The coconut, according to fossil records, has been in existence for possibly 80 million years, around the early Cenozoic period. Its role in prehistoric growth and migration in the tropics has no comparison in the plant kingdom.
Extolled for its many virtues as a source of food, water, construction materials and fuel, coconut oil has played a major role in basic human existence.
In recent times, however, coconut oil was considered the most villainous of fats in the world. This misconception is changing rapidly.
Misunderstood and criticized, it was portrayed as the chief cause of clogged arteries and bad cholesterol.
Buried in medical journals and never brought to light until a few years ago, coconut is now enjoying its long-delayed place in the spotlight of good health.
Trust nature to provide us with all we need of things healthy and life-supporting.
While modern medicine has extended our life expectancy with breakthroughs in science and technology, there is a new consciousness sweeping the world—the return to nature. Thus the search for superfoods that can enhance our new wellness lifestyle.
Popular among the superfoods are acai, the violet berry from the Amazon; maqui, the blue-purple berry from the Patagonia region; and goji berry from the Himalayas. Practically every berry, including blueberries, contains phytochemicals (the powerful essence of plants) that has been determined to be the source of their health benefits.
Then there are the sprouts—alfalfa and radish, including wheatgrass, whose life-giving nutrients are considered a must in health circles.
Consider herbs and spices like turmeric (luyang dilaw, used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse and heal respiratory problems, tremors), garlic oil (called the natural antibiotic), chili as an immune booster, and ginger as a digestive balm and metabolism-stimulant.
And the list continues. Enter coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil has been the subject of extensive studies by many respected doctors, among them Dr. Bruce Fife, whose 15-year research and surveys can be found in Pub Med, the largest database of medical science in the US National Library of Medicine (http://www.pubmed.gov).
Credited to Dr. Fife are several books on the coconut. In the Philippines, renowned for his pioneering efforts to study and promote the coconut was Dr. Conrado Dayrit, who wrote the first edition of the book on coconut oil, elevating coconut oil from traditional folk medicine to hard-core science.
Why and how did the coconut deserve its name as the tree of life? Look at its many uses:
Coconut meat—coconut oil, coco flour, dietary fiber, cakes and pastries, animal feed, copra
Coconut water—emergency intravenous fluid (practiced in World War II), health drink, kidney cleansing, wine, vinegar, distilled spirits
Shell—charcoal, activated carbon, handicrafts
Husk—ropes, soil net/protection, fertilizer
Flowers—tea, alcoholic drinks
Leaves—paper pulp, housing materials
Fact: Coconut oil is a saturated fat.
Not all saturated fats are considered LDL or bad fat/cholesterol
Myth: Coconut oil raises LDL
The human body needs fats. Without them, our cells will not function properly. Moreover, vital hormone production requires fats to mobilize cells into action.
Essential fatty acids or EFAs are fats the body cannot produce. Thus, they must be sourced from food.
Healthy ratio: 1:1-6:1, with omega-3 being the higher number.
Only two to four percent of the total calories of the food we eat should come from EFAs.
Fats and oils have two variants. Long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) include saturated (palm oil, dairy, lard, tallow), monounsaturated (oleic—olive, canola, peanut), polyunsaturated (linoleic—corn, soya, sunflower, safflower) and linolenic fat (fish oil, linseed).
Medium-chain fatty acids are saturated fat such as lauric acid—coconut oil, palm kernel
The coconut oil used extensively for cooking is made from copra and undergoes bleaching and deodorization.
Virgin coconut oil does not undergo extensive processing and is not exposed to any chemicals.
It contains the lowest amount of cholesterol compared to palm, soybean and corn oil, butter and lard.
It is stable at high degrees, making it resistant to chemical change. Thus, it cannot become hydrogenated or a transfat (considered one of the causes of cancer).
It has a long shelf-life. It is an energy source; being an MFA, its fat is stored by the liver and used as energy, never as fat.
It also lowers cholesterol.
Here’s a beauty ritual: Lavish yourself with VCO today. Mix 3 tbsp of VCO with 1 tbsp coco sugar. Rub your body from face to toe.
Massage a few drops of VCO on your scalp, or fresh coconut milk if you prefer. Leave on for 15 minutes.
To be a bathing beauty, add five cups fresh coconut milk to your warm bath. Allow your skin to soak in its velvety goodness.
Reference: “Coconut Oil—From Diet to Therapy” by Conrado Dayrit and Fabian Dayrit, National Book Store
Today’s affirmation: “I am brave and beautiful!”
Love and light!