Monday, January 14, 2008

The Many Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Many years ago I remember my mother telling me the dangers of tropical oils. She wouldn't buy crackers made with palm oil or any other products with the deadly heart damaging oil. How far we have come. Much info and misinformation has been propagated by the oil refining companies that has hidden the actual health benefits of this highly saturated natural oil. In fact, coconut oil is so beneficial it is now slated as a safeguard against the deadly disease killers today, cancer and heart disease.

Below is an excerpt from the book, Nourishing Traditions.
Tropical oils are more saturated than any other vegetable oil. Palm oil is about 50%saturated, with 41 % oleic acid and about 9%linoleic acid. Coconut oil is 92% saturated with over two-thirds of the saturated fat as medium chain fatty acid. Of particular interest is lauric acid, found in large quantities in both coconut oil and mother's milk. This fatty acid has both antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
.... these oils are stable and can be kept at room temperature for many months without becoming rancid. Highly saturated tropical oils do not contribute to heart disease but have nourished healthy populations for milennia.

From "The Coconut Oil Miracle"
When taken as a supplement, used in cooking, or applied directly to the skin, coconut oil has been found to promote weight loss, help protect against many diseases, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, and prevent premature aging of the skin.

Another quote,
It is easily digested by the body and unlike other fats (which tend to go to fat stores), the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are used by the body for metabolism. Coconut oil is uniquely rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid chain that is a prime ingredient in mother's milk, which helps to protect infants from sickness. The lauric acid becomes 2-monolauren in the stomach which has been shown by research to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitical properties

I have been using this wonderful lightly fragrant coconut oil for a few years now with great results. The oil is excellent for frying, having the most highest flash point of any oil on the market today. (meaning it will not become rancid and contain damaging free radicals either when over heated.) Baking with coconut oil also produces light and fluffy results that maintains the freshness longer than low fat baked goods.

BUT, there has been just one issue that I have struggled with over this past few years! The cost of coconut oil is high! At over $30.00 per half gallon it puts it out of the league for the budgeting healthy consumer. Searching for a solution, I came across Mountain Rose Herbals a company out of Oregon that has 1 gallon of organic, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil for less than what I regularily pay for a half gallon. (1 gallon for $28.00 compared to a half gallon for $32.00!) Furthermore, if I like this product I can purchase a 5 gallon bucket at $121.00 and maybe share it around with some friends and share the further savings as well.

If you have never tried the light and delicious flavor and benefits of coconut oil, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c


LISA said...

Is there a difference (health-wise) between 'extra virgin' and just 'virgin' unrefined coconut oil?

Janet Langford, said...

Very good question Lisa,
The extra virgin coconut oil, I believe, is the best for you but often the price is quite a bit higher. The supplier that I found, Mountain rose Herbs has Organic, Virgin and Cold pressed Oil(so it is raw-that's a good thing) for very good price.

Extra virgin depending on the type of extraction may have more lauric acid which is very desirable but it must be balanced with your budget if you want to pay a lot more for a little more benefit. I wanted to try this oil from Mountain Rose and see if it passes the test.(and I'm sure it will) I will be splitting it with my daughter and daughter in law so we all can taste and see. I will let you know what we come up with.

I have done a little research below and may post this as a blog entry in the next few days. Thanks for asking!

I have done some rough research and have come up with, perhaps, a future post once it is polished. I thought I'd post it here for now in case it helps.

There are essentially three types of oil products within the coconut oil extraction process.

Refined- not desirable for consumption and is a lot cheaper than the food grade oils.(Used for skin care and soap making)

Natural oil, or expeller oil which is cold pressed (so is considered raw) and is an excellent high quality oil for food and cooking. This oil is less in price because it can be easily mass produced. This is the oil that mountain rose Herbs has. Excellent quality and an organic pure product.

And then Centerfuge oil which seems to be a slightly higher price again due to the more intensive process of extraction. I believe this oil has the highest lauric acid of the other types and that is the most beneficial part of the coconut. So yes, extra virgin coconut oil is best and organic is important as well.

However if you struggle with affording the slightly higher priced extra virgin oils of any kind (Olive included) I would not stress out too much about getting the best. Any food grade coconut oil is going to be a whole lot better then regular corn oil or margarine (shutter) or whatever we have used in the past from the grocery store.

Hope this all makes sence. I will be doing some more research on this and will post more as I dig a little deeper.

call2write said...

Thank you for a very informative post! I've been researching coconut oil uses, benefits, sources, etc. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.