Coconut: The Tree of Life
Did you know... Nineteenth century American cookbooks promoted and prized coconut oil for its stability that allows it to remain fresh and not turn rancid quickly as many oils do. As it turns out, it also appears to have important health benefits.
Beginning several decades ago saturated fats received extensive bad publicity and their use declined. Until today, very few people know about the potential benefits of including coconut oil in the diet.
Research now shows the body needs some saturated fat for optimum health and virgin coconut oil is a good source since it contains easily digestible medium chain triglycerides (MCT). These MCT have been shown to increase metabolism and stimulate the thyroid which can result in weight loss.
Coconut Oil and Cholesterol Levels
Coconut oil can also have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Research shows using coconut oil in place of many other cooking oils can result in better HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio.
Studies conducted on people whose diets included quite a bit of coconut and coconut oil concluded that coconut oil does not lead to increased serum cholesterol nor increased risk of death due to coronary heart disease.
Recommended Coconut Oil
There is no comparison between organic coconut oil, with its light taste, pleasant aroma, and pure white color, and industrialized coconut oil, with its bland taste, faint aroma, and off-white color. Please note that any tiny brown specks found at the bottom of Nutiva's Coconut oil are from the coconut fiber and are indigenous to extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Can improve metabolism
- Can help improve ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol
- Naturally trans-fatty acid free
Coconut in Other Forms
Coconut flour is high in protein and fiber. The flour is also gluten-free. It can be used to make excellent breads, muffins and snacks for those avoiding grains and gluten.
Coconut cream and milk contain vitamins K, C, E and B6. Coconut milk also contains the important nutrients zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, selenium, calcium, iron and protein.
Coconut milk and cream can be utilized in smoothie and ice cream recipes, and as a substitute in cooked foods. Those who follow a Paleo diet utilize coconut cream and milk as do those who need to avoid dairy products for allergy reasons.
Desiccated coconut - a favorite with bakers! Dried, unsweetened coconut is finely ground for use in cookies, cakes, breads, and other recipes. Don't confuse it with the "sweetened flaked coconut" on store shelves.
Coconut flakes or chips are related to desiccated unsweetened coconut, only with bigger flakes.
Coconut nectar is a low-glycemic sweetener made from the sap of coconut trees. Though it does not have a coconut flavor, it is rich in amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Use it wherever you would use honey or maple syrup.
Coconut vinegar is similar to apple cider vinegar, except it's made with coconut water. It is rich in electrolytes and enzymes.
Coconut aminos are a blend of 17 amino acids, which are harvested from coconut trees and mixed with mineral-rich sea salt. The dark liquid is used as a replacement for soy sauce.
Coconut yogurt is simply yogurt made with fermented coconut milk instead of fermented cow, sheep, or goat milk. It is a terrific choice for anyone who is allergic to dairy products.
Coconut keefir like its cousin, coconut yogurt, is nothing more than a fermented "yogurt" drink made with coconut milk instead of dairy milk.
Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil
Have you heard of oil-pulling? It's become quite a hot topic. Oil pulling is when you swish oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes or so. While it's new to a lot of us, it's not new to Ayurvedic medicine; in fact, it's been around for centuries!
What does oil pulling do? It is said to attract bacteria to the fat, "pulling" it out of your mouth and off of your teeth and gums. As a result, one should have fewer cavities, reduce or remove risk of gingivitus, whiten teeth and reduce tooth sensitivity. It also lays claim to helping bad breath. You should still brush and floss, but adding oil pulling to your oral hygiene could be beneficial.
How to put oil pulling into practice: Warm 1 tablespoon coconut oil and swish around your mouth gently for 10 to 20 minutes before brushing your teeth. Do this three or four times a week.
Interesting Coconut Facts
- Immerse coconut in water for 1/2 hour to remove its husk.
- Every bit of the coconut is used. Due to this fact, coconuts are called the "Tree of Life" and can produce drink, fiber, food, fuel, utensils, musical instruments, and much more.
- When intra venous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors during World War II and Vietnam used coconut water in substitution of IV solutions.
- In 16th century, Sir Francis Drake called coconut "nargils", which was the common term used until the 1700's when the word coconut was established.
- It takes 11 to 12 months for the coconut to mature.
Curb Appetite. Take a spoonful before meals to curb appetite so you don't overeat.
Wrinkles. Rub into lines, creases, and wrinkles to rehydrate skin and soften those wrinkles away.
Sore Throat. Dissolve a spoonful in your mouth and let it slowly roll down the throat. This will coat and protect the throat, boost the health of mucus membranes, and fight any infection.
Ring Worm. Rub coconut oil onto affected area to kill the fungus that causes unsightly ringworm. Add tea tree oil to clear the infection even faster.
Lip Balm. Coconut oil hydrates and protects lips. Coconut even offers some protection from the sun, about an SPF 4.
Cold Sore. Coconut oil has antiviral properties that will help the body get rid of the virus that causes cold sores. Rub it on when needed and add a drop of oregano oil to speed healing.
Lubricant. Coconut makes an all-natural personal lubricant for intimate moments without chemicals, but it should not be used with condoms as oils tend to compromise the integrity of your protection.
Chicken Pox. Ease the itch and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil. It also works on poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites, and other insect stings or bites.
Yeast Infections. Coconut oil fights these fungal infections internally and externally.
Energy. Coconut oil and its medium chain triglycerides make it an excellent energy source to improve stamina, endurance, or just to give you a boost through the day.
Deodorant. Mix coconut oil with cornstarch, baking soda, and your favorite essential oils for a natural deodorant that smells fantastic.
Eye Cream. Reduce puffiness and dark circles with a few dabs of coconut oil.
Eczema. Coconut oil reduces the itchiness, pain, flakiness, and dryness of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Sunburn. Coconut oil can help prevent sunburn for short exposures. When you burn, it will also speed healing and take some of the sting away. Make sure you wait until all the heat has dissipated before applying it or you trap the heat in. Wait 24 to 72 hours depending on the extent of the burn.
Hemorrhoids. Coconut oil eases the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids and encourages natural healing both internally and externally.
Nose Bleeds. Rub a bit of coconut oil in nostrils to fight the dry cracking that can lead to nose bleeds and pain.
Canker Sores. Dab coconut oil on canker sores to kill infection and speed up healing. Coconut oil is also a far tastier way to treat canker sores than most other methods.
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