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Coconut

by Neka on July 11, 2009, 13 comments

My friend Nicole requested I blog on the health benefits of coconut oil. So Nic this one’s for you…

The main health promoting aspects of coconut lie in the fat of the whole coconut and in the oil. Lauric acid which is the major fatty acid in coconut has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal functions. It also contais capric acid which has antimicrobial properties.

Recently published research has shown that adding coconut fat to the diet leads to a normalization of body lipids, protects the liver against alcohol damage, and imporoves the immune system’s anti-inflammatory response, as well as aiding in weight loss.

Coconut oil got a bad rap from the soybean oil industry and giants like the Food and Drug Administration and the American Diabetes Association who maintain that saturated fats are bad. These companies have links to the polyunsaturated fats industry, another example of money being the driving force behind health information. But that is a whole other blog.

One study was done where women ate the same diet and half were supplemented with soybean oil and the other half with coconut oil. Women taking coconut oil had an improved cholesterol profile. Those taking soybean oil, however, did not receive the same benefits. In fact, the soybean oil group had higher total cholesterol, higher LDL cholesterol. Only the group taking the coconut oil saw a significant reduction in their waist circumference. In the words of the authors: “It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.” For more of the health benefits of coconut you can go to http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/.

As with all oils steer clear of the refined stuff and stick with organic virgin coconut oil. The less processed the better. Coconut oil is great for high heat cooking. Most oils oxidize when heated creating free radicals in the body which accelerates aging which most of us are trying to slow down. So it’s great for stir-frys and sauteeing. You can substitute it in baking and in recipes that call for butter, lard or any other high-saturated fats. It has a similar consistency to butter so it can be used as a spread for toast or vegetables. It makes an excellent addition to a smoothie. Polyunsaturated fats like corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of all the double bonds they have. Olive oil is great to use in salad dressings. For cooking stick with coconut oil.

Coconut water from the young coconuts is equally as impressive as the oil. Coconut water has five electrolytes, more than most sports drinks, including fifteen times the potassium (and more potassium than a banana). It has a fraction of the calories of sports drinks, no added sugars and has protein, phosphorus, calcium, Vitamin C and riboflavin. It is a natural isotonic drink used to rehydrate the body and is similar to human plasma (blood). Other health benefits of the water include: naturally boosts the immune system, improves intestinal health, increases metabolism & weight loss, balances body PH, detoxifies & fights viruses, helps fatigue, prevents hypertension, controls diabetes, aids in circulation, treats kidney stones, eases stomach pain & vomiting .

There are many ways to enjoy coconut. Dairy free coconut ice cream is delicious http://www.coconutbliss.com/. You can buy young green coconuts at asian markets, chop off the top drink the electrolyte filled coconut water and then scoop out the soft young coconut meat and it it raw..this is my favorite. You can add dried coconut to cereals, cookies, or trail mix.

~Coconut Almond Butter Smoothie~

Open a young coconut, pour water into a blender

next scoop out the soft coconut meat add to blender
Add heaping Tablespoon of almond butter
2 pitted dates
blend until smooth

From Urban Remedy, post Coconut

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