Coconut Oil

Coconut oil

A couple of weeks ago, I started adding coconut oil to my daily diet. Why?

Because it’s good, that’s why. Though coconut oil used to get a bad rap (except in traditional cultures, which have long espoused its benefits), it’s come back into the mainstream. It’s health-related benefits include the following:

  • Coconut oil is good for your heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid (more about this later in the post), which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil aren’t harmful, as they are in other vegetable oils. It doesn’t lead to increases in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
  • Coconut oil is helpful in managing one’s weight. Its short- and medium-chain fatty acids can help in taking off excessive weight. It’s easy to digest, and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. As if that weren’t enough, it increases the body’s metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning more energy.
  • Coconut oil is good for the immune system, as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria.
  • OK, that was the general stuff. Here are comments from a couple of sources I trust about the benefits of coconut oil…

    First, an excerpt from a Mark’s Daily Apple post:

    “Coconut oil has been found to help normalize blood lipids and protect against damage to the liver by alcohol and other toxins, can play a role in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases, and is associated with improved blood sugar and insulin control and therefore the prevention and management of diabetes. In addition, coconut oil has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. On a more superficial level, meanwhile, coconut oil is thought to help strengthen mineral absorption, which is important for healthy teeth and bones, and can also help improve the condition and appearance of the scalp, hair and skin when ingested or topically applied.”

    Next, from Dr. Steve Gangemi (aka the Sock Doc):

    “Coconut oil is one oil that everybody should have in their kitchen to use not just for cooking, but also for supplementation. It is much different than other saturated fats because the majority (over 60%) is composed of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), and the majority of that is a fat called lauric acid. There are numerous health benefits to lauric acid and the other MCTs, from acting as an antimicrobial to providing energy to helping one use fat as fuel.”

    And, finally, some info about the benefits of the afore-mentioned lauric acid.

    So how I am using this good stuff?

  • I include about 1 tbs. of coconut oil in my morning bowl of oatmeal, along with some raspberries.
  • I have a little coconut oil, along with some organic honey, on a slice of Ryvita, at lunchtime or late in the afternoon.
  • A couple of times each week, I slather some coconut oil on my head/hair and my beard, do my usual treadmill training run, and then wash the oil off in my post-run shower.
  • It tastes good, feels good, and, after the “man spa” stuff on my head and face, I smell like a coconut cookie.
  • Not bad, not bad at all. 🙂

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