Edible oils are found in large amounts in our daily diets hence adding up to a great amount of fatty acids in our system. Examples are in our stews, some soups, several rice dishes, fried or grilled meat and fish. Many have thus perceived that oil has been the cause for several of the ailments that have plagued and still plague our race, especially heart disease and other related cholesterol issues (Blonz, 1991).Nature gives the best source of oils, such as palm kernel and coconut oil. Coconut oil was maligned as one of such oils by the American Soybean Association (ASA), when the true cause was rather the vegetable oils in our food. Why was coconut oil the victim and what truly does coconut oil do? Coconut is scientifically known as Cocos nucifera.
Coconut oil, just one of the many products from the coconut plant, comprises medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found also in breast milk, which strengthen the immunity of babies to diseases.Coconut oil is in two main types; RBD (Refined, bleached and deodorized) coconut oil and Virgin coconut oil (the others that are often seen on the market are just versions of these two).The difference is characterized by the amount of processing the oil undergoes.
RBD oils are made from dried coconut meat, ‘copra’ as Virgin oil is made from fresh coconut meat, ‘non-copra’. Another method for differentiating them is by their smell and taste (Fife, 2005). Virgin coconut oil is highly favoured due to its flavoured taste and sweet aroma in comparison to its counterpart, RBD oil which is bland. Coconut oil is referred to generally as the “functional food” by dieticians, since it possesses health benefits beyond its nutritional content.
Diabetic and hypoglycaemic patients have at certain instances being prescribed coconut oil, based on scientific evidence that it gives the user energy, much more than those found in glucose or insulin, not fat as do the other oils (vegetable oils) we take in daily, which contain long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) which require the pancreatic enzymes and bile from the gall bladder, necessary for fat digestion. After breakage of the LCFAs, the individual fatty acids are then absorbed into the intestinal walls and converted into little fat bundles (lipoproteins). As the lipoproteins circulate the body through the blood, small fats are released from them, thus causing the fat that collects in arteries, clogging blood flow and thus leading to atherosclerosis and its kind.
LCFAs are found largely in vegetable oils which we consume incessantly every day, in our meals, like our beef, chicken, some butter, corn and in most palm oils. MCFAs on the other hand, are easily soluble in water so they are easily taken into the intestinal tract, needing very little activity from the enzymes and bile, thus travel straight to the liver through the portal vein as they bypass the lipoprotein formation stage. So, they do not circulate the blood as other fats do they just produce the needed energy for the body’s usage. This was proven by Applegate (1996) as essential for use by even athletes and some other professionals. Due to the easy ability of MCFAs to be digested, they tend to also improve the absorption of nutrients, taken with it.
The inclusion of coconut oil in diets, enhances calcium, fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and some of the B vitamins uptake by the body, this is possible by the coconut oil being able to quickly get into the bloodstream as it needs less work done on it by the enzymes and other factors present. The coconut oil can be applied on the skin of patients or people whofind it difficult to ingest substances or have problems with their digestive tracts. Consumers of coconut oil have also testified that, it serves as a sort of weight manager. The underweight and malnourished have testified that it increased their weight considerably, as the overweight and obese said they experienced loss in weight, all because the presence of coconut oil controls the rate of metabolism. Metabolism is evaluated by measuring energy expenditure, which is the rate at which calories are consumed.
The MCFAs found in coconut oil, according to research has been seen to cure, even prevent the most infectious of diseases, making it difficult for fungal (ringworm, athlete’s foot and candidiasis), bacterial (ulcers, pneumonia and gonorrhoea) and viral (influenza, measles, hepatitis C) infections to exist in any condition in which they both exist. For this reason, many medical professionals have instilled the practice of adding coconut oil to their formulas. These sightings of the antimicrobial property of coconut oil, were first reported by Jon Kabara, Ph.D. in 1966, when trying to solve food preservation problems. Parasites, such as giardia were also discovered to be affected by this action of the oil. According to Fife (1996), the antimicrobial action undertaken by coconut oil, can be briefly explained based on the size of the trans fatty acid (medium) and its reaction when in man.
The MCFAs in coconut oil (namely, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid) are broken down to short-chain fatty acids, SCFAs (monolaurin, monocaprylin and monocaprin); only then, do they become activated in the digestive tract. Each SCFA has a specific function, thus they synergistically work together to destroy germs. As a result, studies are on the path to obtain the cures for the currently tormenting infirmities that we live with, AIDS and SARS, to name a few are still under the microscope, undergoing gruesome tests to see how best they can be eradicated. Truly nature is serving us with a panacea, but whether we’ll take it depends on us.
To further buttress on the attributed medical prowess possessed by coconut oil, consider Porfirio (Paul) Sorse, a Filipino, who later turned an American because the Philippines were a U.S. territory and served as cook in the First World War. Paul was considered by many as a remarkable individual who lived by coconut oil. He was hailed by those living close to him as a physician, all because he miraculously cured many conditions with the application of coconut oil to the affected region, be it internal or external. He was even approached by somepharmaceutical companies, all in search for his secret formula in making the oil, which he refused. Paul used the oil for every imaginable use; as a lotion, in cooking, as a drug, for massages and the lot.
Paul died at the ripe age of 102, not suffering any ailment, as he never smoked or drunk in his entire life but survived on coconut oil (Fife, 2005). Coconut oil can cure every ailment in this world though not yet completely proven with scientific facts for some of them. Many ailments have so far being treated with coconut oil and have been flushed out of the systems of the ill.
Though the list is quite lengthy, it contains many familiar names, a few include; aches and pains, acne, allergies, arthritis and stiff joints, asthma, athlete’s foot, atherosclerosis, bad breath and body odour, insect bites and stings, bladder infection, bacterial and viral infections, blisters, blood pressure, boils, bruises, cancer, candidiasis, cataracts, colds, liver disease, constipation, dandruff, diabetes, insomnia, indigestion, nose bleed, obesity, ulcer and wrinkles. As a medicine, coconut oil can also be included in diets to treat illnesses, that is serving as cooking oil or even just mixed with any food. It can also be applied on the skin as a lotion, hair pomade, massaging oil or suntan oil.
The direct application of coconut oil to the skin, allows the body easily get access to the nutrients for energy, as a result giving the skin the much sought smoothness that the ailment might have tampered with. In other words producing a more happy, healthy and beautiful handsome you free from any ailment as the immunity of the human is enhanced. These facts go a long way to disprove the evidence provided, that coconut oil is the cause of heart diseases and explains why coconut lovers or coconut bearing communities live longer and experience at times no illness in their lives.
Applegate, L. (1996). Runners World. Nutrition, (31), 26-27. Blonz, E.R. (1991, January 23). Scientists revising villain status of coconut oil. Oakland Tribune, p. 22. Fife, B. (2005). Coconut cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut. Colorado: Piccadilly Books Limited. Fife, B. (1996). Coconut: Eat fat, Lose weight. Retrieved April 3, 2011 from the World Wide Web: http://www.simplycoconut.com//