Saturday, January 19, 2013
The Tree of Life
The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means "monkey face" because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means "nut-bearing."
The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a
Harvested coconuts lined up on the beach.
staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world's population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a "functional food" because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called "The Tree of Life." Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut's amazing healing powers.
Coconut In Traditional Medicine
People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.
In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.
Coconut In Modern Medicine
Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:
See Research to read some of the published studies regarding the above mentioned uses of coconut products.
While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it's the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine.
Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food.
Coconut oil has been described as "the healthiest oil on earth." That's quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats?
The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.
The size of the fatty acid is extremely important. Why? Because our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size. So the physiological effects of MCFA in coconut oil are distinctly different from those of LCFA more commonly found in our foods. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids. Both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, milk, eggs, and plants (including most all vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA.
MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial.
There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils.
Copyright © 2004 Coconut Research Center
This website is for educational purposes only. The information supplied here comes from a variety of sources and authors and not every statement made has been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Ask Dr. Coconut TM
Dr. Bruce Fife a.k.a. “Dr. Coconut” answers two of the most often asked questions about coconut oil.
I often see coconut oil being sold in the store right next to palm oil. What is the difference between these two oils?
In some ways coconut and palm oils are very similar. They are unique in that they are vegetable oils that contain a high percentage of saturated fat. Because of this they are highly resistant to oxidation and make excellent cooking oils. Because of their high saturated fat content they both have high melting points and may be solid at room temperature. Both are products of palm trees, hence they are often referred to as the tropical oils. Both oils are good and offer many health benefits. This, however, is where the similarity ends.
Coconut and palm oils are very different from one another in chemical composition, appearance, and character. Even their influence on health is uniquely different. They come from different species of palm and from different parts of the plant. Coconut oil comes from the seed of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Palm oil comes from the fleshy fruit of the oil palm (Elaesis guineensis).
If you see a bottle of virgin palm oil and virgin coconut oil sitting side by side in a store you will quickly notice a distinct difference. In the relatively cool temperature of the store both oils will be in their solid form. The virgin coconut oil will be a pure white. The virgin palm oil, however, will be a deep orange-red. The red color is from carotenes. Carotenes are plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables their red, yellow, and orange colors. When melted, the palm oil takes on a dark red color. For this reason, virgin palm oil is called “red” palm oil.
Red palm oil is the premiere form of palm oil just as virgin coconut oil is the best. Like virgin coconut oil, red palm oil has undergone minimal processing and is considered to be of superior quality to ordinary palm oil.
Unlike coconut oil, palm oil does not have a sharp melting point. Coconut oil melts at temperatures above 76 degrees F (24 C). Palm oil has a much more gradual melting point. So it may be liquid or solid or a bit of both over a range of temperatures. This can give the oil a mottled appearance with a combination of colors ranging from light orange to dark red. You can have two bottles of red palm oil sitting side by side in the same room and one will be mostly liquid and the other mostly solid. They can remain like that for days or even weeks.
The reason for the difference in melting point between coconut oil and palm oil is due to the very different chemical makeup of the oils. Coconut oil consists of 92 percent saturated fatty acids, 6 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 2 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. About 63 percent of the fatty acids are medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). This high percentage of MCFA is principally responsible for giving coconut oil is sharp melting point.
In contrast, palm oil has 50 percent saturated fatty acids, 40 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 10 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. It contains less than 0.5 percent MCFA. The type of fatty acids in palm oil is more varied so the melting character is less precise.
It is the MCFA in coconut oil that gives it most of its remarkable healing properties and makes it uniquely different from other oils. Palm oil does not have this unique feature. The primary saturated fatty acids in palm oil are palmitic acid (44 percent) and stearic acid (4 percent). These are common saturated fats found in all vegetable oils.
What makes palm oil special, and especially red palm oil, is not so much the fatty acids as it is the nutrient content. Red palm oil contains more phytonutrients than any other dietary oil. Many of these nutrients are powerful antioxidants, which protect the oil from oxidation and make it ideal for cooking. Red palm oil contains a synergistic mix of vitamin E, vitamin K, CoQ10, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and about 20 other carotenes. In addition to ordinary vitamin E, it contains a super powerful form of vitamin E known as tocotrienol. This form of
vitamin is 60 times more potent than ordinary vitamin E.
vitamin is 60 times more potent than ordinary vitamin E.
