By Dr Mark Atkinson
Holistic Medical Physician
MBBS BSc (HONS) FRIPHH FCMA
BETD SAC DIP (Clinical Nutrition)
“Organic virgin coconut oil stands alone as being the healthiest oil that
you can use. It possesses a plethora of health benefits, and the research to
substantiate it. Dr Mark Atkinson strongly encourage
you to make organic virgin coconut oil part of your daily nutritional plan.”
History of Coconut Oil
For about 3960 years of the of the past 4000 years of the documented historical
use of the fruits of the coconut palm as a food and a pharmaceutical, the news
has all been good. It was seen as a sustainable resource from which the
harvested materials influenced every aspect of the lives of tropical
communities, but most importantly its fruit, the coconut flesh, water, milk and
The use of coconut oil around the world in tropical regions is prolific: South
and Central America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Micro-, Mele- and Polynesia and most of Asia. The uses are so respected that they were documented
by Ayurvedic medicine in Sanskrit from 1500BC in all
areas relating to the mind, body and spirit. Early European explorers,
including Captain Cook, wrote affectionately about the beauty of communities
across the Pacific using coconut oil as an integral part of their daily lives.
During WWII the water of the young green coconut was successfully used as a
substitute for a saline drip saving the lives of many allied soldiers. After
the war, in England coconut
oil was sold as "margarine" and in the USA as “coconut butter”.
However, this all changed in 1954 even though it has been known for nearly a
century that coconut oil is more nutritious than other oils.
Over many decades coconut oil received bad publicity due to its saturated fat
content but what the proponents of "saturated fat is bad for you" did
not do was to differentiate between the three different types of saturated fat.
All the saturated fats were simply generalised under
one category, ignoring the fact that some saturated fat is in fact necessary
for human health.
Modern research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike and coconut oil
is unique in its structural make-up due to its medium chain fatty acids - the
closest to those found in human breast milk that nature provides. They are the
reason why coconut oil is used extensively in baby formula and also in sports
drinks and energy bars, where it is usually described as MCT (medium chain tryglycerides). This disguises the fact that some form of
coconut oil has been used! Medium chain fatty acids are more easily digested
than fats found in other oils. This is because they are processed directly in
the liver and immediately converted into energy. There is therefore less strain
on the liver, pancreas and digestive system and, being easily digested, they
also tend to improve the absorption of other nutrients.
Past research has failed to reveal this because it was carried out on
hydrogenated coconut oil - a process that transforms all fats into man-made,
dangerous, carcinogenic trans fatty acids.
Many modern low fat, so called ’healthy’ oils are hydrogenated. Other so called
’healthy’ polyunsaturated oils form toxic free radicals when heated and have
been shown to be associated with over 60 common health complaints.
Significantly, because virgin coconut oil is very stable, it is highly
resistant to free radical generation when heated, even at high temperatures and
is an especially safe oil to cook with.
What is certified organic virgin
coconut oil ?
Pure virgin coconut oil is made from fresh coconuts, NOT copra (used for many
coconut oils) and the resulting product should have a distinct taste and
fragrance. Oils made from copra have to be refined bleached and deodorised to make them fit for human consumption and they
have no fragrance or flavour. These may or may not be
Virgin coconut oil from Merit Food Products is certified through the growing,
harvesting, production, repackaging and labeling of the oil. Any oil that
claims to be organic and does not conform to the above specification,
is NOT organic. For example, if the oil is certified organic in its place of
origin through the above procedures and then repackaged in a location that does
not conform to organic processes, then the oil is no longer organic.
Made with coconuts from traditional palms
- not hybrid varieties
Free of chemicals
Free of GMO ingredients
Manufactured with low level heat (below 60oC)
Certified organic by Australia Certified Organic (holding accredition
with Australian government, IFOAM, JAS, US Department of Agriculture)
What can virgin coconut oil do for me
1. Best for Cooking
To begin with virgin coconut oil is the safest oil to cook with. It does not
contain trans fatty acids and does not break down,
even at high temperatures, unlike other oils.
Much research on the nutritional and medicinal benefits of coconut oil has
surfaced in recent years. Much of that research has been done by Dr. Mary Enig. Dr. Enig has classified
coconuts as a "functional food," which provides health benefits above
and beyond the basic nutrients. As a "functional food," coconut oil
is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against
Coconut oil is known as the “energy fat” and is favoured
by dieters, athletes, and body builders. It is slightly lower in calories than
most other fats and oils and because it is processed in the liver and converted
directly into energy, it can help speed up metabolism.
2. Best for daily use as a skin care products, i.e. soap, moisturizer, oil
massager, hair nourishment, etc.
Although coconut oil is sold as a food product, there
are many people around the world who have used coconut oil for this purpose for
centuries. Should you choose to apply the oil to the hair and scalp, apply 20 –
30 minutes before washing or, for best results, leave
on overnight (placing a clean towel on your pillow to protect it). Wash out the
oil in the morning with a toxin free shampoo.
Why do some say coconut oil is bad for
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
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 and 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, and to once
again become a legitimate part of our daily diet.
To find general information on the researched health benefits of coconut oil in
the diet, simply type coconut oil into the search box of your favourite search engine and you’ll find loads of
Cooking With Coconut
If you are like many Americans and buy one bag of shredded coconut a year, it
is more than likely for this day, for making the fuzzy fur on your Easter bunny
How surprising it is to learn that coconut is one of the most widely used
plants in the world.
"These plants are used in so many ways," said Kristine Ciombor, director of the Mitchell Park Domes.
