would like to organize a group presentation of this workshop, please contact me for information).

What I want to focus on for the purpose of this tip is that a fat’s health benefits aren’t simply related to whether or not it’s saturated, but also to the length of its fatty acid or triglyceride chains.

You’ve likely heard the terms saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated as ways to classify fats. But fats can also be classified another way – by the length of their fatty acid or triglyceride chains, e.g. short chain triglycerides (SCTs), medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and long chain triglycerides (LCTs). Each of these has important effects on our health.

Most of the fats and oils we eat are composed predominantly of LCTs. Coconut oil is unique because it is composed of predominantly MCTs. Interestingly, one of coconut oil’s MCTs is a substance called lauric acid. Why is this interesting? It’s because the other place in nature where we find high levels of lauric acid is in breast milk, which is known to be highly nourishing and immune-boosting for babies, providing protection from harmful bacteria, viruses, fungal infections and parasites.

The high amount of MCTs in coconut oil is a pretty big deal because they have some very impressive properties, with my three favourite being:

Immune-boosting and anti-microbial (e.g. anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic)
Easily digested and quickly absorbed for energy
Promotes weight loss by boosting metabolism and burning body fat
The positive health implications of these three properties are so widespread, it would take me hours to share them all with you, so I’ll just talk about the one I have had the most experience with, which is promoting weight loss.

Here are two excerpts from the book The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife:

“Studies show that after eating a single meal containing MCTs, metabolism remains elevated for at least 24 hours. So when you eat a meal with coconut oil, your metabolism will increase and remain elevated for at least 24 hours. During this entire time, you will have a higher level of energy and be burning calories at an accelerated rate.”

“Researchers at McGill University in Canada have found that if you replace all the oils in your diet that are made of long-chain triglycerides such as soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil and the like, you can lose up to 36 pounds of excess fat a year.”

In their book Eat Fat Lose Fat, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon suggest that a sure-fire way to promote weight loss is to consume some coconut oil 20 minutes before every meal, as by the time you eat, coconut’s hunger satisfying effect will be in full force. Consuming healthy fats such as coconut oil will help keep your appetite and cravings in check. When we are deficient in healthy fats, we often crave sugary, unrefined carbs, which we all know is not healthy.

These books offer loads of great information on coconut oil, including supporting research, how much you should take, suggestions on how to get enough of it into your meals and snacks in order to realize its benefits as well as some great recipes. You can purchase these books (and other great books that separate fat facts from myths) here (scroll down to Recommended Books and DVDs).

As with most things, you get what you pay for – and coconut oil is no exception. I’ve researched and tried dozens of brands and my very favourite is one from a Canadian company called Quality First International (Quality First….pretty much sums it up!).

What’s so great about this brand of coconut oil? Here are just a few things that I’ve learned from the company’s literature [my comments added]:

  • Extra-virgin & biologically pure [not all brands are]
  • Superior quality re: taste, texture, aroma & colour [amazing delicate texture, taste, smell]
  • Processed by cold centrifuge [some brands use heat which can damage the oil]
  • Non-GMO [not genetically modified – a growing concern to our health]
  • Non-Generic – unlike generic virgin oils, has a unique balance of capric, caprylic and lauric acids for optimum health effects [capric/caprylic acids fight candida/bad bacteria overgrowth]
  • No chemicals, fermentation, boiling, roasting or unsanitary ‘village’ drying
  • FAIRLY FAIR TRADE – direct to farmers, no third party, no child labor [all important to me]
  • Raw from fresh organic coconut milk [not all brands are]
  • Highly stable with indefinite shelf life of 3+ years (the only one tested)
  • Well balanced medium chain fatty acids [MCTs]
  • Higher antioxidant, anti-septic and anti-fungal properties than other brands
  • Excellent for cooking, even at higher temperatures
  • Excellent for internal, external and in formulation usages [the only thing I use on my skin!]
  • Produced with commitment to environmental and rural development

Whew! That’s a lot of benefits!

Coconut oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated and it has a 3+ year shelf life so you can take advantage of cost savings by buying large containers. Once you try it, I’m certain you’ll want to include it in many of your meals and snacks. It’s delicious in smoothies, in salad dressings, as a spread, in cooking and baking, in soups, curries and stir fries, mashed into sweet potatoes, melted into hot cereals….I could go on and on! You’ll also love it as a moisturizer, make-up remover, dry hair and scalp treatment, as a bath or massage oil, as a lip balm and to soothe and heal all kinds of skin irritations (e.g. cuts & scratches, insect bites, rashes, dry skin).

I am thrilled that I can now offer Quality First’s superior Virgin Oil de Coco-Crème coconut oil to you in two amazing economical sizes: 1.8 kg (1/2 gallon) for $55 and 3.8 kg (1 gallon) for $90.

Once you try it, I bet you’ll be cuckoo for coconut oil too!

Enjoy,

Anna

References

http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

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