When asked to think of a tropical setting, many people think about palm trees, sandy beaches, pina coladas, fresh coconut milk sipped straight from the coconut, and of course, happy islanders.
The tree of life in tropical settings has always been the coconut tree, which provided food, drink and fuel to islanders for thousands of years. It was a necessary staple to their survival.
Study after study found that the happy islanders had more going for their health than we did as Americans. Their rates of cancer, diabetes, and degenerative diseases are nowhere near ours in the United States. Many health practitioners and researchers believe that the oils the tropical islanders consume are very protective.
History Set Our American Preferences
In the last few decades in America, edible oil (corn, sunflower, safflower, soy, and vegetable) manufacturers have marketed their oils heavily, emphasizing health benefits of unsaturated oils, and the lone coconut ended up with a bad rap about its saturated fat content along with a fear that it could cause plaque accumulation in the arteries. However, coconut oil liquefies once inside the body, and scientists have determined that arterial plaques are mostly a result of a combination of rancid unsaturated fats with the effects of adrenaline produced from stress.
Coconut oil research has now cracked open benefits of this life-giving tropical delight: better thyroid function, a stronger immune system, smoother skin, and better blood sugar regulation, even for diabetics. These are exactly some of the major issues we want solved in the 21st century.
It's the coconut's short and medium chain fatty acids with carbon chain lengths of 2 to 6 and 8 to 12, respectively that still are a requirement for our biochemistry; one that hasn't been met in recent years because of our consumption of trans fats and domestic animals fed grain. All medium-chain fats can enter cells easily, and one of them, lauric acid, according to Dr. Mary Enig, is strong in anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-protozoan, and anti-fungal properties. Capric acid, another of coconut's healing fats, has strong anti-microbial actions. Adding coconut oil regularly to our foods can strengthen our immune system.
A Little Piece of the Tropics for Your Thyroid
With so many chemicals and pesticides in our environment with known negative effects on the thyroid gland, coconut oil is a perfect natural solution. GW Crile and his wife found that in the Yucatan, the metabolic rate of the people was 25% higher than people in the US By 1950, it was established that unsaturated fats without a high level of antioxidants suppress the metabolic rate and create hypothyroidism.
The more unsaturated an oil is, the more it suppresses tissue response to thyroid hormone and the transport of thyroid hormone to the rest of the body, according to Dr. Raymond Peat, Ph.D. Coconut oil supports thyroid function and thyroid governs metabolic rate, and weight control. Many health practitioners are prescribing a little piece of the tropics: three tablespoons coconut oil per day added to the diet for those with thyroid abnormalities, and they're finding that over time, the thyroid gland is normalizing itself and the pounds seem to melt off .
Recently published research also shows lipid-normalizing activities, helpful for those with elevated cholesterol and protection against alcohol damage to the liver. Women have discovered a fountain of youth in coconut oil, raving about benefits to the skin's external appearance when applied topically. One woman stated her cosmetologist said she had never seen such rapid improvement in human skin before.
Coconut oil's unique taste adds a burst of tropical flavor to traditional wok dishes (simply substitute coconut oil for other oils), sautéed vegetable dishes, in smoothies, in muffin and pancake recipes (substitute the oil),
So delight in the tropics and give coconut oil a fighting chance; find ways to incorporate this restorative food into your current recipes.