Return of coconut oil for cooking and for many other things.
Posted on January 16th, 2014

Dr Hector Perera       London

Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries especially in, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Philippines etc, which have a good production of coconut oil. At one time, the oil was also popular in western countries like the United States and Canada, but there was a strong propaganda campaign in the 1970s spread by the corn oil and soy oil industry against coconut oil. Coconut oil was considered harmful for the human body due to its high saturated fat content until the last decade (2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda. Next, let’s look into some more details of how coconut oil works in our body.

How is Lauric acid used by our body?

The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is supposedly helpful in dealing with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Cytomegalovirus is human-to-human transmissible through close bodily contact (coughs and sneezes are also possible routes).  Lauric acid also helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Composition of Coconut Oil:

More than ninety percent of coconut oil consists of saturated fats. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this. Actually in coconut oil, most of the saturated fatty acids are medium chain triglycerides MCT, saturated fatty acids which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems. Lauric acid is the chief contributor, representing more than forty percent of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic.

Poly-phenols: Coconut contains Gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols. The name polyphenolic means it has an aromatic benzene ring structure then there are three OH groups attached to this six sided aromatic ring then at one point of the ring there is a COOH or an acid group. This benzene ring structure is quite common to A2AS level students so even they can understand my simple explanation. Gallic acid is a trihydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid, a type of organic acid, also known as 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid, found in gallnuts, sumac, witch hazel, tea leaves, oak bark, and other plants. So if you drink tea that means you drink this acid, see what I mean?

Heart diseases

There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as you commonly find in vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels [low density lipoproteins], and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.

 Peripheral arterial disease, also known as peripheral vascular disease, is a condition that occurs when there is a blockage in the arteries of your limbs (in most cases, your legs).

The most common symptom of peripheral arterial disease is pain in your legs. This is usually in one or both of your thighs, hips, or calves. The pain can feel like a cramp, or a sensation of dullness or heaviness in the muscles of your legs. The pain usually comes and goes and is worse when doing exercise that uses your legs, such as walking or climbing stairs. Still you need medical advice to find out if you have atherosclerosis but a simple cramp may not be the reason. It may be you watch too much TV by sitting comfortably so don’t be “couch potatoes”, try not to sit down too long at one place.

 Coconut oil, contrary to much hubbub, is good for your heart. It keeps our blood platelets from sticking together (and causing dangerous clots). Regular users of coconut oils have a much lower chance of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and strokes. Coconut oil can lower your blood pressure but watch out, try not to over use.

Immunity

Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Digestion

Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Saturated Fat ” Animal Vs. Coconut

Coconut oil was once believed to cause rapid weight gain if consumed on a regular basis, but as it turns out the opposite it true. The reason for this, and the difference between saturated fat from animal sources, is down to the length of the fatty acids found in coconut oil.

Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, or medium chain triglycerides also known as MCT. MCT are different from the commonly used long chain triglycerides or LCT, found in animal saturated fat sources. LCT are typically stored in the body as fat, while MCT’s are quickly digested and used for energy, and are not readily converted to stored fat.

Evidence of MCTs effects can be seen in tropical cultures like the Sri Lankans and Philippines where the people’s traditional diet is very high in saturated fat from coconut and yet these people are slim, healthy and obesity and heart disease is virtually unheard of.

 Some food based on coconut cream and oil 

I know for a fact that they eat a variety of things made out of coconut based things from breakfast to lunch to supper then in between as well. In the morning some people eat coconut sambol, coconut gravy and string hoppers or fish curry made out of freshly made creamed coconut. I am not giving the whole list of things made there such as “Pittu” and roti which are very delicious with coconut cream and red chilli paste or with red coconut sambol. In their lunch most curries are made out of fresh coconut cream then not forgetting the supper as well. Sometimes they fry sprats, sardines and papadams in coconut oil. Even in Sri Lanka the reputed super markets such as in Cargills, Keels and Arpico, there are bottled “Seeni sambol”, fried fish that are made out of onions, red chillies, Maldive fish and fried in coconut oil. The list is too long to mention here the things they make out of coconut oil. If one argues that coconut oil affects the health of general public then these things must have been banned by the health authorities a long time ago. These bottled delicacies are not just limited to Sri Lanka but they are found in top grade super markets even in England so the health authorities in England should have noticed. The point is any food in excess is not healthy but consumption in moderation is acceptable.

