September 2, 2014

Trust the Good Old Coconut and its Oil

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By Sheela Rani Chunkath
The New India Express

Excerpts:

Coconut and coconut oil is good for you. Okay, I have made an unqualified and unambiguous statement here. I will be addressing this topic in a couple of articles. First let us look at the ways in which coconut oil had been used for non-food purposes traditionally. In Kerala (India) coconut and coconut oil are used extensively; coconut oil is applied on hair and body before the bath. Ayurveda uses coconut oil extensively in many of their formulations.

If they have a small baby or a child, parents in Kerala often make their own coconut oil at home. Mature coconuts are taken and the coconut meat scraped out. The coconut meat is pureed in the grinder with a little water and the white coconut milk extracted. This is called the ‘first milk.’ A little more water is added to the puree and the residual milk is again extracted and mixed with the first extract. Now you have the coconut milk which is served with appams. Often jaggery or sugar is added to this coconut milk.

However, to make coconut oil you do not add anything to the milk. You just take the extract of the coconut and boil it over a low flame. After about an hour and a half the oil will slowly separate from the coconut puree. In two hours, all the oil will come out. Once the coconut puree turns slightly brown, you can drain the oil and bottle it. This oil is like pure gold, rich in nutrients, with a wonderful aroma and a slightly sweet flavour. I am a total convert to this homemade coconut oil. After using it on my face, I don’t like using any commercially manufactured cream. No wonder Keralites use this oil for massaging their newborn babies. Because of its antifungal and antibacterial properties, and the fact that the skin absorbs the oil and takes it to the tissues, the babies remain healthy and infection-free.

All research shows that coconut oil is the best for maintaining healthy hair. When I was growing up, coconut oil was the only oil that was used daily for oiling our hair. All school-going children in Kerala and Tamil Nadu had their scalp and hair massaged with coconut oil first thing in the morning. It was a ritual where the mother would patiently oil the hair and plait it into braids, and attach a ribbon to it. Unfortunately, the use of coconut oil among the urban population of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is decreasing. This has been because of extensive propaganda by soyabean farmers of the United States who did not want tropical oils such as coconut oil to retain its popularity. The propaganda has been so intense that coconut oil along with ghee is something that the educated urbanite is afraid of.

Read the Full Article Here: http://newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/health/article1482101.ece

The writer was earlier Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu,  and is currently Additional Chief Secretary, and  Chairman and MD, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation.

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Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

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Once again, research into the health benefits of coconut oil is mainly being done outside of the U.S., primarily in coconut-producing countries. Here in the U.S., only pharmaceutical drugs can make health claims, by law. The FDA regulates all health claims, and only allows pharmaceutical companies that have gone through the lengthy and costly drug approval process to make such claims. No company in the U.S. would spend that kind of money on research for a product found in nature that cannot be patented.

A study just published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease looked at Malaysian women suffering from breast cancer. The study discovered that stage 3 and 4 breast cancer women who supplemented their diet with virgin coconut oil during breast cancer treatment improved fatigue, dyspnea, sleep difficulties, and loss of appetite compared to the control group. Virgin coconut oil consumption during chemotherapy also helped improve the functional status and global Quality Of Life of these breast cancer patients. In addition, it reduced the symptoms related to side effects of chemotherapy.

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

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Cold drinks are a popular summer staple that coffeehouses and restaurants make a killing off of every year with their ridiculous prices. However, there is little need to buy them. Making most of these drinks at home is easy, not to mention with far more healthy potential when you control what goes into them.

Adding coconut oil to your blended cold drinks is one way to get your daily dose of coconut oil without it being bothersome or boring. Not only that, but the addition of coconut oil will also give your endurance and energy a boost, keeping you going throughout the day or acting as a quick pick me up along with some natural fruit as the day drags on.

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

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With the saturated fat myth slowly dying out, coconut oil has quickly risen to be a popular and ideal cooking oil. Coconut oil has a bounty of health benefits and is easily customizable. This versatile nature makes it ideal for many different styles of cooking and dishes.

However, not everyone is a fan of the flavor. Here are some tips on making coconut oil tasteless in cooking.

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

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WebMD is the world’s most visited “health” website. They derive their advertising from the pharmaceutical industry, so they have a pro-Pharma slant, as one can expect. It is not typically the place you would go to find information regarding alternative treatments to FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs. If you are contemplating using prescription drugs, it is a great place to get information about the medical industry’s products. If however you are looking for information on products that are not approved as drugs by the FDA, their information will be highly biased.

Due to the increasing popularity of coconut oil and its healing properties, WebMD now has a listing for coconut oil. It is listed in their vitamin and supplement section, since it is not approved as a drug, and since they generally do not provide any health information about foods.

They give the standard pro-Pharma view of coconut oil, which is that, in their view, there are no approved claims for coconut oil. They also warn people that coconut oil could raise cholesterol levels and could be harmful, even while acknowledging that research actually shows the opposite, since coconut oil traditionally lowers LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol (a positive thing.) They also warn that if people eat too much coconut oil, since it is fat, that it could lead to weight gain.

Interestingly, WebMD allows users to comment on these entries, presumably in a format where patients can comment on their own experiences with the vast array of drugs listed on their website. Read what users said about the “miraculous” properties of coconut oil in relation to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, weight control, memory, mood swings, energy, dry skin, dental health, stopping seizures and more.

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

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Fitness junkies, take note: you need coconut oil. Coconut oil straight up, in your protein-rich meals, protein shakes, snacks, pre-workout, post-workout fuel – whatever you choose. Coconut oil can be adapted into your style of eating and seriously enhance the results of the style of fitness you’re into, be it body building, toning, endurance, or general weight and muscle management.

So why add coconut oil into your fitness routine? Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), a high-energy fuel that the body uses to prevent muscle loss, but take off body fat. Coconut oil has a lot of these MCTs. Eat it.

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