Another oil which is often confused with palm oil is palm kernel oil. Palm oil and palm kernel oil come from the same plant. Palm oil is extracted from the red, fleshy fruit of the oil palm tree. Palm kernel oil comes from the seed or kernel inside the fruit. These two oils are very different from each other.
Palm kernel oil is very similar in composition to coconut oil and has basically the same health benefits. Like coconut oil, it melts at about 76 degrees F (24 C) and is clear when melted and white when solid.
All three tropical oils—coconut, palm, and palm kernel—are healthy oils and are excellent for use in cooking. ■
THE PALM OIL SOLUTION:
A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO TRANS FATS
Trans fats are out and now a controversy rages. With a new US federal law that requires all food labels to disclose the amount of trans fatty acids, everyone is becoming concerned about the amount of hydrogenated fat in their foods.
This past December, New York City’s Board of Health approved an amendment to the Health Code to phase out artificial trans fat in all of the city’s restaurants and food service establishments. This is the first such ban on trans fats in the United States. Cities in at least 18 other states are considering similar bans. Denmark has banned trans fats from the entire country and other European countries are considering similar measures.
Since the landmark announcement in 2002 by the United States Institute of Medicine which stated that “no level of trans fats are safe,” food manufacturers have been scrambling to find alternatives to hydrogenated vegetable oil—the source of trans fats in our food. Hydrogenated vegetable oils, including margarine and shortening, are found in most every packaged food item on the grocery shelves and used extensively in the food service industry. Making a change is an enormous undertaking that affects you, me, and everyone, everywhere.
Finding a suitable replacement hasn’t been easy. Before we had hydrogenated oils, food processors and restaurants used animal fats and tropical oils. Most food processors hesitate to return to animal fats, fearing negative customer reaction to the addition of saturated fat and cholesterol. Liquid vegetable oils are not suitable for most applications in the food processing industry because they oxidize easily and go rancid quickly. So they are not even an option. The only reasonable alternative is tropical oils. Palm oil has become the most frequently used alternative to hydrogenated fats.
Palm oil possesses excellent cooking and baking properties, making it ideal for the food processing industry. Bakeries are now turning to palm oil. Newman’s Own brand was one of the first commercial bakers to incorporate palm oil into their baked goods. Many schools are currently phasing out hydrogenated oil and incorporating palm oil into their lunch programs. Your children may be eating palm oil at their schools now.
Some people have questioned the use of palm oil because it is highly saturated. Anti-saturated fat consumer education groups have come out vocally, even taken out full page ads in the New York Times to combat the use of palm oil. Consequently, a controversy is currently raging. Some say palm oil, being high in saturated fat, is not much better than the hydrogenated oils it is replacing. Others say that palm oil is a healthy, cholesterol-free oil and despite its high saturated fat content does not promote heart disease. With both sides expressing opposing views, the public is confused. When they see food prepared with palm oil they don’t know what effect, if any, it has on their health.
So what are the facts? Palm oil, as it turns out, is a very healthy fat and an excellent replacement for hydrogenated oils. Over the past two decades there have been literally hundreds of studies on the health aspects of palm oil. The consensus among researchers is that palm oil does not promote heart disease. In fact, studies show it lowers cholesterol. Palm oil provides the highest natural dietary source of health-promoting antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene. In addition, it contains CoQ10, tocotrienols, alpha-carotene, lycopene, and other important nutrients. These nutrients are known to protect against cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. Researchers have stated that palm oil contains the most potent natural anticancer substances known.
Palm oil contains an equal mixture of saturated and unsaturated fat. Forty percent of the total fat content is monounsaturated—the same type found in olive oil. Ten percent is composed of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. This mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat makes palm oil an excellent cooking oil. It is very heat stable and highly resistant to oxidation. It has a smoke point of 437 degrees F, making it ideal for all types of cooking and baking, including deep frying.
Crude or virgin palm oil has been used as a food for generations. It is packed with antioxidants and contains the highest concentration of beta-carotene than any other food source. Beta-carotene gives foods such as squash, carrots, and tomatoes their rich red and yellow colors. Virgin palm oil is commonly referred to as “red” palm oil because the high concentration of beta-carotene gives it its characteristic orange-red color.
Red palm oil is also one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin E. In addition to the vitamin E found in most other foods, palm oil contains a special type of vitamin E known as tocotrienol. Tocotrienol is a super potent antioxidant with up to 60 times the antioxidant power of ordinary vitamin E.
