Coconut oil is the healthiest oil on earth" says Dr. Bruce
Fife, a naturopathic doctor and the author of the book The
Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil.
Modern research seems to back up this bold statement. Once
wrongly accused of increasing cholesterol levels, coconut
oil is now actually being used by doctors in the treatment
of a variety of disorders. Clinical studies have shown that
coconut oil has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties,
and is now even being used in treating AIDS patients.
Studies conducted in the Philippines last year showed that
coconut oil does indeed reduce the viral load in AIDS
Acid a Key Component to Health
"Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in
coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain
fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of
being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body.
Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and
antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to
destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes,
cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria
including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and
protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also
shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid."
The Politics of Tropical Oils
So why has coconut oil
gotten such a bad rap in the recent past? After all, much of
the research supporting coconut oil as a healthy fat has
been around for some time. The answer is politics and
economics. Coconut oil was heavily used in the US at one
time, being used for baking, pastries, frying, and theater
popcorn. But starting in the 1980s some very powerful groups
in the US, including the American Soybean Association (ASA),
the Corn Products Company (CPC International) and the Center
for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), began to
categorically condemn all saturated oils. Faulty science was
used to convince the public that ALL saturated fats were
unhealthy, when in fact saturated fats rich in the medium
chain fatty acids, like lauric acid, are very healthy.
These organizations were/are aided by the United States Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), many of whose key personnel
are recruited from and return to the vegetable oil industry.
The result was that most people switched to vegetable oils,
and the main source of lauric acid from tropical oils in the
American diet was lost. The countries that these tropical
oils came from, mainly the Philippines and Malaysia, were
too poor to counter these untrue claims with advertising
investments for the truth. It is only recently that the
health benefits of these tropical oils are starting to
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A study on Coconut oil
One such study was done in the South Pacific islands of
Pukapuka and Tokelau near New Zealand. The studies were
started in the 1960s before either island was exposed to
Western refined food. These populations ate only natural
foods, and coconut foods were the most prevalent, being
consumed at each meal in one form or another.
most people in western countries get 30-40 percent of their
calories from fats, the people in these islands averaged
between 50 and 60 percent of their calories from fat, most
of that being saturated fat from coconuts.
kind of health did these studies find among the populations
in these two islands?
Bruce Fife reports in his book:
"The overall health of both groups was extremely good
compared to Western standards. There were no signs of kidney
disease or hypothyroidism that might influence fat levels.
There was no hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol).
All inhabitants were lean and healthy despite a very high
saturated-fat diet. In fact, the populations as a whole had
ideal weight-to-height ratios as compared to the Body Mass
Index figures used by nutritionists. Digestive problems are
rare. Constipation is uncommon. They average two or more
bowel movements a day. Atherosclerosis, heart disease,
colitis, colon cancer, hemorrhoids ulcers, diverticulosis,
and appendicitis are conditions with which they are
generally unfamiliar." (The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil)
A fat that causes weight loss??
Another incredible fact
about coconut oil is that even though it is a fat, it
actually promotes weight loss!! The reason is again because
of the healthy medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids
do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats, but are
sent directly to the liver where they are immediately
converted into energy, just like carbohydrates. So the body
uses the fat in coconut oil to produce energy, rather than
be stored as body fat.
Medium chain fatty acids found
in coconut oil also speed up the body's metabolism burning
more calories and promoting weight loss. The weight-loss
effects of coconut oil have clearly been demonstrated by
many researchers. (There are a list of references in Bruce
Fife's book The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil.)
So how much coconut oil should one
A good therapeutic dosage is 3 to 4
tablespoons a day. This provides enough lauric acid to build
the immune system.
Also, look for unrefined coconut
oil. Stay away from all hydrogenated oils, whether it is
coconut oil or vegetable oils. Hydrogenated oils are oils
with trans fatty acids, which have been altered from their
original chemical composition, and have been shown to raise
serum cholesterol levels that can lead to heart disease.
Also look for unrefined coconut oils, like Virgin Coconut
Oil. Most commercial coconut oils are RBD (refined,
bleached, and deodorized). While these RBD oils do maintain
the beneficial chemical structures of the medium chain fatty
acids, they also contain chemicals used in processin