HEALTH

Benefits of Coconut Oil

My recent trip to Manila, Philippines revealed an interesting craze: Coconut oil.

Many years ago, I travelled to Manila for the first time. The only coconut-related topic in the Philippines that I was crazy about was visiting Imelda Marcos’s Coconut Palace. It’s everything
coconut. But it was as far as coconuts went. Today, when you talk about coconut in the Philippines, you mean coconut oil. And it is sold everywhere! In spas, supermarkets, nail salons, hair salons, pharmacies, hotels and resorts.

The application of coconut oil has been traditionally used by the Indians for beautiful, shiny hair. Asians and Pacific populations use coconut oil as a form of traditional medicine. In fact, Pacific islanders consider coconut oil as the cure for all illness.

But it is until recently that modern science is starting to unlock the secrets to coconut oil’s healing powers. And this has led to a slew of Hollywood celebrities celebrating their consumption this oil in their everyday lives.

Miranda Kerr, a gorgeous Victoria Secret Angel and supermodel with a body to die-for, claims she takes about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil either on her salad, in her cooking or even in her green tea! Jillian Michaels, the famous personal trainer best known for her role on The Biggest Loser, prepares her stir-fry meals with coconut oil.  Even, Angeline Joie has said she starts her day with a spoonful of coconut oil.

So what is behind this sudden craze?

When Fat is Good. Coconut oil is made up over 90% saturated fats. Of which, 40% is lauric acid. And this is where it gets interesting. The human (and animal) body has the ability to naturally convert lauric acid to monolaurin.

Monolaurin is a chemical compound that has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Monolaurin fights viruses and bacteria-causing diseases such as herpes, influenza and HIV. Lauric acid itself helps to prevent heart-related problems such as high cholesterol and high-blood pressure.

The saturated fats in coconut oil contain anti-microbial properties that helps deal with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that causes indigestion. It also helps to fight helicobacter pylori – a dangerous bacterium found in the gut that often leads to autoimmunity problems.

This is probably the only time having fat is good. Unlike most vegetable and seed oil that are comprised of long chain fatty acids, also known as LCTs, which the body cannot break down easily and are stored as fat; coconut oil is made up for medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs.

MCTs are smaller, easier to digest and the liver burns it for energy. Like carbohydrates without the insulin spike. To add, recent studies have shown that MCTs can enhance physical and athletic performance.

This became evident in the 1940s when farmers tried feeding their livestock with cheap coconut oil to fatten them up. Instead, the animals became leaner and more active. 

You are probably wondering how does coconut oil taste like? Well, it is surprisingly tasteless. And goes down quite easily. There might be a slight hint of coconut taste as you wash it down with water, but other than that…it’s pretty much tasteless, odourless and colourless.

Where can you buy coconut oil?

You can find them in most natural and organic health food stores. Even some of the Filipino shops at Lucky Plaza sells them. But if you rather order online, here’s a few I found.
Click here for Naturaworks.com 
Click here for Cocos.com.sg
Click here for Nutrimax Organic


One tablespoon is about 15grams. At minimum, if you plan to take it like Angelina Jolie (one tablespoon a day), then you will consume about 450 grams per month. 

So, if you have tried before, and/or would like to bulk order a larger quantity (anything from 1litre or more) at wholesale, do drop me an email at katjujume@yahoo.com.

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