We have some ongoing humor in the natural health industry and it’s intended as a consequence to successful educational campaigns for one of the best oils on Earth–coconut oil. There are now so many people who are fully appreciating the benefits of coconut oil, that we joke there may soon not be enough coconuts left. That’s unlikely, but be cautious on the types of coconut oil you purchase as many are refined, bleached and deodorized. Choose wisely to maximize the health benefits from this amazing food.
When you start seeing coconut oil at Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart and other major retailers, you know that the world has caught on to its magnificent properties.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers.
People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.
Coconut oil is:
Anti-bacterial (kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections)
Anti-carcinogenic (coconut oil has antimicrobial properties so it effectively prevents the spread of cancer cells and enhances the immune system)
Anti-fungal (kills fungi and yeast that lead to infection)
Anti-inflammatory (appears to have a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue, and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation.)
Anti-microbial/Infection Fighting (the medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother’s milk, and they have extraordinary antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. About half of coconut oil consists of lauric acid. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes.)
An Antioxidant (protects against free-radical formation and damage)
Anti-parasitic (fights to rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites)
Anti-protozoa (kills giardia, a common protozoan infection of the gut)
Anti-retroviral (kills HIV and HLTV-1)
Anti-viral (kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other viruses)
Has no harmful for discomforting side effects
Known to improve nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes vitamins and minerals more available to the body)
Nontoxic to humans and animals
Not All Coconut Oils Are Created Equal
The first thing to look for is a Virgin coconut oil. The less processing a food undergoes the higher the nutrient content and the healthier it is. Processing removes and destroys nutrients. Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh coconut without high heat or chemicals.
The resulting product is less refined than RBD (refined, bleached, and deodorized) oil and retains more of its natural phytonutrients, which give coconut its distinctive aroma and flavor. In RBD oil all the phytonutrients have been removed so it is tasteless and odorless.
Although virgin coconut oils, in general, are superior to RBD oils, not all virgin oils are of equal quality. In fact, there is a wide range of quality among them. There are many different ways to make virgin coconut oil. The methods and care used in the process determines the final quality of the product.
How can you avoid the “not-so-good” coconut oils? Appearances can be deceiving, that is if you don’t know what to look for. When looking for the best quality oil the appearance is very important. The second thing you look for in a high quality coconut oil is purity.
If you are familiar with coconut oil you know it naturally has a high melting point. At 76 degrees F and lower it become solid, at higher temperatures it turns into a liquid. It’s much like butter, when it’s in the refrigerator its solid but if left out on a hot day it melts.
High quality virgin coconut oil should be snow white in color when it is solid and water clear when liquid. If you see any shade of yellow or gray it is of an inferior quality. Pure coconut oil is colorless. Any discoloration is a sign of contamination. Contamination can be from mold or smoke residue.
If old or sun-dried coconuts are used to make oil it will almost always contain mold. The mold isn’t considered harmful because temperatures used in processing are high enough to essentially sterilize it. If the heat used comes from open flames from wood or gas fuel smoke can be absorbed into the oil.
The third thing to look for in a high quality coconut oil is aroma and flavor. Virgin coconut oils should always retain a coconut smell and taste. If not, they have been highly refined. If they have no flavor they are essentially RBD oil, even if they did come from fresh coconut.
The very best virgin coconut oils do not have a strong roasted or smoky taste or smell. They should have a very mild coconut aroma and flavor. The flavor should not be overpowering, but just mild enough to enjoy without altering the flavor of the foods it’s used with.
The fourth criteria is price. You get what you pay for. Obviously, a very inexpensive oil is going to be of inferior quality. The cheapest oils are the most disagreeable tasting, and usually tainted with residual contaminants.
dailyalternative | alternative news – The Benefits of Coconut Oil