They found out that MCT able to stimulate the metabolism, of which the highest concentration is found in coconut oil. Interestingly, many of those who have moved to cites and adopted western eating habits in place of their own traditional diet have fallen victim to the same health problems we are familiar within our society.

The Return Of Coconut Oil.

Thankfully coconut oil has been an enjoyable comeback recently, steadily gaining recognition as a healthy and nutritious fat, far superior to the damaged fats and oils that have been dominating the market.

Coconut Oil and Cooking

When vegetable oils are heated to high heats for cooking purposes they become damaged, which is bad for our health. Saturated fat like coconut oil tolerates heat much better as it has a higher melting point. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature whereas vegetable oils are already liquid at room temperature. I sometimes use coconut oil for cooking, in place of butter or lard [pig fat].

Also don’t heat olive oil. Olive oil is an excellent, healthy oil but should not be heated at high temperatures as it will quickly become damaged. Save it for salads instead and stick with coconut oil for any cooking need. Coconut oil, contrary to many arguments against, is good for your heart. It keeps our blood platelets from sticking together (and causing dangerous clots). Regular users of coconut oils have a much lower chance of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and strokes. Coconut oil can lower your blood pressure. Only for certain age range people, the medical advice is to check their blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure at least twice an year, for their own benefit. Some people are too busy so perhaps they have post-phoned it, who knows? Your comments are welcomed [email protected]

5 Responses to “Return of coconut oil for cooking and for many other things.”

  1. Nanda Says:

    Our buggers, after getting some science education worship western scientific propaganda .
    For the Kalu Sudda, Darwin become the Buddha.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Some mad idiots once spread the rumor coconut oil creates heart disease. People reduced buying coconuts and coconut growers suffered. Now coconut oil is GOOD!! Everyone wants it.

    Same with drumsticks (Murunga). Some idiots said eating drumsticks causes impotency! What BS! It has more protein per 100g than beef!! And iron, and many other minerals.

    Didn’t Hon Dharmapala say SLs sell their valuable cow’s milk and go after Thuthkoodi (a Tamil Nadu village) Tamil woman’s “dry fish smelling piece”?

  3. Nanda Says:

    Is Murunaga you secret to be vigilant ?

    Modern science is a trick manipulated by the west.
    Our buggers give up Buddhism because of science, but Buddhism itself is the proper science which the west copy.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    No! Omega-3.

    During Premathasa time there was no milk powder, chicken, ice cream, lentils, dry fish, cooking oil, etc., etc. in Jaffna. So we ate brown (Vanni) rice, FISH (a LOT of it. So much that even s**t smelled fishy.) and Murunga for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We HATED it. We suffered that for only a few months a year (school holidays). No shampoo and no good soap either (Didn’t really matter because we look like Viv Richards and Garfield Sobers anyway!). Others for 5 years until CBK came to power.

    But now I see how nutritious it was. NO cholestorol, NO trans fatty acids, NO BS, NO chemicals.

    Today many Jaffna people eat white rice, chicken, Endian sh*t lentils, Endian cooking oil, etc. A LOT of ice cream. What junk. Some posh people don’t like to cook or fry fish in their houses for the stench that stays in the house for days. Thankfully future Jaffna generations will be modayas which is good for SL. If Endian fishermen rob the fish, EVEN BETTER.

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    COCONUT OIL
    Help you lose weight or maintain healthy weight,

    Reduce your risk of heart disease,

    Lower your LDL cholesterol,

    Improve conditions in those with diabetes and chronic fatigue,

    Provide anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agents,

    Increase metabolism and promote healthy thyroid function,

    Boost your energy,

    Rejuvenate your skin and prevent wrinkles

    Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data, Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective. Partial hydrogenation creates dreaded trans fats. It also destroys many of the good essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other positive components present in virgin coconut oil. Not all saturated fats are created equal. Different types of saturated fats behave differently. The main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid increases levels of good HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, and bad LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, in the blood. Lauric acid is a wonder substance with possible antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral properties that could also, in theory, combat H.I.V., clear up acne and speed up the metabolism.

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