The Many Merits of Virgin Coconut Oil

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Twenty years ago, leading-edge nutrition experts touted olive oil as the healthiest cooking oil on the market. Corn and soybean oils were also considered good for the heart. Like most American Moms, I fed my family accordingly.

But, having a scientific bent to my thinking, I like to evaluate the evidence of whatever process I’m using. I noticed, for example, that a lot of kernels did not pop when I used inexpensive oils like soybean oil. This was because the oil was breaking down when heated. I had already read enough to know that oxidized fats are carcinogenic, so this was reason for concern.

By the time I was the ripe old age of 34, arthritis was settling into my hips to the point that it was painful to walk or climb stairs. Granted, there was a family tendency towards this ailment. But I was starting to bend over like our backyard willow tree! Images of my 86-year-old grandmother began to frequent my imagination and I decided that I needed to get to the cause and core of the issue.

You need to understand that my family was already embracing a very healthy lifestyle. No doughnuts, processed foods or soft drinks at our table! We live in a pristine area of Northern Minnesota, far from city smog and fluoridated water. Like Voltaire, I cultivate my own garden. Our family of seven kids enjoys all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and we even have our own free-range chickens. Rolling out fresh homemade bread was a Saturday morning ritual. Yet something was missing.

My husband became a bit lethargic over time, sometimes saying in the morning that if he had his druthers, he’d just as soon stay in bed. I noticed jobs around the house weren’t quite finished as quickly as they had been. A porch door languorously listed starboard off its bottom hinge for well over three weeks. Ken also experienced dizziness and became concerned that his stomach pains were an indicator of possibly serious health issues.

An intestinal cleansing program would alleviate his symptoms temporarily, but then they would reappear again after three to six short months. Herbal supplements helped somewhat but not completely. I intuited that the change in his demeanor was health-related.

Some friends of ours knew a family in the Philippines who at this time introduced us to virgin coconut oil. It’s a staple of the diet of these islanders. Just for fun, I asked them to send us a sample gallon. She said to take 3 tablespoons per day, in whatever way was most palatable. And to get rid of all the other oils in the cupboard and the refrigerator.

I didn’t expect much but we all liked the taste and took it every day in a morning smoothie or as a sauté with our vegetables. My kids’ favorite: delicious deep-fried French fries made in pure coconut oil!

Surprisingly, within three months I began to notice a change. It was gradual, subtle, but consistent – and progress was made every day and every week. My arthritis symptoms subsided and my size 10 pants easily fit again. Ken’s stomach pains disappeared. And my kids developed a healthy, robust energy. If one of them does catch a cold from a visitor or neighbor now, they have the immune resistance to fight it off within 24 hours.

I realized that the virgin coconut oil had changed the bio-terrain of our bodies, shifting the acidic state that harbors toxic pathogens to an alkalinity that is the basis for all good health. Pathogens in the intestines can not only overtake good flora and rob us of the nutrients from our foods, they also drop their waste products in our bloodstream creating an open door for disease. I determined that my family was no longer going to be willing, friendly hosts for such microorganisms!

With soybean and corn oils, I put on weight that didn’t come off even with exercise. I learned that when unsaturated fats break up, they promote weight gain. In an effort to be more Americanized, people in the Philippines had divorced themselves for a time from their long-lasting belief in the sustaining benefits of coconut oil and instead took up using soybean oil. As a result, the rate of heart disease in Manila matched that of major U.S. cities. Now they are finally recognizing the connection and once again embracing the wisdom of their forefathers.

People often argue in favor of olive and canola oil, protesting that they provide essential fatty acids. But such fatty acids can be obtained in nuts, fruits, vegetables and seafood without any negative consequences. Others are taken by the trend towards flax seed oil. This contains no antioxidants and is unstable, i.e. it oxidizes at room temperature. So if room temperature is over 70 degrees, it goes rancid in as little as 30 minutes. Even in the refrigerator it keeps only for six weeks. Doesn’t it make you wonder what happens when you ingest it and your body temperature is 98.6? Originally it was recommended to take flax oil with cottage cheese, yogurt or kefir so that its instability was ameliorated. This fact has been lost in our nutritional understanding as flax is isolated as a diet enhancement.

My immediate and extended family now uses virgin coconut oil every day, as well as raw cultured butter and a bit of palm oil. I use coconut oil to stir fry, to bake straight-from-the-stream fish, in bread and granola bars, on mashed potatoes instead of butter, etc.

A value-added benefit that I’ve discovered is that coconut butter also is great for the skin, helping to prevent sunburn, moisturize and soften wrinkles. And a hot coconut oil treatment on the scalp even takes care of dandruff! Apply after a shower and you’ll have beautifully glowing skin. It can also be used on your hair to encourage a healthy luster. If you have gingivitis or mouth bacteria, brush your teeth with it! Mix coconut with just 1 drop of peppermint essential oil in a glass and use throughout the week. Brush at night and you’ll see some amazing results.

If you want to stay healthy in this fast-paced, fast-food culture of ours, you need to go back to the basics. Build a dietary foundation on food staples that enhance your health vs. detract from it. Learn what has worked well for past generations and other cultures. Listen to your body and track the results of any new dietary program. Coconut oil has proven to have an amazing impact on the Fischer family, and I hope that others can learn and benefit from our six years of experience with it.

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