Red palm oil contains a rich source of health promoting nutrients, far more than any other dietary oil. In fact, it contains so many nutrients that it is encapsulated and sold as a dietary supplement as well as a cooking oil. Studies show that palm oil can help reduce risk of blood clots and atherosclerosis, improve the ratio of good cholesterol to bad, normalize blood pressure, protect against several forms of cancer, protect against the damaging effects of radiation, and improve vitamin and mineral status. Because of its excellent cooking properties and its high concentration of health promoting nutrients, palm oil is an ideal replacement for hydrogenated vegetable oils.
As hydrogenated vegetable oils are being removed from foods, palm oil is taking its place. You and your family may already be consuming it in your foods now. Look at ingredient labels. If palm oil is listed you can rest assured that you are getting a healthy fat which is completely free of harmful trans fatty acids. Because of palm oil’s many healthy benefits and excellent cooking properties, you are also likely to find it sold in the cooking oils section of your local health food store. ■
A NEW SUPER ANTIOXIDANT
In recent years there has been a wealth of exciting research on a relatively little known class of nutrients called tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are a super potent form of vitamin E possessing up to 60 times the antioxidant power of ordinary vitamin E. Their effects are far beyond that of regular vitamin E. Research shows that tocotrienols lower cholesterol, keep blood thin and flowing freely, dissolve arterial plaque, and extend lives of stroke and heart disease patients. They also demonstrate powerful anticancer properties and protect the brain from degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
There are two major types of vitamin E—tocopherol and tocotrienol—each consisting of four subtypes. The subtypes are identified by the prefix alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The tocopherols (alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherols, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocopherol) are the most common. Alpha-tocopherol is the form of vitamin E we are most familiar with and the type commonly used in vitamin supplements and foods. When people talk about vitamin E, they usually mean alpha-tocopherol. For many years alpha-tocopherol was believed to be the most biologically active form of vitamin E, and therefore the most important. Recent studies now show that the other form of vitamin E, the tocotrienols, can have a much greater influence on health and disease prevention and treatment.
Tocopherols, the ordinary form of vitamin E, are relatively common in our diet. Tocotrienols, on the other hand, are harder to get. They are found in small amounts in some nuts, seeds, and grains. By far the most abundant source of these super antioxidants is in palm oil. Palm oil is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin E in general, and the richest source of tocotrienols.
Because tocotrienols are powerful antioxidants, they can be useful in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Heart disease is characterized by atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries. A number of studies have demonstrated the ability of antioxidants to prevent cholesterol oxidation and, thereby, arrest the development of atherosclerosis. Although ordinary vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, it has only shown modest benefit in this respect. Palm tocotrienols, however, have shown to very effective in stopping and reversing atherosclerosis and, therefore, protecting against heart attacks and strokes.
Studies show that the tocotrienols can actively remove plaque buildup in arteries and reverse the progression of atherosclerosis. This has been demonstrated in both animal and human studies. In one study, for instance, 50 subjects were divided into two equal groups. All the participants had been diagnosed with atherosclerosis and had suffered at least one stroke. At the beginning of the study the degree of blockage of their carotid arteries ranged from 15 to 79 percent. Without any other changes to their diets or medications, half of the subjects began taking a daily palm oil supplement containing tocotrienols. The other half received placebos and served as the control. The degree of atherosclerosis was monitored using ultrasound scans over an 18 month period. In the group receiving tocotrienols, atherosclerosis was halted in 23 of the 25 subjects. In seven of these subjects, atherosclerosis regressed. In comparison, none of those in the control group showed any improvement. In fact, the condition in 10 of them worsened (Tomeo, 1995). This study demonstrated that tocotrienols not only stop the progression of atherosclerosis but can reverse it as well.
Reversing atherosclerosis is not the only way tocotrienols protect against strokes and heart attacks. Tocotrienols also improve cholesterol values. In a study at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, researchers demonstrated a 10 percent decrease in total cholesterol in 36 hypercholesterolemic (high cholesterol) subjects given tocotrienol rich palm oil capsules for four weeks. A follow-up study of 16 subjects resulted in a 13 percent lowering of total cholesterol (Qureshi, 1995).
In another study 31 subjects took a tocotrienol supplement every day for 30 days. No other changes were made to their diets. They continued to eat whatever they desired. The results showed that the tocotrienols lowered both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol in all the volunteers. The magnitude of reduction of total cholesterol ranged from 5 to 35.9 percent and the reduction of LDL cholesterol ranged from 0.9 to 37 percent. What was even more important was the effect the palm oil had on the cholesterol ratio. The cholesterol ratio was reduced in 78 percent of the subjects, demonstrating a highly significant and favorable response to tocotrienol supplementation (Tan, 1991).