Of course, the coconut meat is eaten in a variety of forms, in many different
cuisines. It also is used in folk medicine as an anti-fungal agent, a claim
supported by medical studies, Ciombor said. Also, the
shell can be used for fuel, the fiber from the husk can be woven into a
rattan-like cloth and rope, and the trunk is used for lumber. Even the immense
fronds are used as a tropical roofing material.
The coconut figures prominently in an annual tour of the Tropical Dome
highlighting the plants of the rain forest. Its many uses astonish visitors, Ciombor said.
"It is alien to our culture to use a plant so intensively," she said.
Unfamiliarity with coconut, that’s strike one.
On top of that, the coconut gets a bum rap for both taste and nutrition. We’re
most familiar with coconut after it’s been shredded, dried and sweetened with
sugar - some people dislike the super-sweet taste.
And here’s strike three: Coconut is also one of the few non-animal sources of
saturated fat, the kind that causes cholesterol levels to rise.
But before you dismiss coconut as your once-a-year purchase, consider the
richness it lends to foods.
It harkens the warm breezes and tropical drinks of a Jamaican vacation, tempers
the fire of a Thai curry and makes an ordinary cupcake a wee bit sweeter.
Taste not foreign to some
"Indonesians claim that coconuts have as many uses as there are days in
the year," according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
They’re as commonplace as bananas are here, said Milwaukeean Dewi Metra, a native of Indonesia.
"We have them everywhere, and they’re cheap," she said.
Metra said it’s not unusual to see a child playing
with a coconut shell in place of a ball or to see coconut shells put to use in
other ways. She owns a salad set made out of polished coconut shell.
Coconut can be consumed well before it reaches the dried stage that Westerners
recognize, with the hard brown shell and firm white flesh. Unripe coconuts,
called green coconuts, have a soft white shell and are encased in a green outer
pod that gives the coconut the shape of a one-sided football.
At this point, the juice of the coconut can be drunk; Metra
recalls seeing roadside vendors who would remove the outer casing, punch a hole
into the coconut and stick a straw into the middle.
"It’s actually very refreshing, better than water," said Tina Bajwa of Germantown.
Bajwa is originally from India, another country where
coconuts are well utilized.
At this stage in the coconut’s development, the meat of the coconut has a
jellylike consistency, which can be scooped and eaten right out of the shell.
Once the coconut is fully matured, it is harvested (sometimes using trained
monkeys to climb the tree and knock them down). The coconut pods are removed
and the fruit is set out to dry. That’s when the shell hardens and the coconut
becomes the form we recognize from the grocery store: Hard brown shell covered
with fibrous strings and containing three "eyes" or holes. Inside,
there’s a little water plus the rich, white flesh.
The flesh is eaten as is, or it is processed into coconut milk or coconut oil.
Coconut milk is best for cooking especially for Thai exotic food, Indian food,
Malaysian food, Indonesian food and Filipino food. For Western food, coconut
milk in particular is used in place of water or milk in stews, puddings and
Coconut oil is used to make soap, shampoo, detergent and hand lotion and is
used in candy ,baked goods or used in place of other
vegetable oil in salad dressing.
In cultures where coconuts are plentiful, the fruit is sometimes used in
candies and other goodies. But it is used most often in savory dishes.
Dana De Winter, executive chef at the Milwaukee Woman’s Club, isn’t daunted by
the people who say they don’t care for the taste of coconut. She sneaks it in
"Whenever I put a coconut dessert on the buffet table, it always goes over
well," she said. That goes for traditional coconut desserts, such as
coconut-swirled brownies and macaroons, as well as more unfamiliar fare. She
also uses it in tropical or Thai-inspired dishes.
And when making mashed sweet potatoes and plantains, she uses coconut milk in
place of butter and milk.
"People may not realize it’s even there, but it adds a richness of flavor.
It gives such good results."
She recommends that home cooks track down the unsweetened form for desserts,
because "if it’s sweetened already, it can be overkill."
About those health concerns
Enjoying the taste of coconut occasionally isn’t going
to blow your diet plans.
"In my 30 years as a dietitian I’ve never had anybody binge on
coconut," joked Milwaukee
dietitian Mary Rader.
Yet there’s no denying that coconut is high in saturated fat; 2 tablespoons of
flaked, sweetened coconut contains 70 calories, 45 of which come from fat.
Coconut meat itself is 64% fat.
"But I’ve never seen a person’s weight or cholesterol problems coming from
coconut," Rader said.
Overview: the history and health benefits of coconuts and coconut oil
See more articles like this one at www.Newstarget.com
Original news summary: (http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch58.html)
The coconut palm rates higher than the family cow to one third of the world’s
You can probably guess these people live in the tropical countries where the
coconut tree is intertwined with life itself, from the food they eat to the
beverages they drink.
Others believe the coconuts were brought to the different regions of the
tropics by explorers and sea travelers.
The coconut is considered a highly nutritious food.
The white meat also contains coconut oil the tropical natives use for cooking.
Because the short-and medium-chain fatty acids of extra virgin coconut oil and
coconut milk are easily and quickly assimilated by the body, they are not
stored as fat in the body like the long chain triglycerides of animal products.
To collect the sap, workers climb the tree morning and evening and bruise the
coconut flowering stalk that starts to ooze sap.
The liquid actually begins to ferment while still on the tree, but the alcohol
content increases considerably with longer fermentation of the toddy.
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera,
is considered a "three generation tree," supporting a farmer, his
children, and his grandchildren.
Canned coconut cream has a good range of B vitamins except B12, with 42.3 mcg
of folic acid and 5.3 mg of vitamin C.
Coconut Milk: For the same measure, canned coconut milk contains 445 calories,
5 grams protein, and 6 grams of carbohydrate.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has 120 calories for 1 tablespoon and 14 grams of
Coconut water contains a full range of B vitamins with the exception of vitamin
B6 and B12.