Virgin Coconut Oil - a true "super food"
- Energy levels:
coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids/triglycerides (MCT's), these
are an excellent source of energy for the body. They prevent low blood
sugar levels, support thyroid function and also fight pathogens in the
digestive tract which contribute to fatigue. Many people on low fat
diets feel exhausted much of the time because their body is not getting
enough fuel to maintain energy levels throughout the day. A spoon of
coconut oil with breakfast will stabilise blood sugar release, reducing
the craving for a mid morning snack and helping combat the afternoon
- Immune system: coconut
oil is comprised of almost 50% Lauric acid which your body uses to make
the mono-glyceride monolaurin which is anti-bacterial, anti-viral &
anti-protozoal. Taken on a regular basis, coconut oil will help to
boost the body's immune system to enable it to successfully fight
pathogenic viruses, bacteria and fungi (for fungal infections on the skin
it may also be applied topically).
- Digestive problems: in
combination with a nutrient dense diet coconut oil helps support a healthy
digestive tract, this is especially beneficial in IBS and Crohn's Disease.
- Type II diabetes:
replacing trans fats in the diet with coconut oil will reduce and may
reverse insulin resistance on a cellular level, enabling the cells to
absorb glucose more effectively. It also slows down the release of
carbohydrates into the bloodstream when taken with a meal, ensuring we
fell full for longer and allowing the body to absorb the glucose more
- Weight loss: especially around the
mid-rift area. As mentioned above, coconut oil taken with a meal
slows down the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream. A meal
high in carbohydrates and low in good fats and proteins will enter the
bloodstream quickly making it hard for the body to get all the glucose
into the cells. Any extra glucose is converted to fat and stored
around our middle, this is the principle reason low fat diets don't work
on a long-term basis.
diets also leave the dieter feeling hungry and unsatisfied after a meal,
resulting in cravings and, more often than not, indulging in unhealthy
snacks. Adding a healthy fat, like coconut oil to a meal will increase
the feeling of satisfaction and satiety, keep you full for longer and reduce
the amount of glucose being stored as fat.
- Skin conditions:
coconut oil can not only be very beneficial in treating skin conditions
like eczema and dry skin, but it can also help reduce the risk of
sunburn. Many of the manufactured oils and fats consumed today
(margarines, spreads, vegetable oils) are made from polyunsaturated oils,
which in their natural state (as a seed/nut) are a nutritious food.
However the chemical process used to make the oils and spreads turns the
oils rancid. When we eat these in abundance they make up the fatty
layers under our skin, if these oils are rancid they will be more likely
to react negatively to the sun and result in sunburn.
On the other
hand, a stable fat like coconut oil will help protect the epidermis in the
sunshine. It may also reduce sagging and wrinkles. Coconut oil
should also be applied topically to maximise the benefit to our skin.
- Mental health: the MCT's in coconut oil have the potential to help the fight against Alzheimer's disease, this was discovered by a Florida physician who used coconut oil to successfully combat the effects of the disease on her husband who was 58 when he was diagnosed (she saw that the main ingredient in an experimental drug was made from MCT's). In Alzheimer's disease the brains ability to utilise glucose is reduced by up to 40%. When this happens another system is activated incorporating ketone bodies, the MCT's in coconut oil stimulate this system, resulting in cognitive improvements. There has not been a large amount of research in this area to date, however with the staggering increase in mental health disorders including Alzheimer's it would seem wise to incorporate this all round health food into your daily diet.