Another type of LDL cholesterol is lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a). It is similar in structure to LDL but contains an adhesive protein that enhances its ability to stick to artery walls. Lp(a) has been identified as a separate and distinct risk factor for heart disease. In fact, Lp(a) is associated with ten times the risk of elevated LDL. Cholesterol-lowering drugs have been ineffective in lowering Lp(a) levels. Several studies have shown that tocotrienols are effective in reducing Lp(a) and thus reduce risk of heart disease (Theriault, 1999; Wood, 1993).
Tocotrienols help maintain proper blood pressure. This powerful antioxidant inhibits platelets from sticking to one another, thereby “thinning” the blood. It also reduces inflammation and assists in keeping blood vessels properly dilated so that circulation remains normal and blood pressure stays under control.
In one study researchers induced inflammation in the arteries of test animals. Inflammation causes swelling, which narrows artery passageways, restricting blood flow to vital organs such as the heart. Half of the animals received tocotrienols in their diet while the other half served as the control. In the control group, artery passageways were severely constricted and 42 percent of the animals died. However, those that received the tocotrienols showed far less inflammation and constriction, resulting in a 100 percent survival rate.
Tocotrienols also strengthen the heart so that it can better withstand stress. Researchers can purposely induce heart attacks in lab animals by cutting off blood flow to the heart. This causes severe injury and death. However, if the animals are fed tocotrienol-rich palm oil, survival rate is greatly increased, injury is minimized, and recovery time is reduced (Esterhuyse, 2005).
While tocotrienols appear to be powerful aids in preventing heart disease, they have gained more notice in the fight against cancer. Antioxidants have long been known to offer protection against various forms of cancer. Tocotrienols, being highly potent antioxidants, have demonstrated remarkable anticancer properties far superior to most other antioxidants, including their more common vitamin E cousins.
Studies show tocotrienols inhibit the growth of skin, stomach, pancreas, liver, lung, colon, prostate, breast and other cancers. Most of the research to date has been done with breast cancer where tocotrienols show great promise. They not only prevent cancer from taking hold but actively block its growth and initiate apoptosis. Apoptosis is a process where diseased cells essentially commit suicide. This is a normal process that is programmed into all of our cells in order to remove old and diseased cells. However, in cancer cells this process is blocked and affected cells continue to multiply and grow without restraint. Ordinary vitamin E does not induce programmed cell death in cancer cells. Only tocotrienols have this effect.
Initial research has been so impressive that cancer researchers have called tocotrienols the most powerful natural anticancer substances known to science (Yano, 2005). That’s quite a bold statement, but it illustrates the potential tocotrienols have in cancer prevention and treatment.
One of the worst things that can happen to us as we age is to lose our mental capabilities. Fortunately for us, tocotrienols can come to our rescue.
Two of the most significant factors that affect brain function are oxidative stress and poor circulation. Oxidative stress generates free radicals that damage brain and nerve tissue. Poor circulation affects the brain by restricting oxygen and glucose, which are vital for proper brain function. Researchers have found correlations between oxidative stress and reduced blood flow to the brain to senile dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and even schizophrenia. All of these conditions involve brain cell death. Tocotrienols aid the brain by reducing oxidative stress and improving blood flow.
Researchers can mimic much of the destruction seen in the above neurological disorders by feeding test animals glutamate—an amino acid that kills brain cells. The primary action of cell death is caused by free radicals. Ordinary vitamin E is not strong enough to prevent glutamate-induced cell death. But tocotrienols can quench the destructive action of glutamate. In laboratory studies tocotrienol-treated neurons maintain healthy growth and motility even in the presences of excess glutamate (Khanna, 2003).
Research is showing that tocotrienols can be of help with a number of common health problems, including osteoporosis, asthma, cataract, macular degeneration, arthritis, and liver disease and stunt the processes that promote premature aging.
A number of dietary supplements have recently come on the market containing palm tocotrienols. This is a good way to incorporate these health-giving nutrients into your life. The best food source of tocotrienols is from its source—palm oil. One tablespoon supplies more than enough to meet daily requirements of vitamin E. The advantage of getting vitamin E from a food rather than a dietary supplement is that you get a full range of tocopherols and tocotrienols as well as many other naturally occurring nutrients that work synergistically together to improve health. The best way to take palm oil is to incorporate it into daily food preparation. Simply use it in place of other oils in recipes.
