Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coconut Oil

Pat Summit is someone I greatly admire. She is the former ladies’ basketball coach for the University of Tennessee. However, more importantly, and the greatest reason I find her admirable is because she is a fighter. After, being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she wanted, with assistance, to continue to do what she loved to do--coach basketball. She shortly after she did feel that it was probably best for the program if she did retire. Although Coach Summit was and is able to carry on normally with her life, Alzheimer’s can prevent people from doing normal activities. Steve Newport is an example of this. In 2011, doctors asked Steve Newport to draw a clock. The drawing on the page ended up looking like anything an average toddler would draw. There were a few circles, but the rest looked like chicken scratch. One doctor pulled his wife aside and told her that her husband was on the verge of severe Alzheimer’s. She was devastated by the news and wanted to help her husband in any and every possible way. 2 weeks later he was asked to draw the clock again. The doctors were stunned. He drew a large circle and put numbers inside the circle. Although it was crooked and he still had a ways to go, they were surprised by his fast and great improvement. Twenty-three days later the doctors gave him the clock test again. It was still slightly lopsided and it wasn’t in perfect proportion, but it was clearly a clock. The doctors were amazed. His wife was pleased with the results because she had been adding coconut oil to his diet to see if it helped his
It is believed that coconut oil slowed and even reversed Alzheimer’s in Steve Newport’s life.

In the health realm Coconut oil has become a more recent craze. It has been classified as a “super-food” because of its numerous health benefits. However, it’s been around since coconuts existed. It’s made by squeezing coconut milk from the coconut meat of a coconut. As the milk is drained and sits, it begins to settle. The liquid is coconut milk and the solid at the bottom is coconut oil. Adam and Eve had the means and could have made coconut oil in the Garden of Eden. It is all natural, so it is a great choice for those with dietary restrictions. It’s simple to cook with. It can be substituted for butter and other oils in most recipes and it is able to cook in high temperatures, unlike Olive Oil which oxidizes. If you went to a supermarket and bought a jar of coconut oil, you would notice that it’s solid on top. However, it becomes liquid at seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial acids, so it aids in reducing inflammation and killing harmful small organisms in our body. It also contains Vitamin E& K. Vitamin E is great for our bodies because it is an antioxidant and helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that form in our bodies when our food is becoming energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment. Vitamin K is also very good for our bodies because it helps regulate normal blood clotting and is good for getting nutrients to our bones.

These are three of the many reasons I find coconut oil to be the best oil that is out there today
First it is good for our skin and hair. It’s good for our skin as a moisturizer. Some people even use it as an overnight face masque because they see it help their skin’s appearance. It can also be used as an all natural sunscreen because it can protect our skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. For hair, it can help moisturize it and help repair damaged ends. It can restore our hair of nutrients it may be lacking. Some people use it as a hair masque before they wash their hair. Others wash their hair with coconut oil and then use shampoo as normal. It has anti bacterial elements so it can be used on cuts and scrapes too. For a moment, think about what we apply to our skin. It ultimately is absorbed and goes into our bodies. When we use coconut oil, its positive effects also go into our bodies. Coconut oil is healthy for our skin, but it can also improve our overall health.

Coconut oil also has many health benefits. Earlier I mentioned that it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial uses and contains Vitamin K and Vitamin E. However, like I Mentioned earlier, doctors have done research and believe it can reverse Alzheimer’s and stop it from becoming more severe. It is antifungal and antibacterial. Because of this it can help our body get rid of bacteria, pesticides and other harmful organisms. These harmful organisms usually result in indigestion. It helps fight off these harmful diseases. It also helps in letting our bodies absorb great nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and it boosts our immune systems. Another benefit of coconut oil is it increases LDL (the good cholesterol). 
Probably the greatest health benefit though, is the effects it has on the brain. Ketones are made of a carbonyl group and two carbon atoms. In other words, they are healthy fats.  Ketones are found in coconut oil and studies show that ketones can help our brains work better. Doctors prescribe diets that are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and low in protein for patients with seizures because their brains tend to function better. Although the brain does need glucose to work, it also needs ketones. Studies show that ketones help our genes that encode energy metabolism and enzymes. It also increases the amount of mitochondria in the area of the brain that is associated with memory. The ketones allow our brains to function in a better state. Coconut oil has many good health benefits for overall body, however the way coconut oil can stimulate the brain is probably the most significant.

The last reason I find coconut oil to be the best oil is because it is a saturated fat. When a fat is saturated it just means each carbon atom is attached to a hydrogen atom. This is what allows coconut oil to be able to sustain such high temperatures. Because each and every available carbon atom is attached to a hydrogen atom, there is so way for it to be spoiled by oxidation.  Fats that are not saturated can be oxidized and then, if consumed, free radicals can cause a multitude of health problems. Our cell membranes are mostly composed of, you guessed it, saturated fats. It’s similar to the need for water. Our bodies are mostly made of water, so it essential that we consume it. In the same way our cells combined make bigger parts of our body. The cell membrane needs saturated fats, so it is very important to get into our bodies.

People may disagree with what I have said so I would like to clear up what I find to be the most common misconceptions people have regarding coconut oil.

First, I said it is a saturated fat, which is healthy for us. However, the health industries marketing and advertising always seem to say that an item has no saturated fat, and saturated fat actually is really good for you. As I stated earlier, when a fat is saturated it just means each carbon atom is attached to a hydrogen atom. Over time, people have begun to mindlessly believe that saturated fats are bad for them. This is because all too often, saturated fats are partners with hydrogenated oil and trans-fats. However these are unstable and their bonds are open so they can cause a multitude of health problems. Our bodies actually store excess carbohydrates in the form of saturated fats and this is how our body wants to function, on saturated fats. Saturated fats free of trans-fats are pure energy. Coconut oil is all natural, so it does not contain hydrogenated oils. It also contains no trans-fat, just saturated fats.

Second others may think that their food will taste exotic and resemble the taste of a coconut. However, it will not. It is actually quite tasteless. Since it is a great source of energy if I am feeling a little tired, I eat a spoonful. It really has no taste. It just feels like an oily consistency in my mouth. In most recipes, it can be used as a substitute for butter and other oils. I use it in a skillet to sauté veggies. Some people especially prefer it in baking, because they feel it makes the goodies taste richer. Coconut oil will not alter the taste of foods.

Last, others may be asking, “Well, what about canola oil or olive oil?” Canola oil first of all is short for “Canadian Oil Low Acid.” It comes from a Canadian plant, rapeseed which has had to be genetically modified over the year because it can cause many problems. Anything genetically modified has been injected with chemicals that rob the plant of nutrients. The plant is then not able to give our body all of the essential nutrients. It would be like telling a girl who has taken dance class for thirteen years to quit because she is slightly less advanced than a few others in the class. This is ridiculous. Why should she have to quit and why would we allow things, in this specific case canola oil, which have low nutrients into our bodies? Canola oil is also very processed and oxidized. By the time it hits supermarket shelves, there is no nutritional content in that bottle. Olive oil is a better choice and it does have many benefits similar to some found in coconut oil. However in 1 tablespoon it only has about one sixth the amount of saturated fats that coconut oil has in a tablespoon. Olive oil also does not have the same brain beneficial side effects that coconut oil. I am not trying to say that coconut oil is bad. I am simply trying to say that coconut oil is the best choice.

Next time you are at the store think about grabbing the coconut oil. Ditch the unhealthy oils and ...Live Healthy! Be Happy!

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