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November 23, 2014
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community living

The health benefits of coconuts

By Lynn Wright

Coconuts are one of the most wonderful foods on the planet and can even help save your life.

Every day, more and more people learn how important the coconut is to stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation and hydrating. Coconut milk is the closest thing to human breast milk, and coconut water has even been used intravenously in dire circumstances to save lives. (During World War II in the Pacific Theater, blood plasma supplies were scarce, and medics would siphon pure coconut water from young coconuts to be used as emergency plasma transfusions for soldiers who were injured. Since coconut water is nearly identical to human blood, it was suitable for people of all blood types). Coconut is an excellent immune booster and has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Coconut water has the highest concentration of electrolytes of anything else found in nature. This makes it an excellent source of hydration (much better than sports drinks).

Coconut oil can also protect your teeth from bacteria that can cause cavities and disease. Simply rubbing a little fresh coconut oil on your gums and teeth can keep them stronger and healthier than virtually any other dental treatment, due to the fat-soluble vitamins in coconut and its natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Coconut oil is considered the best and safest oil to use for cooking as it does not break down into free radicals at high heat. And changing your cooking oil from the unsaturated fat variety to coconut oil can help you lose weight. How? Because the unsaturated fats found in canola, corn and other vegetable oils, as well as margarines, suppress the metabolism. This makes it hard to lose weight and easier to gain it. Coconut oil can help to increase thyroid function and boost your metabolism.
Coconut cream is perfect for skin care and to achieve flawless skin. Unlike traditional skin creams which can actually introduce fats and oils to the skin that will break it down over time, making it look older, creams derived from the coconut can actually replenish the skin, giving it a more youthful and healthy glow than most other skin care products on the market.
Young coconuts contain the purest unsaturated fat, compared to the fat found in the more mature varieties. This is why they offer the most rejuvenation properties for the body’s tissues. But how can you tell how old a coconut is? Young coconuts are usually green in color and oddly shaped. The brown hairy ones are mature coconuts, and while they offer a lot of healthy benefits, they aren’t nearly as good for you as younger varieties.

Coconut oil is also good for heart health, although coconut has been the victim of misinformation because it is a source of saturated fats. However, medium-chain saturated fats do not induce the kind of cardiovascular risk associated with long-chain saturated fats. In fact, in recent years, researchers have been re-thinking the link between long saturated fats and heart disease. It must also be stated again that one can expect to derive the health benefits of ingested coconut oil from high-quality virgin products, not from common copra oil. Virgin coconut oil has been shown to increase good (HDL) cholesterol, reduce total cholesterol (due to its anti-inflammatory effects), reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and LDL oxidation and reduce triglycerides.

Dr. Mary Newport’s work on Alzheimer’s and coconut oil has implications for memory improvement as well as for neurological degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS), diabetes, etc.
So go ahead and enjoy coconut oil, coconut flakes, coconut meat, coconut water, and coconut manna. All are building blocks for better health.

[The views presented in The River Reporter’s health features are those of the authors, and are provided for general information only. They should not be taken as a substitute for consultations with your physician or a local treatment center, or as prescribing treatment.]