I remember answering the test question wrong in pharmacy school. “Is coconut oil a good recommendation for those with cardiovascular disease?” I answered yes, but the answer they wanted was no. In all areas of life, what was a fact yesterday may not be necessarily true today.
Old nutritional knowledge categorized fat in two ways. Saturated fat was “bad” and unsaturated was “good”. This put coconut oil in the “bad” fat category due to its high saturated fat content. All saturated fat was believed to cause artery clogging heart disease. With this black and white theory, doctors and dietitians urged people to avoid coconut oil. At that time, a low-fat diet, especially a low saturated fat diet was considered ideal for cardiovascular health. Today heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States. Looking back on the past few decades, one has to realize that dietary recommendations and choices may have been seriously flawed.
Head south to the equator and you will realize that islanders ignore the cardiovascular guidelines and eat a diet rich in saturated fat. In fact, coconuts have been a staple food in the islands for centuries. Some populations consume as much as 60% of their calories from coconut fats.
Population studies demonstrate that those who consume large quantities of coconut oil have a lower incidence of heart disease and normal cholesterol levels. Coconut oil has been shown to increase the good cholesterol, HDL.
Coconut oil can be used for a variety of purposes. Not only is coconut oil a super, nutrient dense food and a powerful medicine used for traditions, but also an amazing skin moisturizing butter. The healing benefits of coconut oil have been passed down from cultures all over the world. Asian and Indian cultures have long used this for a variety of illnesses and health-giving properties.
Coconut oil can be used by people of all ages. Personally, I have found that it is the best diaper rash treatment and it should be used before resorting to prescription strength agents. From my experience, most store-bought creams burn the baby’s delicate skin and don’t work that well. Coconut oil is unique in that it is soothing and heals the area fast. Rich in the natural anti-fungal compound, caprylic acid, coconut oil rapidly treats fungus without harming healthy cells. A diet rich in coconut oil would partly explain why Polynesian women are less likely to get yeast infections. Coconut is rich in medium chain triglycerides which are essential for growth and development. Adding small amounts of coconut oil to the diet of newborns has shown that it improves their ability to gain healthy weight and strengthens their immune function.
People report that ingesting coconut oil provides a helpful boost of energy and improves mental clarity. Research shows that it has a positive impact on metabolism and might be helpful at slightly improving thyroid function. Because of the thermogenic, or fat burning effect, of the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, some people have noticed weight loss with regular consumption.
In order to reap all the benefits of coconut oil, look for virgin coconut oil. Some brands of coconut oil are heated and manufacturers add up to 21% of their product with cheaper, inferior, pro-inflammatory oils in order to maximize profits. Products made like this are robbed of all the health benefits. The only raw coconut oil with the “medicinal grade” is Indianapolis based, Skinny brand.
The problem with coconut oil is very similar to impurities and lack of consistency in various dietary supplements. At the Guyer Institute, we offer not only the highest quality supplements, but also the closest thing to cracking into a fresh coconut in the Caribbean.
Regardless if you suffer from a chronic disease or if you just want to increase your overall vitality, everyone could benefit from adding coconut oil their diet.
~ Chris McMullen Pharm.D.