For more information about the health benefits of tocotrienols and palm oil I recommend my new book The Palm Oil Miracle. Virgin palm oil is a powerhouse of nutrition. In addition to vitamin E, it is the richest natural source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
It contains a least 20 carotenoids, as well as CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, and other health promoting nutrients. Palm oil is currently being used as a dietary supplement throughout the world to fight nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition. It is literally saving the lives of millions of children. It is a food and a nutritional supplement combined as one. Palm oil is available
at most good health food stores and online. The Palm Oil Miracle is available at all good health food stores and online fromwww.piccadillybooks.com and www.amazon.com.
Esterhuyse, A.J., et al. Dietary red palm oil supplementation protects against the consequences of global ischemia in the isolated perfused rat heart. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2005;14:340-347.
Khanna, S. et al. Molecular basis of vitamin E action: tocotrienol modulates 12-lipoxygenase, a key moderator of glutamate-induced neurodegeneration.J Biol Chem 2003;278:43508-43515.
Qureshi, A.A., et al. Response of Hypercholesterolemic subjects to administration of tocotrienols. Lipids 1995;30:1171-1177.
Tan, D.T.S., et al. Effect of a palm-oil-vitamin E concentrate on the serum and lipoprotein lipids in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53Suppl:1027S-1030S.
Theriault, A., et al Tocotrienol: a review of its therapeutic potential. Clin Biochem 1999;32:309-319.
Tomeo, A.C., et al. Antioxidant effects of tocotrienols in patients with hyperlipidemia and carotid stenosis. Lipids 1995;30:1179-1183.
Wood, R., et al. Effect of palm oil, margarine, butter and sunflower oil on the serum lipids and lipoproteins of normocholesterolemic middle-aged men.J Nutr Bio Chem 1993;4:286-297.
Yano, Y., et al. Induction of cytotoxicity in human lung adenocarcinoma cells by 6-0-carboxypropyl-alpha-tocotrienol, a redox-silent derivative of alpha-tocotrienol. Int J Cancer 2005;115:839-846.■
Sunday, December 9, 2012
- Ask Dr. Coconut
- Cerebral Palsy and Coconut Oil
- Drugging of Our Children
Ask Dr. Coconut TM
Dr. Bruce Fife a.k.a. “Dr. Coconut” answers two of the most often asked questions about coconut oil.
I often see the iodine value mentioned when describing the properties of oil, including coconut oil. What does this mean?
Most people don’t understand this term and mistakenly believe it represents the iodine content of the oil. It has nothing to do with iodine content. Processed oils don’t have any iodine. The iodine value is a measure of the degree of the unsaturation of an oil. Technically it is the value of the amount of iodine, measured in grams, absorbed by 100 ml of a given oil. Although the iodine value may sound uninteresting, it has some very important health implications.
All fats and oils are composed of fat molecules known as fatty acids. The molecules can be classified into three categories depending on their degree of saturation. You have saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
No oil in nature is composed entirely of any one of these three. All dietary oils contain a mixture. Soybean oil, for example, is referred to as a polyunsaturated oil because that is the predominant fatty acid. It also contains 24 percent monounsaturated fatty acids and 15 percent saturated fatty acids. Coconut oil is also a mixture. It contains 92 percent saturated fatty acids, 6 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 2 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The terms saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated refer the degree of hydrogen saturation. A saturated fatty acid contains all the hydrogen atoms it possibly can. In other words, it is fully saturated with hydrogen. A monounsaturated fatty acid contains all but one pair of hydrogen atoms it can hold. A polyunsaturated fatty acids is lacking two or more pairs of hydrogen atoms.
The iodine value is a measure of the amount of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil. A fatty acid that is missing any hydrogen atoms is classified as being unsaturated. This includes all monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Although the iodine value is used primarily in industry, it is of value to us because it gives an indication of the oil’s stability and health properties. Coconut oil has an iodine value of 10. This indicates that it contains a high amount of saturated fatty acids and a very small amount of unsaturated fatty acids. The higher the iodine value, the greater amount of unsaturation. As noted above, coconut oil is 92 percent saturated and 8 percent unsaturated. Soybean oil, in contrast, has an iodine value of 130. It contains only 15 percent saturated fatty acids with 85 percent unsaturated fatty acids, thus the reason for its high iodine value.
