Fifteen short years ago, coconut oil and all its benefits were
almost unknown in mainstream health circles. Coconuts were the domain of islanders and alternative treatment advocates. But today, coconut oil is one of the most widely studied substances for health and beauty. What’s so special about it? It’s antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial for starters. And it contains a large amount of lauric acid, a substance that can kill such stubborn viruses as HIV and herpes, among others.
What is lauric acid?
This saturated fat, something that’s generally not found in plants to any large degree as far as we know, is prolific in coconuts. In fact, as much as 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride or fatty acid that’s easier to digest than long-chain fatty acids, and which moves directly into the bloodstream without the necessity of bile to digest it. MCTs can provide quick energy in the same way carbohydrates do.
Not all fat is bad. The fatty acids in coconut oil won’t make you fat or raise your cholesterol levels. They won’t clog your arteries or tax your liver. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. MCTs can furnish deficient cells with a complementary supply of energy that supports their varying functions, something that’s particularly effective if organs such as the liver or heart are stressed by disease.
Here are some of the real benefits of coconut oil:
- If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll get full faster if you utilize the power of MCTs found in coconut oil.
- Individuals whose brains cannot process glucose, as with Alzheimer’s disease, rely on ketones for cognitive function. MCTs in coconut oil provide an energy source the brain can use immediately.
- Saturated fats are necessary for brain function. Animal fats contain cholesterol, something the body needs but can make itself. Plant fat does not contain cholesterol.
- Lauric acid in coconut oil is converted to monolaurin which is antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal.
- Coconut oil is an immediate source of energy, and edifies the thyroid, skin, immune system, heart and cardiovascular system, blood sugar levels, brain, weight, liver, and overall cell regeneration.
- Coconut oil is safe for anyone – ill or elderly, particularly those who have difficulty digesting fats, children and even babies.
How much should you take?
About 1/2-2 ounces (approximately 3 1/2 tablespoons) a day should be enough to receive the benefits, but it’s always best to start with less than the recommended dosage when starting a new regime.
If you’ve been limiting fat in your diet for any reason, adding any type of fat can cause diarrhea, so start with less. For example, you can start with 1 teaspoon a day (there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon and 2 tablespoons in an ounce) and build up to 1 teaspoon 3x a day, then go from there depending on how your body reacts. There are really no adverse side effects other than this.
Coconut oil is also available in capsules to make it easy to remember how much you’re taking. And don’t forget to cook with coconut oil! It has a high heat resistance and won’t break down up to 500o. Use it in stir-fries, baking, smoothies, or simply let it melt over your favorite warm vegetables.