Coconut has long been thought of by many to be a super food, and for good reason. It has so many health benefits, many uses and is the ideal oil for cooking. In this article I would like to share with you how many people are using coconut oil for fibromyalgia as well as a whole host of other things! So, stay tuned and don’t forget to stock up on some the next time you are out grocery shopping.
What Is Coconut Oil?
First, what is a coconut? Some people think coconuts are an actual nut, which is quite understandable given their name. Some believe it is a type of fruit. Well, this is where it gets a little tricky… although the FDA recognizes them as a tree nut, they are categorized as a fruit. So perhaps everyone is right after all. It is also interesting to note that while some may experience an allergic reaction to coconuts, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can still eat coconuts safely.
There are three main classes of fatty acids: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. Every oil or fat contain all three in varying amounts; however, it is given one of these names depending on which of these it consists of the most. Coconut oil contains 92% saturated fat, 6% monounsaturated and only about 2% polyunsaturated, therefore it is categorized as a saturated fat.
Yes! Coconut oil is a saturated fat and consists mainly of triglycerides. In fact, it is more saturated than most other saturated fats such as butter (66% saturated) beef fat (52% saturated) palm oil (51% saturated) or lard (41% saturated). Whenever coconut oil is above 75 degrees F, it is a liquid. Below this temperature, it becomes a solid fat. Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or ‘meat’ of the coconut. There are many extraction methods, including pressure, motion, as well as cold and hot extraction.
The Extraction Process.
Coconut oil that has been extracted using a ram press or by mechanical centrifuge results in a very pure oil, usually without the need for refining. Expeller pressed, however, uses extreme pressure, sometimes heat, but does not usually involve the use of a solvent to separate the meat from the oil and therefore requiring refining afterwards to remove the chemical. Chemical extraction is not the best form of extraction and will ultimately alter the integrity and nutritional profile of the oil.
Sometimes during manufacturing the coconut paste will be heated in order to extract more oil. This alters not only the nutritional value of the oil but can also affect the flavor and color. For this reason, many prefer cold pressed oil. You may have heard the term “Extra Virgin”, this term signifies that no chemicals or extreme heat were used during the extraction process. It also guarantees a superior taste.
Okay, But Is It Healthy?
One great advantage with a saturated fat is that they are not susceptible to oxidation and free radical formation like unsaturated fats are. This makes it an ideal oil for cooking because it is extremely resistant to oxidation when exposed to high temperatures. This also makes it more shelf stable and lasts much longer when compared to vegetable oils, for example, which are more likely to become rancid a lot faster. And because saturated fat does not easily oxidize, it will not clog the arteries like poly and monounsaturated fats.
Coconut oil and its cousins, the palm and palm kernel oils are the best source of medium- and short-chain fatty acids. According to Bruce Fife, C.N., ND, these fatty acids give them their incredible health benefits. In his book The Coconut Miracle, he states that most food, if not used as an energy source, are stored as fat tissue on our bodies. Coconut oil, being composed primarily of medium-and short-chain fatty acids, has a totally different effect on our bodies.
Put simply, they produce energy, not fat! Just because this oil is considered a saturated fat, does not mean it will make you fat. In fact, it can actually help you lose unwanted fat and is very beneficial for you’re overall health. MTC-oil which is derived from coconut oil has been shown to increase fat loss, energy levels, stimulate the metabolism and aid in concentration. Those who follow a raw food, vegan, vegetarian or ketogenic lifestyle are usually no stranger to coconut oil as well as MCT oil, and use it on a regular basis.
Coconut Oil For Fibromyalgia.
Many people who suffer with the symptoms of fibromyalgia often have digestive issues as well. Luckily, coconut oil is extremely mild on the stomach and easy for the body to digest. Coconut oil can alleviate constipation as well as help those who live with Crohn’s disease and stomach ulcers. Several studies have also shown that consuming coconut oil provides strong anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce markers of oxidative stress.
Need a pick me up? Coconut oil can relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and increase your energy levels throughout the day, with no mid-afternoon crash. Coconut oil is also beneficial for the brain and can greatly reduce the feeling of “fibro fog” that some experience with fibromyalgia. Coconut oil consumption has also been liked with a reduction in belly fat (visceral fat) and less food cravings, especially for sugar. It’s also great for strengthening the immune system.
What Else Can It Do?
Coconut oil can help with the absorption of other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and amino acids. Coconut oil may aid those who suffer from osteoporosis, gallbladder disease, viral infection, diabetes, can help prevent tooth decay and is heart healthy. When applied topically, it can keep your skin youthful looking and makes a terrific moisturizer, protects against germs and fungi, acts as a natural sunscreen and can also reduce symptoms associated with psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis.
How To Add More Coconut Oil Into Your Diet!
One of the best ways to get more coconut oil, and therefore more MCFA’s into your diet as well, is to replace the cooking oils you currently use with coconut oil. Be sure to avoid products that are likely to contain trans-fat such as shortening, margarine, and processed vegetable oils. I still use olive oil for salads, and natural butter for baking, but I try to do most of my cooking and especially frying with coconut oil.
I also add MCT and/or coconut oil to my daily coffee and look for products that contain MCT oil, coconut oil or palm kernel oil. It’s also great to drink coconut milk and simply eat more coconuts! The bonus of consuming coconuts is that they also taste great, even more so combined with dark or sugar free (naturally sweetened) chocolate. Coconut oil has a slightly sweet, coconut aroma and a neutral flavor, so whatever you are cooking in, it will not take on the flavor of coconuts.
There are many ways to use coconut oil and it is especially helpful for those with fibromyalgia. Anyone, however, can benefit from more coconut oil in their diet! for more information on coconut oil visit www.coconutresearchcenter.org. I hope you have found this article informative and helpful. Please let me know if this is a topic you are interested in and whether you would like to see more articles like this one in the future. As always, your questions and comments are more than welcome. Have an awesome day!