Coconut Oils Benefits: The Incredible Power of Coconut Oil

In the 1960’s, food manufacturers wanted consumers to buy their margarines and hydrogenated oils. To do that, they had to “discredit” the products people had always used in their homes to prepare their food.

Olive oil, coconut oil, and lard were no longer “good for you,” they said. The marketing campaign for their synthetic products began and coconut oil was portrayed as an artery-clogging and cholesterol-raising substance. People were told that it contained too much saturated fat and contributed to heart attacks.

Flash forward four decades later. In the midst of an obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer explosion, scientists discover that it is not healthy fats found in coconut oil and other natural products that are bad for you.

It is the very goods the food manufacturers had been pushing on their consumers for thirty years. The trans-fats contained in these “fake foods” were incredibly dangerous to your entire body. High fat, high sugar, and high carb diets were put under the microscope and found guilty.

Over-processed, pre-made synthetic foods filled with additives, preservatives, dyes, and high levels of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other unnatural fillers were found to be the true culprits of the Western world’s health decline.

After all these years, coconut oil is getting the positive scientific attention it deserves. There’s a reason cultures around the world have been using it for thousands of years. The benefits of coconut oil have filled entire books. There are very good reasons for that. Let’s talk a little about the history.

coconut oil

Coconut Oil’s Bad Rap

How did the food manufacturers manage to discredit an oil used by civilizations throughout history that didn’t experience the rate of disease that we in the United States currently face?

Dr. Thomas Brenna of Cornell University explained the magic trick the food industry pulled on this amazing oil. “Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective.”

His research made it clear that natural, organic coconut oil was not the culprit. Once coconut oil is chemically altered to a hydrogenated state, it is no longer natural or organic. They are two very different products and have opposite effects on the human body.

Dr. Brenna’s findings were supported by Dr. Ancel Keys.

In the 1950s, Dr. Keys suspected a link between heart disease and hydrogenated oils. He began a series of studies to test his hypothesis. He investigated a Wisconsin dairy farmer whom initially had cholesterol levels that neared 1000, exceptionally higher than the United States “normal” range of 200-230.

Dr. Keys put him on a diet that replaced margarine with coconut oil. His cholesterol level dropped to 300 in one week. He changed the man’s diet again, adding back the margarine that had been part of his daily food intake. Within days, his cholesterol went back up. On a side note, the topic of cholesterol and heart disease is a topic for another article altogether. Despite what you hear, the research actually indicates that cholesterol does not cause heart disease.

This particular experiment raised public awareness and there were health concerns by consumers. The vegetable oil industry proceeded to divert the public’s attention by criticizing and attacking all tropical oils – particularly coconut oil. The soybean industry followed suit. Soon enough, the public quieted down and the manufacturers went back to “business as usual.”

A group of researchers published a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1981 about their study of two groups of Polynesians. Both groups were instructed to consume coconut oil as their primary source of energy. The results showed positive circulatory and vascular functions in both populations. There was no indication that high saturated fat intake caused harm. The “French Paradox” – a study on low death rates related to coronary heart diseases despite increased intake of saturated fat – confirmed their findings.

coconut oil

The Unique Coconut Oil Benefits

With the advancement of modern technology and breakthroughs in science, numerous studies in the past decade have proven coconut oil to be a “good” saturated fat and incredibly healthy.

Pure coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is converted to monolaurin by your body. In fact, 50% of coconut oil is lauric acid, a compound usually found in human breast milk, which makes it one of the best food sources of this nutrient available. Lauric acid is beneficial in deterring parasites, bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and viruses.

Coconut oil also consists of 86.5% saturated fatty acids, 5.8% monounsaturated fatty acids, and 0% trans-fat. It is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), contrary to vegetable or seed oils consisting of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). LCFAs are stored in the body as LDL cholesterol, contribute to hardening of the arteries, and strain the pancreas and liver.

MCFAs support the immune system with its antimicrobial properties. They are easily digested and converted to energy. Studies indicate that MCFAs help increase feelings of fullness and lead to a reduction in calorie intake when compared to the same amount of calories from other fats. When MCFAs are metabolized, ketone bodies are created in the liver. Ketone bodies have been shown to have a strong appetite reducing effect. Coupled with its stimulatory effect on metabolism, it’s easy to see why coconut oil makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

In the 1930s, Dr. Weston Price, a dentist by profession, traveled throughout the South Pacific to examine traditional diets and their effects on dental hygiene and overall health. He observed that people whose diets contain high amounts of coconut products were healthy and trim. Despite their high fat intake, there was no existence of heart disease.

Another study in the 1940s found that when farmers used coconut oil as a fattening substance for their livestock, the animals became leaner instead. The high levels of MCFA in coconut oil maintain the thyroid gland’s optimal control of metabolism, ultimately resulting in weight loss.

In the past decades, society has been misinformed to believe that eliminating saturated fats from their diet was necessary for healthy living. We’ve been told that shunning these fats would prevent the occurrence of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Raw, organic, virgin coconut oil is considered a superfood because it helps increase cardiovascular function, heals damaged cells that can lead to cancer and other disease, and cleanses the body.

People worldwide are now realizing the numerous  coconut oil benefits. The truth is, it provides us with crucial nutrients not found anywhere else and is indeed a healthier choice for total body wellness.

The Real Problem With Bread, It’s Probably Not Gluten

The Real Problem with Bread (It’s Probably Not Gluten)

One wheat scientist has a compelling theory.

