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The Surprising Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

By Rachel Burt
Edited by Therese Mulgrew 

If you were to travel the world looking for a group of people who enjoy a degree of health far above that found in most nations, you would find them in many of the island natives of the South Pacific and the Americas. So, the question is, what is their secret?



Coconut oil. In this article, I will discuss the many health benefits of using coconut oil as a beauty ointment as well as a delicious cooking ingredient. 
Coconuts have been used as a major source of food for thousands of years by millions of people in Asia, the Pacific Islands and Central America. Before the introduction of modern foods, many of these people depended almost entirely on coconut to sustain life.  It was not until they started abandoning their traditional coconut-based diet and started eating western, pasteurized foods that they began to suffer from the modern degenerative diseases.



I. How It Does Wonders:

Nearly 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is a rarity in nature. This type of fat is called lauric acid and it is a "miracle" compound because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.

Coconut oil is also nature's richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. By contrast, many common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs which are stored as fat when digested.

The difference between MCTs and LCTS is that the smaller chain fatty acids found in coconut oil (MCTS) are easily digested and are burned by your liver used for “energy,” helping boost your metabolism, energy, and making you leaner.

II. Treatment uses for coconut oil:

Promote loss of excess weight
Helps remove the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks
Supports the development of strong bones and teeth
Prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and stroke.
Aids in digestion and metabolism
Kills viruses such as influenza, shingles, herpes, hepatitis C, measles, AIDs.
Supports immune system
Prevents premature aging
Helps lure off germs.
Kills fungi and yeast that cause candida, jock itch, ringworm, athletes’ foot, and other skin infections.
Prevent damaging effect of UV radiation from the sun such as wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots
Prevents tooth decay



You can begin enjoying the benefits of coconut without making any drastic changes in your everyday life. 

III. Incorporating coconut oil can be done in three easy steps.

A. Eat your way to better health by using coconut oil in your cooking and get rid of the other vegetable oils in your diet. Coconut oil can be separated into two categories:

1. Refined, bleached, and deodorized (striped of its nutrients and benefits) 

2. Virgin and unrefined. Make sure this is the kind you always buy! 

B. Eat coconut products regularly within your diet. For example, coconut water or pure coconut. 

C. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin and hair in order to absorb its healing benefits directly into your body.


IV. Using Coconut in Your Kitchen:

Thanks to the raw diet movement and growing popularity of vegan diets, interest in coconut has increased even more. Incorporating coconut oil into your cooking is the most palatable way to get the daily dose and is the easiest way to measure how much you are actually using. Here are some guidelines on why and how to use coconut in your kitchen.



Butter. The oil has a solid, lard-like consistency below 24°C, so can be used to replace butter in recipes where the texture is important - like rubbed crumble toppings, or pastry.

Cooking oil. Coconut oil melts at about 76 degrees F, becoming a clear liquid that looks like almost any other vegetable oil.

Because coconut oil is primarily a saturated fat, the heat of cooking does not create a free-radical soup, it is THE ONLY oil that can withstand the heat of cooking without damaging its nutrients and turning toxic.

It has a very mild flavor that can be used to cook any type of food (pastries, pastas, stir-fries, rise, creamy sauces, fried foods, salad dressings, etc.).

A hot beverage. You can add coconut oil to most any type of hot beverage such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or hot cider for extra flavor. 

Smoothie. Add it to your super-boost smoothie in the morning.

Regular use of coconut oil can make a dramatic difference in your life. If you are overweight it can help you lose excess body fat; if you have digestive problems it will help your body to better digest your food. It can help you feel and look younger, give you more energy, protect from infections and illnesses, and help prevent many degenerative conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr has been quoted saying "I will not go a day without coconut oil.” 

My new favorite Homemade Coconut Chocolate Recipe:

Coconut Oil
Organic Pure Cacao Powder
Honey/Raw coconut sugar
Sea Salt
Almonds
Coconut Shreds

Directions:

Heat the coconut oil until it reaches that soup-like texture, add your cacao powder and raw sugar or honey and stir. After lay out on a glass-ware or stick-free plate and pour your creamy texture onto it. Later add crushed up almonds, pure sea salt( nice sweet/salty combination), coconut shreds and any other interesting ingredient you like, (once I added Almond butter, and this time oatmeal and raspberries). Freeze for 15-20 minutes and serve! 




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