The higher the iodine value, the less stable the oil and the more vulnerable it is to oxidation and free radical production. High iodine value oils are prone to oxidation and polymerization. During heating, such as when used in cooking, oils with a high iodine value readily oxidize and polymerize. Polymerization is an irreversible process which causes the fatty acids to become hard, insoluble, plastic-like solids.
Because of their tendency to harden when oxidized, polyunsaturated vegetables have been used extensively as bases for paints and varnishes. You can see this effect in the kitchen. When you use polyunsaturated vegetable oils in cooking sometimes the oil spills onto the outside of the pan. If the outside of the pan is not thoroughly cleaned, over time you will notice a buildup of a very hard, amber colored, varnish-like substance on the bottom of your fry pans. This is polymerized vegetable oil. The oil you used in cooking has literally turned into varnish. It takes a scouring pad and a lot of elbow grease to scrub it off the pan. When high iodine value oils are heated, you are creating polymerized fatty acids in your food. The higher the temperature or the longer the exposure to heat, the greater the degree of polymerization.
These products of oxidation have been shown to be associated with numerous health problems including cancer and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Coconut oil has the lowest iodine value of any dietary oil. Therefore, it is very resistant to oxidation and polymerization. It makes a very safe cooking oil.
Iodine Values of Some Common Oils
Coconut Oil 10Palm Kernel Oil 37Beef Tallow 40Palm Oil 54Olive Oil 81Peanut Oil 93Canola Oil 98Sunflower Oil 125Soybean Oil 130
Above are the iodine values of some common oils. Personally, I wouldn’t cook with any oil that has an iodine value over 80. ■
Cerebral Palsy and Coconut Oil
As incredible as it may sound, coconut may hold the key to stopping the occurrence of cerebral palsy in infants. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that occurs in newborns or in early childhood. It is characterized by abnormal stiffness and contractions of groups of muscles, involuntary writhing movements, or loss of coordination and balance. The degree of disability is highly variable, ranging from slight clumsiness of hand movement and gait to complete immobility. Other nervous system disorders, such as hearing defects or epileptic seizures, may be present. Mental retardation occurs in about three quarters of all cases. The symptoms are permanent. There is no known cure or treatment that can reverse symptoms.
Tens of thousands of infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. Generally, cerebral palsy is not recognized until well into the baby’s first year when the disability becomes apparent. Most cases are believed to occur before or at birth. The prevailing belief has been that a traumatic birth, leading to asphyxia or lack of oxygen to the brain, was responsible. However a recent study from Australia has shown that exposure to certain viruses shortly before or after birth may be the real culprit.
In a study published in the British Medical Journal (2006;332:76-80) researchers examined 443 children with cerebral palsy and 883 healthy controls. All of the babies were born between the years 1986 and 1999. Blood samples were taken within a few days of birth and checked for the presence of neurotropic viruses. Neurotropic viruses are viruses that cause infection in nervous tissue, for example herpes and rabies viruses.
These viruses are also able to cross the placenta in pregnant women and infect the fetus. This study tested for enteroviruses (viruses that replicate in the intestinal tract) and herpes viruses. Herpes viruses can be divided into two categories: group A and group B. Group A viruses include herpes simplex type 1 (causes cold sores) and herpes simplex type 2 (causes genital herpes), Epstein-Barr virus (causes glandular fever), cytomegalovirus (a very common infection that usually only causes problems in people with a weak immune system), and human herpes virus 8. Group B viruses include varicella-zoster virus (responsible for chicken pox and shingles) and human herpes viruses 6 and 7.
The researchers uncovered some very interesting results. Expose to infections was common to all the infants. Interestingly, premature babies, (without cerebral palsy) were more likely to be infected with herpes group A viruses, suggesting that infection before birth may lead to pre-term delivery. Herpes group B viruses were found more commonly in babies who went on to develop cerebral palsy. In fact, this relationship is so strong that the risk of cerebral palsy was nearly double.
The likelihood of an infection present in the mother spreading to the fetus and causing harm is determined by at least three factors: (1) the specific virus, (2) whether it is an initial infection or a reactivation of the virus, (3) the gestational age of the fetus at the time of infection.
With cytomegalovirus, the risk of transmission to the fetus is 50% for a first time infection, but less than 1% for reactivation of the virus. Once an infection enters the fetus’ bloodstream it can cause direct damage to the nervous system, or the inflammatory chemicals produced by the immune system of the fetus can damage the developing brain. Some viruses stay in our body and affect us for many years after the initial infection; some may remain for life.
