Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spread your bread thickly with butter and lose weight? Do so with coconut butter and experts claim you can. Eating 3 tablespoons of this pure fat per day has been proven to help regain balance in the body, prevent sunburn, have antiseptic properties internally, moisturize skin deeply and be an effective and safe deodorant. The last two require external application.
Cold pressed virgin coconut oils, that have been naturally extracted, are helping thousands of people around the globe(i) lose weight, fight numerous diseases and generally promote health. Diets suggesting you cut all fats, carbohydrates, sugars (fruit) or other food groups out of our ‘diet’ can only conjure anarchy. Balancing your diet is important. Doing so will naturally balance your weight to the optimum for your body. Drastic weight loss diets tend to tell us things, if we thought about rationally, we’d not agree with. Those promoting moderate daily exercise, removing all processed foods, replacing convenience with cooking and eating more whole foods, generally do not sell as well as spectacular promises, magic drink formulations and other ‘essential’ products which they will gladly sell you. Understanding of food leads us to change our choices naturally. The more we know about refined fats, sugars, flours and even meats, the less desirable they become.
Really bad fats are hydrogenated fats. They are simply put: unnatural.
Hydrogenation is a process of heating up fats (heat creates free radicals) and bubbling hydrogen through them, in the presence of a metal catalyst (depending on budget, either a toxic metal such as nickel or platinum). The point of all this hoo-ha is to make the oil solid at room temperature and last longer. Coconut ‘oil’ naturally begins to melt at 76oF/25oC, retaining a solid state at room temperature. Thus it is often referred to as a ‘butter’, which does not require refrigeration. It already has a long shelf life with minimal deterioration. As do cocoa butter and palm oil. These once prevalent and popular forms of fats were ostracized from western society, in favor of chemically altered, mass produced and previously un-consumed, nontraditional oils.
Coconut butter’s health benefits come from its high lauric acid content and quality saturated fat, and a great cholesterol free fat. Lauric acid promotes immune function and studies show that prevalent monolaurin is able to destroy lipid coated viruses and bacteria including influenza, herpes and HIV, and is abundant with medium chain triglycerides which the liver is able to utilize in a similar way to carbohydrates as fuel. Swift digestion, aided by the liver, means that the fat is used rather than floating around our blood stream. Thus it cannot be painted as an artery clogging fat! MCT’s have also been shown to have thyroid supporting mechanisms, increasing ones metabolic rate.
Furthermore, the cells in our body are comprised primarily of saturated fats. By eating a natural form of these saturated fats your cellular health with improve, or at the very least not deteriorate as fast leaving the consumer with healthier, hydrated skin, and protected internally from free radical damage. The easiest way to reap these benefits is to swap animal/vegetable fats in your diet for coconut butter. The taste of coconut on your morning toast may not appeal to all. So try adding it to banana or berry smoothies. With a smoking temperature of 232oC/450oF you can bake it into cakes or use it in stirfry and curries. Sweet sandwiches such as bannana or jam taste good with it. My favourite application is to make an icing with whipped coconut butter, honey and real vanilla. Then sandwich yo-yo cookies together. It works just as well as a chocolate icing by adding cocoa, or melting it with dark chocolate and pouring.
Keeping with a tropical theme fish are crammed with omega-3s(ii) – particularly fatty, cold-water fish. Try to get hold of wild (not farmed) salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel. The suggested amount is two to three serves a week (but a combination of concern over heavy metal ‘bioaccumulation’(iii) in fish, coupled with a concern over fishing malpractice and over fishing, means I don’t eat fish… no matter how I miss it). Other forms of omega 3s are available in fortified eggs, flax seed, and walnuts. These super-foods have the added benefit of being high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol. Look for eggs that are fortified by having been fed flaxseed, not fish meal.
(i) In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan,, Nigeria. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7.
and COCONUT OIL: Atherogenic or Not?, By Conrado S. Dayrit, MD. FACC. FPCC. FPCP , Philippine Journal Of CARDIOLOGY, July-September 2003, Volume 31 Number 3:97-104
and Antigenotoxicity of Dietary Coconut Oil, By Clara Lim-Sylianco, A.P. Guevara, L. Sylianco-Wu, University of the Philippines – Institute of Chemistry, College of Science, Science Diliman, Vol 4, No 1 (1992). Republished at http://www.coconutoil.com/index.html
and ‘Living Earth’ http://www.raw-chocolate.net/superfoods.php?ancient-superfood=coconut
and ^ De Deckere, E.A. (July 1999). “Possible beneficial effect of fish and fish n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast and colorectal cancer”. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 8 (3): 213–221. PMID 10443950 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10443950
and Lands, William E.M. (May 1992). “Biochemistry and physiology of n–3 fatty acids“. FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) 6 (8): 2530–2536. PMID 1592205. Retrieved on 21 March 2008. at www.fasebj.org/cgi/reprint/6/8/2530/
(iii) Bioaccumulation is when a toxic substance that cannot be expelled from the body, is prevalant/introduced into an environment (such as heavy metals into the ocean), as you move up the food chain and bigger animals (say fish) eat the smaller ones, the levels of said toxic substance accumulates in the creatures higher in the ecosystem in question. We then fish the biggest fish and bioaccumulate the heavy metals ourselves.