Monday, June 16, 2008

coconut oil Health benefits

Coconut oil is a common cooking oil among south asian populations. But is it beneficial or harmful to health? "Coconut oil has been used as cooking oil for thousands of years. Popular cookbooks advertised it at the end of the 19th century. Then came the anti-saturated fat campaign and the promotion of polyunsaturated fats, such as flaxseed, canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils plus their partially hydrogenated counterparts (margarine, "I can't believe it's not butter", etc.) as the way to go," says chemist, enzyme therapist, nutritionist, author and lecturer, Dr. Lita Lee, Ph.D.

Are there any people who live on saturated fats who are healthy? Yes, says Dr. Lee. "People who live in tropical climates and who have a diet high in coconut oil are healthier, have less heart disease, cancer, colon problems and so on, than unsaturated fat eaters. Two such groups of people include those from Melanesia and the Yucatan. These people are slightly hyperthyroid because of the thyroid stimulating effects of coconut oil plus a diet which includes protein (fish) and adequate fruit (stimulates thyroid function).

Citing research on the subject Dr. Lee goes on to say, "Many researchers have reported that coconut oil lowers cholesterol (Blackburn et al 1988, Ahrens and colleagues, 1957). In 1981, Prior et al. showed that islanders with a diet high in coconut oil showed no harmful health effects. When these groups migrated to New Zealand and lowered their daily coconut oil intake, their total cholesterol and especially their LDL cholesterol - the so-called evil one - increased. The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil are a direct result of its ability to stimulate thyroid function. In the presence of adequate thyroid hormone, cholesterol (specifically LDL-cholesterol) is converted by enzymatic processes to the vitally necessary anti-aging steroids, pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. These substances are required to help prevent heart disease, senility, obesity, cancer and other diseases associated with aging and chronic degenerative diseases."

Why then is there a doubt about the beneficial effects of coconut oil? In an article titled, 'How a P.R. Campaign Led to Unhealthy Diets' by Beatrice Trum Hunter, MA, and published in (Printed with permission from Beatrice Trum Hunter and
The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation) she has this to say, "In 1988, N.W. Istfan of Harvard University Medical School's Nutrition Coordinating