Below is an exert took from newsday.com about coconut oil. I truly believe coconut oil is one of the best kinds of oils to use and has some of the best health benefits. This article as released today and I find that it points out some great information that we all could use.
Filipinos call coconut trees the “tree of life” for all the products derived from its leaves, husks, meat and milk. In America, the coconut tree has made new believers because of one product: coconut oil.
Converts to coconut oil are zealous in their claims. They say it aids in weight loss, can reduce the risk of heart disease and increases HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels. It is also said to improve digestion, reduce acid reflux and lessen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Some take it to improve their skin tone and prevent wrinkles. Some even treat herpes and cancer with coconut oil.
Ernie Rudloff of Woodbury credits coconut oil with boosting his energy. He started taking the supplement in the fall after reading Kevin Trudeau’s bestselling book, “Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.” In it, the author touts the curative powers of all-natural substances, saying drug companies suppress this information to increase sales of pharmaceuticals.
Claims by Trudeau, who has no medical training, have drawn fire from both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration. Nonetheless, Trudeau’s book has sold millions of copies both in stores and via TV infomercials.
“I find a lot of Trudeau’s logic to be true,” Rudloff says. “The natural approach is something we should look at more. Everything seems to be drug, drug, drug. We go to the doctor or to the pharmacy, and we want a pill for everything.”
Rudloff, 63, helps about 120 youths – ages 16 to 21 – get their GED certificates at the Nassau County Correctional Center. He also officiates basketball games on the side, so he faces both emotional and physical challenges. Rudloff was taking about one tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day when he noticed the effect: “I felt energized.”
He says he doesn’t have an opinion about coconut oil’s wide-ranging claims because he’s basically in good health – weight in the 170s and total cholesterol about 200. He was treated for prostate cancer two years ago and now takes Flomax to reduce the urgency to urinate but says he is otherwise healthy. Rudloff sees himself as health-conscious, and as he heads toward his mid- and late-60s, he’s open to natural remedies.
“Natural cures are safer,” he says. “They come from the earth. They don’t have all the side effects of all these chemicals people take.”
Still, doctors and other health-care providers urge caution, because natural supplements don’t face the same rigorous approval process that’s imposed on pharmaceutical companies. In general, the medical community doesn’t consider coconut oil a heart-healthy food because it’s very high in saturated fat, which has been linked to high cholesterol and heart disease.
Dr. Walter C. Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, offered insights on coconut oil last year in the Harvard Health Letter: A 2-ounce piece of fresh coconut contains more than 13 grams of saturated fat – nearly two-thirds of the recommended daily limit for the average person. Ounce for ounce, coconut oil delivers more saturated fat than butter, lard or margarine. Feeding studies in humans, monkeys and rabbits show that coconut oil substantially elevates LDL (bad) cholesterol.
In an e-mail interview, Willett agrees that the oil has a powerful effect in boosting HDL (good) cholesterol. But overall, Willett says, “I think it is OK to use it when the flavor is desired or when a little hard fat is needed, but I would not recommend it as a primary form of fat unless we have further research regarding its effect on heart disease.”
A unique kind of fat
Bruce Fife, a naturopath – a practitioner who treats patients with herbs, vitamins and other natural remedies – a nutritionist and the author of “The Coconut Oil Miracle,” opposes the detractors, arguing that the saturated fat found in plant foods is different than that found in animal products.
“Coconut oil is unique because it’s composed predominantly of medium-chain fatty acids,” Fife says, adding that most fats in the American diet are composed of long-chain fatty acids. He says the shorter chain makes coconut oil easier to digest, and it’s processed like a carbohydrate and not stored in the body as fat.
Fife tries to eat about three tablespoons of coconut oil a day. He encourages people to use it in cooking – in hot cereal, casseroles and soups. When Fife feels like he hasn’t had enough, he’ll take a spoonful right out of the jar and let it melt under his tongue. “A good coconut oil actually has a pleasant taste,” he says.
Fife has never had his cholesterol tested, so he can’t say what effect the oil has had on his blood levels. The main benefit he cites is on his immune system. “I believe it has made me healthier and more resistant to illnesses. I haven’t had an illness for years and years and years,” he says.
Since “The Coconut Oil Miracle” was published in 2000, Fife has written five other books on the subject, and he frequently speaks to audiences around the world on the topic. He believes his life’s work has helped build a market for the product.
KEY NOTE: Saturated Fat is not the danger…trans fat is the danger.