—ByTom Philpott

Considering that you can now find gluten-free everything, from Bisquick to bagels, it seems remarkable that our national obsession with the wheat protein that gives bread its elasticity is only about a decade old. Doctors have long known about a relatively rare condition called celiac disease, in which gluten damages the small intestine. But in recent years, best-selling books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain have popularized the notion that gluten is the hidden culprit behind a host of hard-to-diagnose health problems, from indigestion to fatigue. Once you excise bread and other wheat products from your diet, the books claim, you’ll be on the path to everything from top mental performance to a svelte figure.

There’s no scientific consensus on how prevalent gluten sensitivity is, what triggers it, or even if it exists at all.

The message has been quite lucrative, and not just for publishers. According to the market research firm Mintel, sales of foods labeled “gluten-free” surged 44 percent between 2011 and 2013, reaching an estimated $10.5 billion. TGI Friday’s now offers an entire menu devoted to the category, complete with a burger served in a “gluten-sensitive bun.” Crave mac and cheese but avoiding gluten? Annie’s has you covered. Oreos? Boulder, Colorado-based Glutino offers a gluten-free knockoff (along with everything from breadcrumbs to Pop-Tart facsimiles).

Yet people have been growing, grinding, leavening, and baking wheat since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago. It remains the globe’s most widely planted crop, serving as the main staple for a third of humanity. Is it really conceivable that it could have been slowly killing us all along?

Wheat Belly‘s author, cardiologist William Davis, claims that modern agricultural breeding has changed the nature of gluten, turning it toxic. He argues that wheat varieties developed in the 1960s and ’70s introduced a novel protein called gliadin that has led to all manner of chronic problems, including obesity and diabetes. Yet Davis’ claims have been roundly criticized by grain scientists. For that matter, there’s no scientific consensus on how prevalent gluten sensitivity is, what triggers it, or even if it exists at all.

Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder at Washington State University, suspects that we’ve been scapegoating the grain when we should be blaming the oven. Before I explain why, let me make clear that Jones is no apologist for Big Wheat. Back in 2003, the industry-dominated Washington Grain Commission threatened to stop funding his program after he refused to work with genetically modified varieties owned by the agrichemical giant BASF. He eschews conventional breeding—which he believes is all about generating bland strains tailored to the needs of corporate producers—for his own method, which prioritizes flavor.

In commercial bakeries, rising time has been winnowed from hours or even days down to mere minutes, thanks to fast-acting yeasts and additives.

Even so, Jones doesn’t buy the notion that the modern breeding he shuns is causing bad reactions to bread. “It’s not wheat itself,” he says, pointing to a 2013 study by the US Department of Agriculture that found “no evidence” of increasing levels of gluten in wheat over the decades. Rather, Jones believes that the true problem with bread is how we make it. In commercial bakeries, rising time has been winnowed from hours or even days down to mere minutes, thanks to fast-acting yeasts and additives. By contrast, the team in Jones’ laboratory, located in a rural stretch along Puget Sound, lets dough rise for as long as 12 hours—and they’ve found that the longer it rises, the less potent the gluten that remains in the finished bread.

What’s more, Jones points out, commercial bakers add a lot of extra gluten to their products. Read the label on any supermarket sliced bread—especially a whole-wheat one—and you’ll likely find “vital wheat gluten” among the top four ingredients. Because whole-wheat flour has a lower gluten density than white flour, industrial bakeries add extra gluten to make the bread more elastic, like white bread.

As whole-wheat bread has grown in popularity, so has vital wheat gluten use. US gluten imports—mostly from Australia, Canada, China, and Europe—more than doubled between 1997 and 2007, reaching 386 million pounds, and most of that went into baking. Donald Kasarda, a scientist with the USDA, estimates that our annual vital gluten intake per capita has tripled since 1977, from 0.3 pounds to 0.9 pounds—and Jones speculates that people who eat lots of commercially baked whole-wheat products may be getting more than their fair share.

Jones’ conjecture—that modern baking, not modern breeding, is responsible for the mysterious rise in gluten-related troubles—has not been proved correct. But then again, neither has any other explanation. Jones plans to continue his research, but in the meantime, with a test population of one, I conducted my own experiments with Jones’ method. I had drifted away from bread in recent years; it made me feel uncomfortably full. But when I made slow-fermented whole-wheat bread with a sourdough starter from Jones’ lab, I felt great—as I do when I eat loaves made by the increasing number of bakeries that use traditional methods and shun additives. No offense, but that sure beats the gluten-free menu.

Organic Bread of Heaven is made without any added gluten or additives at all!!

Why It Is Important to Eat Grains, Especially Whole Grains

Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Grains provide many nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies.

 

  • Nutrients

 

      • Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).
      • Dietary fiber from whole grains or other foods, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
      • The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin play a key role in metabolism – they help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Many refined grains are enriched with these B vitamins.
      • Folate (folic acid), another B vitamin, helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
      • Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years have iron-deficiency anemia. They should eat foods high in heme-iron (meats) or eat other iron containing foods along with foods rich in vitamin C, which can improve absorption of non-heme iron. Whole and enriched refined grain products are major sources of non-heme iron in American diets.
      • Whole grains are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.

 

  • Health benefits

 

    • Consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.
    • Consuming foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, as part of a healthy diet, may reduce constipation.
    • Eating whole grains may help with weight management.
    • Eating grain products fortified with folate before and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects during fetal development.