The Healing Benefits of Coconut Oil
 By Gael Riverz, ND, BCIr, CNHP

Through the power of the information highway, as well as the increasing
emergence of health-conscious people; we have begun to understand
that there are differences between oils and fats that are good for us and
those that are not so healthy.

Here are some basics:  nearly 80% of all vegetable oil used in the United
States comes from soybeans, and three-fourths of that is hydrogenated.
“Soybeans!” we say, “soybeans are healthy”.  Well, let’s look further,
soybeans may be a good source of nutrition for some of us, but
hydrogenation is not.  Trans-fatty acids are another culprit. It is necessary
to avoid all hydrogenated oils and trans-fatty oils.  But, let’s learn about
the coconut oil, that is ‘saturated’ (another no-no), but in this case there
is a big difference.  There are three different classes of saturated fats and
they have differing actions in the body.  All other animal fats and
vegetable oils are composed of long chain fatty acids, which when not
burned for immediate energy, circulate through the blood stream to
eventually be stored as body fat.  Virgin coconut oil is almost entirely
MEDIUM chain fatty acids.  MCFA are very rare in our diets. They are used
for quick energy, not stored as fat, and easily digested. The MCFA in
coconut oil have been used to treat disorders of lipid absorption (Crohn’s
disease), ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis, and stomach disorders.  This
oil improves insulin secretion and the utilization of glucose to help
reduce the risks of diabetes.

Coconut oil has far reaching health benefits of which few of us are aware.  
We know that cold-pressed olive oil is a very beneficial source of good
fat.  However, when olive oil, corn oil, safflower, or any of the common
oils are subjected to heat, these beneficial properties are destroyed.  
Along comes coconut oil.  Voila!  Coconut oil is heat resistant.  So we can
use it in stir fries, and heat it to our heart’s content (more information
follows on the contribution of coconut oil to a contented heart) without
damaging any significant benefits of the oil.

The anti-microbial and anti-viral properties of coconut oil have been
proven in clinical studies.  AIDS patients have discovered the benefits;
and indeed, studies in the Philippines (1999-2000) have shown that this
viral assault is reduced.

Dr. Mary Enig, a Ph.D. nutritionist/biochemist, and one of the world’s
leading authorities on fats and oils has remarked, “Approximately 50% of
the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain
monolaurin in the human or animal body.  Monolaurin is the anti-viral, anti-
bacterial, and anti-protozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal
to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus,
influenza, and various pathogenic bacteria. Some studies have also
shown some anti-microbial effects of the free lauric acid.”

Coconut oil actually promotes weight loss!!  Although it is a saturated fat,
it is composed of a fat molecule that is known as a medium chain fatty
acid.  These are burned up in the body for energy production at a rapid
rate; thus avoiding storage as fat or deposits of lipids in the veins and
arteries.  Therefore, coconut oil produces energy, not fat.  Other fats will
circulate in the bloodstream with potential to create havoc.  Coconut oil is
sent directly to the liver and converted to energy in the same manner as
carbohydrates.  
How can we use coconut oil and products for health and weight loss?  
Adding coconut oil to your diet is a very easy transition.  Simply replace all
your refined vegetable oils with coconut oil.  Be sure to eliminate all
margarine and shortening, and other hydrogenated oil from your diet.  
Olive oil and occasional use of organic butter is permitted, but use
coconut oil whenever possible.  Other coconut products, such as fresh
coconut and dried coconut can be added to your diet by checking out
recipes containing those products.  Coconut milk is used widely in Thai
cooking and is a delicious ingredient in sauces .
A good rule of thumb for health benefits is to consume 1 or 2 teaspoons
daily, and 1 or 2 ounces is therapeutic.  Using coconut oil as a supplement
to your diet is beneficial for many reasons, other than just as a
replacement for a cooking oil.   
Use coconut oil on your skin to prevent dryness, lessen wrinkles, and
protect from harmful ultraviolet sun rays.

Is coconut oil bad for my heart?  Polynesian and Asian peoples have used
coconut products and oil as part of their lifestyle and have the lowest
heart disease rates in the world.  The culprit fat in heart disease are the
hydrogenated and trans-fats.  Using virgin coconut oil is good for your
heart.  It does not disable essential fatty acids in the ways that trans-fats
do.  Virgin coconut oil improves the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
such as A, D, E, K and beta carotene; as well as improving absorption of  
calcium and magnesium, and amino acids.  It does not increase platelet
stickiness which can cause high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart
attacks, and strokes.  Virgin coconut oil increases metabolism, and as a
result protects against high cholesterol.  Because, again, this oil is
quickly  burned as energy, it does not contribute to plaque formation.  Nor
does it deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves. It is reknown for its
stability, resistant to oxidation, and protects the body from free-radicals
that promote heart disease, premature aging, and a number of other
degenerative diseases. Virgin Coconut Oil is the safest cooking oil
available!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of virgin coconut oil, which you
can purchase at your health food store:
•        Kills viruses of mononucleosis, influenza, hepatitis C, measles,      
herpes, AIDS
•        Kills bacteria that cause pneumonia, earache, throat infections,
urinary tract infections, meningitis
•        Kills fungi and yeast that cause candida, ringworm, jock itch, athletes
foot, thrush
•        Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, parasites
•        Provides quick energy
•        Improves digestion
•        Improves insulin secretion
•        Relieves stress on pancreas
•        Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis
•        A wonderful oil for Thyroid health!!
•        Reduces chronic inflammation
•        Supports immune system function
•        Helps protect from breast, colon and other cancers
•        Helps prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke
•        Helps prevent high blood pressure
•        Helps prevent periodontal disease
•        Works as a protective antioxidant
•        Helps relieve symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
•        Relieves symptoms associated with prostate enlargement
•        Protects against kidney disease and bladder infections
•        Helps prevent liver disease
•        Lower in calories than all other fats
•        Supports thyroid function
•        Reduces symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis
•        Softens skin and relieves dryness
•        Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots
•        Promotes healthy hair and complexion
•        Protects skin from ultraviolet radiation from sun
•        Controls dandruff
•        Does not form harmful by-products when heated like other
vegetable oils
•        Has no harmful side effects and is completely non-toxic to humans


Gael Riverz, ND is a naturopathic doctor, board certified iridologist, and certified sclerologist,
certified natural health professional. Her office is in Hartland, Wisconsin. Website: www.
drgaelriverz.com

The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not meant to
diagnose or prescribe.  

References: “Know Your Fats” by Mary G Enig.  “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Mary G. Enig and Sally
Fallon. “Eat Fat, Look Thin: A Safe and Natural Way to Lose Weight Permanently” by Bruce
Fife.  “The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil” by Bruce Fife
Article:  The Healing Benefits of Coconut Oil