The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history and has often been referred to as “The Tree of Life”. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom used. In traditional medicine around the world coconut has been used to treat a wide variety of health problems and it is only fairly recently that this knowledge has become widely appreciated.
The coconut is an energy dense functional food that is rich in fibre, a good source of fat soluble vitamins and high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Although coconut oil is high in saturated fats, it is believed that the molecular structure of the fat is unique and key to its miracle-like health qualities. It is believed that the size of the saturated fatty acid is not only responsible for its numerous health benefits, but it is also the reason that coconut oil is encouraged as being safe for human consumption. While science has not confirmed any health claims to date, a large proportion of the Australian population are presently experiencing the coconut oil benefits.
Coconut oil is a common product found in many Australian kitchens as it is currently believed to be the healthier oil to cook with, when cooking at high temperatures. Coconut oil has a higher smoking temperature than most oils and therefore should be considered when cooking meals that require high temperatures. Not only is coconut oil being used in many kitchens, but internally coconut oil is claimed to benefit brain health, diabetes and thyroid conditions as well as being promoted as a weight loss product. Externally coconut oil has been used to condition and strengthen hair, reduce dandruff, improve or heal many skin conditions whilst also being used as a general skin moisturiser. Further to this, coconut oil has also been used as a temporary lubricating oil for menopausal women with vaginal dryness (if this is an ongoing issue, please ask to be reviewed by our doctor/clinical staff).
Despite all the hype around coconut oil, the research is still lacking. There are plenty of great success stories following coconut oil, but many Australians remain sceptical. If you are interested in trying coconut oil, my advice is to grab the organic, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil, and enjoy in moderation.