Is Virgin Coconut Oil really the healthiest oil on earth?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COCONUT OIL
While this claim has been widely disproved in many scientific studies and journals, unfortunately this perception is still around.
The tropical oils were very popular in the US food industry prior to World War II. The US is the largest exporter of soybeans. The well oiled marketing machinery funded by the soy bean and corn industry and supported by the American Heart Association was committed to change the American Diet, calling among others, for the substitution of saturated fats for polyunsaturates. The Prudent Diet, as it was called, left a legacy which still haunts us today. 40 years on, this conceptual change in the eating habits of Americans has negatively influenced and changed the dietary regimes of societies all around the world that were initially not even affected by America's particular meat, potato and milk diet. So determined was the pursuit of the American industries in converting their claims into magnificent billboards of health and wealth that even small island nations in the South Pacific were converted by this powerful marketing machine to change centuries of dietary traditions of tropical oils to importing polyunsaturated fats. Today heart disease is still on the increase and obesity, linked to the “new” American diet, is a major social problem worldwide that has governments worried about the health care cost of future generations. The U.K. and Australia unfortunately, are racing to catch up to their allies with a large percentage of the population being defined as overweight.
Studies were done to show that coconut oil, and all saturated fats, were bad for one's health because they raised serum cholesterol levels. However, these studies were done on hydrogenated coconut oil, and all hydrogenated oils produce higher serum cholesterol levels, whether they are saturated or not. Recent research shows that it is the presence of trans fatty acids that causes health problems, as they are fatty acid chains that have been altered from their original form in nature by the oil refining process.
Although many studies at the time had also shown research to the contrary, the mud stuck and by the mid 60’s the reputation of all saturated oils in America had been destroyed.
Critical modern research is starting to show that dietary changes based on the evidence presented by these early studies were at the very least premature and at worst placed the health millions of people at risk. However, time will only tell whether the greatest crime of this initiative will have been the bundling of all saturated fats, whether from meat, dairy or vegetable source together under the one label: Deadly Diet.
The travesty of this action was that one of nature’s most amazing resources, tropical oils, and especially coconut oil with all its functional, nutritional and pharmaceutical possibilities, has been lost to modern medicine for decades. Although saturated, coconut oil is structurally, pharmaceutically and behaviorally different to any other natural oil or fat.
However, we have reached a critical time in our history when society is in dire need of a cost efficient, abundant, natural and effective anti-bacterial and anti-viral remedy. Modern medical research has allowed us to scientifically dispel many of the theories of the recent past and show the complexity of our modern lifestyle and diet. More importantly however, this critical research into coconut oil has pinpointed the one aspect that makes the case for coconut oil to be reaccepted, not only as a legitimate part of our daily diet, but also as a potent natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial remedy of the future.
In addition, numerous studies now show that the high lauric acid content of coconut oil is very beneficial in attacking viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens, and that it builds the body's immune system just as human mother's milk does, which also contains lauric acid. Promising studies have been done on patients suffering from immune deficiency diseases, such as AIDS. With polyunsaturated seed oils now largely replacing coconut oil in the American and British diet, there is a huge deficiency of lauric acid that was present prior to World War II. The need for quality coconut oil, like Virgin Coconut Oil, is greater than ever!
To read the complete article and to find out more about the structure of fats and oils click on this research page.
Researchers state that the optimal amount for an adult is between 3 and 4 tablespoons per day. This equates to the amount of medium chain fatty acids a nursing child would consume in one day from mother's milk. It is best to use coconut oil three times a day at meal times. We recommend that you begin with a smaller amount and build up to the recommended dosage if necessary.
No, it does not need to be kept in the fridge. Indeed, it will become as hard as a brick if you do keep it in the fridge. In tropical climates, the oil is traditionally not refrigerated and is always liquid. In colder climates, at least for most of the year, the oil is solid. It can be made liquid by standing the container in a pan of warm water - never microwave! The natural antioxidants give it a very long shelf life. Store out of direct sunlight.
Coconut oil is not destroyed by heat. The medium chain fatty acids are very resistant to heat and even commercial oils heated to very high temperatures retain their MCFA's. Coconut oil is one of the best and safest oils to use in cooking.
Hydrogenation is not caused by heating coconut oil during cooking. It is an industrial process where hydrogen molecules are introduced into the oil to make it solid at room temperature. It chemically alters the oil and creates harmful trans fatty acids. It is perfectly safe to heat coconut oil for cooking.
There are many ways to use coconut oil and incorporate it into one's diet. Since it is a stable cooking oil, one can simply replace unhealthy oils in the diet with VCO. Since it is a solid most of the time at room temperature, it can be a butter or margarine substitute for spreads or for baking. Any recipe calling for butter, margarine, or any other oil can be substituted with VCO. Many people simply eat it by the spoonful. VCO can also be massaged into the skin for external applications. Click here for more tips.
Most coconut oils on sale in the UK are RBD (refined, bleached and deodorised). The determining characteristic is a distinctive fragrance and taste of coconuts present in virgin coconut oils. Tasteless, odourless, waxy oils are probably made from copra, not fresh coconuts. There are many ways of refining coconut oil made from copra, some healthier than others, but virgin coconut oils start out with fresh coconuts, and don't require further refining as the natural antioxidant properties make very stable oils.
Yes! It's better to incorporate as many organic natural foods in the diet as possible to reduce the amount of dangerous chemicals entering the body.
No. It is argued that all coconuts are grown organically but this is a huge misconception. In many areas there is cross-cultivation of cocoa trees and other crops such as vanilla, which are planted in the same areas, and agents are often used to keep grass and weeds manageable.
Yes, there could. The lauric acid in coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-protozoal and antiviral and there could be a "die off" effect as offending organisms are removed from the body. This could cause diarrohea (not in itself a bad thing under the circumstances) but it could be inconvenient. It is probably best not to start with the daily recommended dosage of 3 to 4 tbsps. but build up to it over the course of a few days if necessary. Spread out whatever amount you decide to take over the course of the day (three times with meals is best) and reduce your intake if there are side effects. It is unlikely, but some people could possibly have an allergic reaction - although coconuts do not fall under the classification of being a nut.
The meat of the coconut is usually referred to as fruit, and the coconut itself is the nut (or seed). This will reproduce into a coconut palm tree if allowed to. Coconut oil is classified as a "vegetable oil".
No. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids.
Note: This website is for information purposes only. The content is reproduced from previously published sources or from peer reviewed research. If you have a health concern, we recommend that, in all cases, you first refer to your GP or other qualified health professional to diagnose any health concern that you may have and for guidance as to the appropriate treatment.