Several years ago, a popular national magazine called coconut oil a “miracle food” touting its ability to burn fat, help the thyroid and increase energy. As you can imagine, everyone flocked to the health food stores and wiped out the nations supply of coconut oil. Manufacturers could not keep up with the demand for high quality virgin coconut oil. During this time, several companies started peddling a very inexpensive, highly processed and refined coconut oil that was very appealing to the pocketbook.
Once again, coconut oil is back in the headlines and consumers are out shopping for the best value. Buyer beware… this low grade coconut oil does not hold the same promise as the high quality organic, virgin grade. The low grade coconut oil starts out with coconuts that are split and left outside in the open to dry out. Due to the high heat and humidity in the tropics, the coconuts are susceptible to growing mold and attracting germy flies. From there, harmful solvents are used for extracting the oil and more chemicals are used to bleach it back to its original white color. All the health benefits have now been destroyed and what is left is odorless, tasteless and bleached oil that can actually cause your body harm to consume it. I also want to mention that most salad and cooking oils that are sold at the market are also highly refined and manufactured basically the same way as I described above. Always make sure all the oils you consume are cold pressed (no chemical solvents or heat used) and preferably organic.
To reap the health benefits of coconut oil, it must be organic and virgin. This means that the coconuts are organically grown without any pesticides or herbicides. They are then “hand” or “mechanically” pressed without the use of solvents. You end up with creamy, naturally white oil that has a delightful smell of coconuts.
In addition to the fat burning and thyroid stimulating benefits that coconut oil has to offer, it also is known for improving conditions such as chronic fatigue, Crohn’s, IBS, and diabetes to name a few. It is rich in lauric acid which has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol.
You can use coconut oil for cooking, on salads, spread over toast, vegetables or added to protein drinks. It does not even have to be refrigerated. Room temp is fine. It has a shelf life of 1-2 years.
Coconut oil can be used topically for moisturizing and toning. It makes the skin feel like silk, even on those with extremely dry skin. It also helps to prevent sagging and wrinkling by keeping the connective tissues strong. It will remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smother giving a more youthful appearance.
This column, provided by Michael Comeau is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure disease. Always consult with your doctor when seeking medical advice.