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All about Coconut Oil

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil

Cocos nucifera L.

 

Introduction

The English name coconut, first mentioned in English print in 1555, comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco, which means “monkey face.” Spanish and Portuguese explorers found a resemblance to a monkey’s face in the three round indented markings or “eyes” found at the base of the coconut.

Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm, botanically known as cocos nucifera, with nucifera meaning “nut-bearing”. The fruit-bearing palms are native to Malaysia, Polynesia and Southern Asia, and are now also prolific in South America, India, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii and Florida. The light, fibrous husk allowed it to easily drift on the oceans to other areas to propagate.

What’s in Coconut Oil?

Nutritional Profile (per 14 gm):
Calories – 125
Fat – 14 gm
Cholesterol – 0 mg
Sodium – 0 mg
Carbohydrates – 0 mg
Protein – 0 mg
Fatty Acids:
Caprylic – 4.6-10%
Capric – 5-8%
Lauric – 45.1-53.2%
Linoleic – 1-2.5%
Myristic – 16.8-21%
Oleic – 5-10%
Palmitic – 7.5-10.2%
Stearic – 2-4%

coconuts in a tree

 

Benefits of Applying Coconut Oil to Skin

Conventional body care products that are made with refined vegetable oils have all the antioxidants stripped from them and are highly prone to free-radical generation both in and outside the body. If you use a lotion, or cream or lip balm with a refined oil in it you are in fact causing your skin to age faster. The product, though it may bring temporary improvement, will actually accelerate the aging of the skin and even promote skin cancer.

Coconut Oil not only brings temporary relief to the skin, but aids in healing and repairing. It has lasting benefits, unlike most lotions. It can help bring back a youthful appearance. Coconut Oil aids in removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. The skin becomes more evenly textured with a healthy “shine”. While doing this the Coconut Oil penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin and strengthens the underlying tissues. It helps to keep connective tissues strong and supple so that the skin doesn’t sag and wrinkle. Coconut Oil can also help to keep the skin from developing liver spots, and other blemishes caused by aging and over exposure to sunlight. In some cases it may even restore damaged or diseased skin. It’s absorbed into the skin and into the cell structure of the connective tissues, limiting the damage that excessive sun exposure can cause.

Here are some of the many benefits Coconut Oil provides for your skin:

 

  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Helps control dandruff.

 

Coconut Oil in Traditional Medicine

People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.

In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.

Benefits of Coconut Oil in Your Diet

Coconut Oil can be added to your diet in various ways, aside from just eating it by itself . Perhaps the best way to add Coconut Oil is to use it as a staple in cooking. Essentially any recipe calling for butter, shortening, margarine or vegetable oil can be a “Coconut Oil” recipe. It is simply a matter of substituting Coconut Oil for whatever oil is called for in the recipe.

Desiccated coconut is about 69% coconut fat, as is creamed coconut. Full coconut milk is approximately 24% fat. Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being transformed into a substance called “monolaurin” in the human body. Monolaurin is an antibacterial, antiviral and antiprotozoal substance used by the human body to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

The food industry has long been aware that the functional properties of Coconut Oil are unsurpassed by other commercially available oils. Unfortunately, in the United States, during the 1980s and 1990s, the commercial interests of the U.S. domestic fats and oils industry with their anti-saturated fat agenda were successful at driving down usage of Coconut Oil.

spectrum coconut oil

Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers
  • Improves digestion and bowel function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports tissue healing and repair
  • Supports and aids immune system function
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers
  • Is heart healthy, improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement)
  • Reduces epileptic seizures
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections
  • Dissolves kidney stones
  • Helps prevent liver disease
  • Supports thyroid function
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems

Unrefined Coconut Oil can be used for medium heat cooking. You can use Refined Coconut Oil for all frying and stir frying. It is heat stable and has a shelf life of over one year. You can also use it as a direct substitute for butter, margarine and other culinary oils. Coconut Oil tastes great when spread on toast instead of butter. When warmed (it needs to be liquefied, it solidifies at about 75 degrees F) and combined with a culinary vinegar and herbs, it makes an excellent salad dressing.

 

Medical Conditions that Benefit from the use of Coconut Oil:

Diabetes
Autism
Eczema
Acne 
Psoriasis
Osteoporosis
Cancer
Crohn’s Disease
Kidney Degeneration
Bladder Infections
Inflammation
Atherosclerosis
Heart Disease
Chronic Fatigue
Thyroid Health
Candida/Yeast
Alzheimer’s 
Dry Skin and Hair Conditions
Immune Deficiency
HIV Virus
Tuberculosis
Low Energy Levels
Low Metabolism
Menopause
Multiple Sclerosis
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Premenstrual Symptoms
High Cholesterol
High Blood Pressure
Poor Circulation
Cardiovascular disease
Gall Stones

coconut palm

 

Facts at a Glance:

100% Natural
Improves Immune System
Antimicrobial / Antifungal / Antibacterial
Soothes Skin Ailments
Contains Important Vitamins, Minerals & Antioxidants
Easily Absorbed by the Skin
Has High Concentration of Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Cold-Pressed Preserving its Nutrients
Beneficial for Topical Use
Good source of Vegetarian Oil
Cholesterol Free
May Be Used for Cooking Instead of other Oils
Aids in Absorption of Fat-Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K) & Vitamin B
Aids in Absorption of Minerals (Calcium & Magnesium)

Coconut Oil Contains:
Antioxidants
Lauric Acid
Capric Acid
Caprillic Acid
Phytosterols
Carotenoids
Vitamin E
Vitamin K
Trimyristin
Trilaurin

Classification:

Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass Arecidae
Order Arecales
Family Arecaceae – Palm family
Genus Cocos L. – coconut palm
Species Cocos nucifera L. – coconut palm

Additional Reading:

Research on Coconut Oil

Resources

“Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil Profile”. Mountain Rose Herbs. n.d. web. 26 July. 2009
<http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/oilprofile/coconut-virgin.php>

“Virgin Coconut Oil and Your Skin”. 2001. web. 8 Aug. 2010
<http://www.coconut-connections.com/skin_care.htm>

“Coconut”. Coconut Research Center. n.d. web. 8 Aug. 2010
<http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/>

“Coconut Oil”. Healing Daily. n.d. web. 17 Sept. 2010
<http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/coconut-oil.htm>

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 

 

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