These viruses are extremely common, with more than half of the population being infected. These viruses tend to live inside our nerves and generally stay dormant most of the time. They can become reactivated when the immune system is compromised. Factors that can trigger reactivation include excessive stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and other infections.
The risk of transmitting a virus to the fetus is greatest with new infections. Therefore, it is important to keep the immune system healthy and avoid exposure to new viruses, particularly when pregnant. Herpes viruses are usually transmitted by saliva, direct skin contact, and sexual secretions. Risk of becoming infected with new viruses is reduced by avoiding exposure to people who might carry these infections.
There are no known drugs that can effectively kill herpes viruses. Once an infection takes hold, the immune system is the only defense. So if a woman becomes infected while pregnant there is little doctors can do.
Although conventional medicine offers little help, there is hope. Consuming coconut oil while pregnant and nursing is one possible way to help protect newborns from developing cerebral palsy. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil possess potent antiviral properties that have been shown to be effective in killing herpes viruses. Coconut oil will help to protect the mother from infections and strengthen her immune system, thus preventing an infection from spreading to her fetus. After birth the baby is still vulnerable because its immune system is still developing. A nursing mother consuming coconut oil daily will enrich her breast milk with lauric acid and other antiviral medium-chain fatty acids that will protect the baby from infections. Simply consuming coconut daily, along with eating a healthy diet, may be all that is needed to prevent this crippling disease.
How much coconut oil should be consumed to get adequate protection? About 3 to 4 tablespoons a day should be enough during pregnancy and nursing. Divide the dosage equally throughout the day. More can be taken if desired. Coconut oil is a food, not a drug, so it is not harmful. If an infection manifests itself, increase the dose to 6 or more tablespoons a day. Additional oil can be applied topically if needed. ■
DRUGGING OF OUR CHILDREN
By Lita Lee, Ph.D.
This article excludes all psychiatrists who do not routinely use drugs to control the behavior and the emotions of their patients. I have a great respect for these doctors.
This article is dedicated to the thousands of children worldwide who died after being given drugs to control their behavior. Causes of death include suicide, murder/suicide, drug side effects, drug withdrawal effects, and being forcibly restrained until death occurs. Now, behavior and emotional problems are routinely being treated with drugs. Talk therapy is out. Drugs are in.
Children used to be called rambunctious. Now they are given Ritalin or its later drugs, to control their behavior. Since when did we classify emotional problems such as acting out, hyperactivity, ups and downs (now called bipolar disorder), depression etc., as mental illnesses? Life on earth is not exactly free of stress, pain, anxiety or anything else. Perhaps it is easier to drug a child into becoming a compliant zombie than it is to accept or challenge his/her behavior. I don’t know. But I am very disturbed by the increasing deaths, suicides and murder/suicides that are a direct outcome of the increasing use of these drugs to children. I am also concerned about state laws that force parents to drug their children. Children do not have a choice. They must comply with whomever is in charge.
Unless otherwise noted, the information below comes from the Citizens Commission of Human Rights International.
“Over six million American children have been placed on addictive, mind-altering psychiatric drugs.”
ADD or ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
“The diagnosis of ADD is entirely subjective. There is no test. It is just down to interpretation. Maybe a child blurts out in class or doesn’t sit still. The lines between an ADD sufferer and a healthy exuberant kid can be very blurred. Parents are frightened of losing their children if they do not comply with the order to prescribe Ritalin or similar drugs to their children.”
Case history: “At seven, Matthew Smith was diagnosed as having ADHD. Matthew’s parents were told that non-compliance could bring CRIMINAL charges for neglecting their son’s educational and emotional needs. After being told that there was nothing wrong with the medication, that it could only help, Matthew’s parents acceded to the pressure. On March 21, 2000, while skateboarding, Matthew died from a heart attack. The coroner determined that Matthew’s heart showed clear signs of damage caused by stimulant drugs such as amphetamines and concluded that he had died from the long-term use of the prescribed stimulant, Ritalin.”
Diagnosis by Design
Dr. Tomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York Health Science Center and the author of more than 25 books has been internationally acclaimed as “one of the most important writers in present-day psychiatry.” He writes: “There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness. If such a test were developed, then the condition would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease.” (Thomas Szasz, M.D. Professor Psychiatry Emeritus, 2002)
Brain Scans Exposing the Fraud
“In fact, brain scans do not firmly establish that biochemical imbalances cause depression and that drugs can correct this.”
