The coconut tree is called the ‘Kalpavriksh’, or the tree of life. Revered across the tropics, the coconut is of central importance to people living in the Indian subcontinent. The coconut is ingrained in cuisine, culture, festivities and medicine. It is said that he who plants a coconut tree in his backyard ensures food, drink, utensils, a heat source, and medicine for his home; and a heritage for his children.
Ayurvedic texts dating back over 2000 years document the many uses of the coconut, coconut milk, coconut water, and coconut oil – as a food, and as a medicine. Communities around the tropics have revered the coconut for its many health-giving and healing properties.
VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
Virgin coconut oil is called ‘nature’s miracle oil’. It is a well deserved title for reasons we explain below.
Virgin coconut oil is nature’s richest source of a unique group of fats called medium-chain triglycerides. These fats digest uniquely in our bodies, and have so many positive effects on our state of health that people often ask how one oil can do so many things. These fats – we will call them MCTs for short – break down in our bodies to form some of the most powerful immune-boosting agents known in nature. That isn’t all. They help boost energy, metabolism and improve digestive function, prevent the deposition of unwanted fats, and are wonderful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral agents as well.
POLITICS & VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
Modern medicine, is only just discovering the many benefits of the coconut. It is all the rage in the United States, with people even coming around to advocating the daily consumption of other healthy fats like ‘ghee’. (Remember people telling you ghee has cholesterol and will make you a bloated balloon? Turns out that isn’t true at all folks! But that is another discussion, for another time. Sigh.)
However, extracts of the coconut have long been used – since the 1970s at least – for premature babies. It is the main ingredient in sports formula and baby food, in anti-fungal creams, eczema medication, and for people who have cystic fibrosis (issues with digesting fats).
Unfortunately, oil lobbies – the vegetable kind (yes, these exist too!) – have succeeded in making the best of us believe that something what we used to eat for generations here in India, and what had probably kept us healthy for the longest time, was an ‘artery-clogging saturated fat’.
Coconut and coconut oil were in fact so villified by the 1980s, that 30 years down the line, doctors still ask us to stop eating coconut and coconut products. Here’s the irony: much of the world’s coconut oil is currently being exported to the United States, which just 30 years ago, was convinced that coconut is as bad for you as hydrogenated oil.
To the detriment of our own health, this could not be further from the truth. Research now shows how effective coconut extracts have been in boosting immunity, energy, metabolism, and have even been shown to be useful in delaying dementia and Alzheimers. Coconut and coconut oil have no adverse effect on cholesterol, diabetes or blood sugar. This debate is long and extensive. I encourage you to Read more here, and read ‘The Coconut Oil Miracle‘ by Dr. Bruce Fife.