Let’s Get Tropical with Coconut Oil!

Not only are we surrounded by a global economy, but now, most of us have global taste buds. Americans demand international cuisine foods and flavors, and for good reason. Every geographical area of the world has within its flora and fauna, a compendium of foods and culinary treasures that are not only nourishing, but also medicinal. Mixing and matching them can provide our diet with key nutrients that fill in the gaps of any missing ingredients.

One of the areas where we can shift our tastes slightly and make a significant impact on our health is by steering away from the traditional ground crops providing us with corn, soy, safflower and vegetable oils. We can include different oils, ones that have been proven over the years to be associated with wonderful health benefits. Here, you’ll learn about another “Golden Elixir” from tropical parts of the world that burst with flavor and simultaneously, make us healthy.

It’s common knowledge that the hydrogenated oils in our American diet have not done us much good, health-wise. They have interfered with essential fat absorption, creating a cascade of inflammation in the body, and have been linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, prostate issues, neurological disease, and decreased immune system function.

The high level of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats in our oils has allowed our omega-6/omega-3 ratio to skyrocket 10 to 20:1 instead of the rejuvenating ratio of up to 5:1. It’s time to tip the balance towards health, and experimenting with new recipes and incorporating them into our diet is exactly what we need.

And why not? We love new stimulating and tantillizing dishes that can create a brand new experience in the culinary realm!

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 (lipid eroxidation) 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. G.W. Crile and his wife found that in the Yucatan, the metabolic rate of the people was 25% higher than people in the U.S. 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.

Off the Tree and Into the Kitchen!

Coconut oil’s unique taste adds a burst of tropical flavor to traditional wok dishes (simply substitute coconut oil for other oils), sauted vegetable dishes, in smoothies, in muffin and pancake recipes (substitute the oil).

The added benefit of cooking with coconut is that it has a high heat point or smoke point. This means that the oil is stable and will not break down. For cooking, it is fabulous for sauteing eggs, fish and many leafy green vegetables, with the exception of mushrooms, which it is not particularly good with. It is also great to add to soups and top on grains. Using it to spread on hot toast is better than butter! Yum! For baking replace the same amount of butter called for in the recipe.

Find ways to incorporate this restorative food into your life. Go to www.chefteton.com to learn how to use this delicious oil to soften tough leafy greens like Collard Greens and Kale as well as many other tasty ways to incorporate this restorative food into your current recipes.

Storing Made Easy

Coconut oil is also shelf stable. No need to refrigerate it. It will, however, become liquid in warm temperatures. When storing, it is best to remove a small amount from the larger container and place it in a dish that you use often – refilling that dish as it empties. Keeping it near the stove will help it remain soft for easy use like buttering toast. This way you can grab it easily when cooking, and your frequent use will keep the larger jar from becoming contaminated with smaller food particles. Contaminating it with food particles will begin a process of spoiling the entire jar of the coconut oil If you do refrigerate it, then the contamination will be avoided, but then the coconut oil is difficult to use because it is solid and hard. So, keep a small amount handy that you will use in a short amount of time.

Fortunately high quality food grade coconut oil is available and affordable in most natural food markets. Look for one that is vibrantly white in color with the aroma of divine coconut. If you do not like the taste of coconut, you can find coconut oil that has had the coconut flavor removed. Extra virgin is the best.

Using the delicious treasure of coconut oil will give us the health we all desire and deserve while our taste buds soar to a divine level.

Article Resources

Pure Virgin Coconut Oil: The Smarter Fat That Helps Promote Weight Loss.

Research by Dr. Mary Enig. Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil by Dr. Raymond Peat.

Virgin Coconut Oil and Diabetes.

Mary Enig Ph.D. on the Effects of Coconut Oil on Serum Cholesterol Levels and HDL’s

Essential Fats. FAQ’s.

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Written by Susan Teton Campbell

Explore Wellness in 2021