I was enjoying a yummy treat of coconut milk ice cream the other day with a friend — not kidding myself that it was actually healthy — and commented on the fact that coconut oil is so very good for us. She was aghast, and said she had heard that coconut oil was one of the worst oils one could possibly consume. Not so, I had to disagree. So for those of you who may share my friend’s disdain of coconut oil, this one’s for you …

The Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Did you know coconut oil is good for hair care, skin care, stress relief, heart diseases, cholesterol levels, weight loss, kidney problems, digestion, metabolism, high blood pressure, immunity, dental care, diabetes, bone strength, HIV and cancer? And that’s not all. The wonderful benefits of coconut oil are due to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which contain healing properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and much more.

Our bodies convert the lauric acid found in coconut oil into monolaurin — known as a powerful healing agent for viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Monolaurin helps fight off dangerous bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Because of its healing properties, it has long been the oil of choice for athletes and body builders because it actually contains fewer calories than other oils; and what’s more, its fat content is easily converted into energy as opposed to accumulating as fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil also boosts energy and endurance, and serves as a natural overall performance enhancer for athletes.

Buy Organic
It is important to purchase organic oils, and whenever possible splurge for the Fair Trade variety as well. As you well know, organic products are free of chemicals and pesticides making them better for you and the planet. Organic coconut oils are rarely de-odorized; therefore they retain their natural aroma. Organic coconut oil is not subjected to a chemical refining process, nor is it bleached to change the color of the oil. Manufacturers of organic coconut oil are very careful not to over-heat the oil, which will cause it to lose some of its important healing properties. Check the label to ensure the product you are buying is 100% organic in order to be completely certain you are consuming the healthiest variety of coconut oil available.

Buy Extra Virgin
If you are like most people, the virgin/extra virgin option can be very confusing. You may be wondering how extra virgin coconut oil differs from virgin coconut oil. While manufacturers actually make their own definitions of virgin and extra virgin, virgin coconut oil typically refers to coconut oil that is manufactured using mechanical means without the addition of any chemicals. The “extra” in extra virgin is never actually referenced by the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community, which has provided APCC Standards for Virgin Coconut Oil. Therefore, one may infer that the extra does not really mean anything other than you may be paying extra for that little extra.