If you’re like me, you’re about done with summer and looking forward to the cooler weather of autumn and winter. Yet, with the cooler weather comes cold and flu season. And I bet you’re like me in this regard, too – you don’t want to get sick, and you don’t want to rely on over-the-counter medications if you do. Well, the other day, I was reading an article that listed ten natural immune boosters. I so liked what I read, I decided to do some research on each item on the list and share each one with you in its own post. Today, we’ll look at coconut oil.
First, I need to give this disclaimer: I am NOT a medical practitioner of any kind, and this series of articles on natural immune boosters is not intended to diagnose or attempt to cure any disease. This series is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, please see your medical practitioner for professional advice.
Now that I’ve clarified my lack of bona fides in the medical field, let’s talk about wonderful coconut oil. I’ve only recently started using coconut oil – in the past couple of years – and I like it. I didn’t doubt I would because I absolutely LOVE coconut. I just was a little disappointed when I first tasted it because the coconut flavor is very mild. But what a great way to eat something so healthy.
If you’re as old as I am (and I will NOT tell you quite how old that is), most of your life you’ve heard how saturated fats are bad for you because they can cause heart attacks. Well, twenty plus years after that advice first came out, research is showing that just isn’t true. Not only do saturated fats not cause heart attacks, they also help prevent many brain and nerve-related illnesses like Alzheimers, Parkinsons, dementia, etc. The brain must have fats to operate properly, and fat-free diets have deprived our brains of proper nutrition.
So, what’s all this fuss about saturated fats then? Well, from what I’ve read, not all saturated fats are created equal. And that’s where coconut oil comes in. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it’s a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), which is metabolized differently in our bodies than long-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is also a major part of the saturated fat in human breast milk. We all know how healthy breast milk is for babies and their immune systems. Well, coconut oil does the same thing for adults. In fact, the most abundant source of lauric acid other than breast milk is coconut oil.
The human body takes lauric acid and forms it into monolaurin, which is the substance that acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent. Recent research is showing just how effective monolaurin is against many pathogens. (See reference links below for more information as well as sources for the information in this post.)
According to Mary Enig, PhD (Coconut Oil Offers Hope for Antibiotic Resistant Germs), this wonderful substance can destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, and influenza. Monolaurin is also effective against gram-positive bacteria such as MRSA, as well as the common yeast found in humans, Candida.
Overall, coconut oil contains a plethora of benefits:
- It strengthens the immune system, enabling it to do its job against pathogens
- It feeds our brain and nervous system the fats necessary to operate properly
- It gives us an energy boost
- It can applied to the skin as a lotion
In order to get these benefits of coconut oil, purchase only organic virgin coconut oil. It will most likely be a soft solid in the jar because coconut oil solidifies at 70 degrees. It melts above that temperature and will re-solidify if brought back down to 70 degrees. No worries though because coconut oil is very shelf-stable and will not “go bad” or turn rancid.
For an average adult to benefit from the MCTs in coconut oil (comparable to what a baby receives through breast milk), all that’s needed is three tablespoons of coconut oil a day. That’s the equivalent of 10 ounces of coconut milk or 7 ounces of raw coconut which is about half a coconut. (If you have a medical condition, a medical practitioner may recommend increasing your intake of coconut oil.)
That’s not that difficult. I use coconut oil in place of butter – even on my toast. A tablespoon of coconut oil sinks right into the toast; adding a dash of cinnamon makes it even yummier. Of course, cooking with coconut oil is a great way to get your MCTs, too. Some people add a tablespoon of it to their morning coffee. (I’ve yet to try that.)
If you’ve never tried coconut oil, consider adding it to your diet. Your body will thank you.
How do you use coconut oil?
For further information on coconut oil, please visit these sites which I read in preparation for this post:
- Coconut Oil Offers Hope for Antibiotic-Resistant Germs
- Monolaurin: A Natural Immune Boosting Powerhouse
- International Wellness Directory: Coconut Oil
- How Much Coconut Oil Should You Consume Daily
MORE IN THE NATURAL IMMUNE BOOSTER SERIES
- Oil of Oregano
- Manuka Honey
- Tea Tree Oil
- Colloidal Silver