Schizophrenia, Harming the Vulnerable
“Diagnosing someone as schizophrenic may appear scientific on the surface, especially when biopsychiatry keeps claiming that a genetic brain disease is involved. When you observe from a distance what these researchers are really doing, you wonder how they can justify their work.” (Ty C. Colbert, Ph.D., Blaming Our Genes, 2001)
Heart of Life, the Dr. Giorgio Antonucci Story
“Against tremendous opposition from his peers and without the use of drugs or coercion, Dr. Antonocci salvaged the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients deemed incurable and institutional cases. Today, many of his patients continue to live and work in the community. He is an inspiration to medicine.”
Drug Induced Violence and Other Side Effects
• In Australia, a 74-year old with no prior history of violence killed his wife while on an antidepressant.
• Kip Kinkel, 14, killed his classmates and his parents and injured 22 at his Springfield, Oregon high school in 1998. He was taking psychiatric drugs.
• In 2001, Andrea Yates filled the bathtub with water and drowned her five children, ages 6 months to 7 years. Medical experts argue that the murderous rage was induced by excessive dosages of psychiatric drugs.
• In 2001, Mamoru Takuma, 37, stabbed to death 8 schoolchildren and injured 15 others in a frenzied knife attack while under the influence of psychiatric drugs.
• Jeremy Strohmeyer, 18, raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl in a Las Vegas Casino bathroom after being prescribed psychotropic drugs.
Re-defining Life’s Every Problem As a Mental Disorder
“Have you ever heard of the following mental disorders: reading disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, disorder of written expression, mathematics disorder, caffeine intoxication, nicotine withdrawal disorder, noncompliance with treatment disorder, physical abuse of a child, sexual abuse of a child, or partner relational problem? These are a few of the 374 mental disorders that psychiatrists list in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV or DSM-IV. Today, the DSM and the World Health Organization’s similar International Classification of Diseases (ICD) are used not only for individual treatment but also child custody battles, other court testimony, education, and more. In fact, wherever a psychiatric opinion is sought, the DSM or the ICD are presented and increasingly accepted as the final word on sanity, insanity, and so-called mental illness.” Professors Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk, authors ofMaking Us Crazy, warn: “The public may gain false comfort from a psychiatric manual that encourages belief in the illusion that the harshness, brutality, and pain in their lives and in their communities can be explained by a psychiatric label and eradicated by a pill. …. Far too often, the psychiatric bible has been making us crazy—when we are just human.”
“Often tagged ‘junk science’, the DSM was voted one of the ten worst psychiatric papers of the millennium. No wonder. Psychiatric diagnoses, such as ADHD, have been voted into existence by nothing more scientific that a show of hands of American Psychiatric Association (APA) committee members.”
Does this sound right to you—that psychiatrists literally VOTE on what constitutes a “mental illness”?
Is there an alternative?
Yes! There is an enzyme and hormonal connection to all behavior, emotional and mental problems. More on this in my next newsletter but for now, please read my article on “Mental Problems” from www.litalee.com(notice that I didn’t say “illness”).
CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights International), 6616 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, 800-869-2247, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, websites: www.psychcrime.org, www.psychassault.org, www.cchr.org, www.fightforkids.org,
This article was first published in To Your Health newsletter, by Lita Lee, Ph.D.www.litalee.com. Reproduced with permission from the author.■
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Copyright © 2007, 2005, Bruce Fife. All rights reserved.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Cold Pressing is one of the preferred methods of extraction of coconut oil.
The quality and goodness of coconut oil depends much on the method of its extraction. Basically, there are two main methods of extraction of coconut oil. First one is cold pressing of copra (dried coconut kernels) and the second is boiling of fresh coconut milk. Since boiling or heating destroys many nutrients and volatile components, hence coconut oil obtained this way is not considered as good as that obtained by cold pressing, as cold pressing retains much of oil’s goodness. Again, the methods of cold pressing vary and so vary the oil’s fragrance, quality and price. Let’s check what those methods are.
The properties and benefits of Cold Pressed Coconut Oil are not different from the ordinary coconut oil available in the market, except for that bit of taste and fragrance when compared to the oil extracted by boiling. So, there is not much to write about. About the availability, but obvious, cold pressed coconut oil is abundantly available in all the zones where coconut oil is produced in abundance. To get the best results from it, just make sure that no artificial or synthetic additives are mixed with it.
This article is contributed by Aparup Mukherjee.
Sources of Information: