Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

You and Coconut Oil

coconutoil

Are you using the right coconut oil?

Tips for using the right coconut oil?

 

There’s no doubt that coconut oil is one of the most versatile and useful oils you can have at home. It has a wide array of uses, from cooking and baking to being a beauty staple. It works as a lotion, or can be added to your homemade facial mask or hypoallergenic soap recipe.

But how do you know if you are choosing high-quality coconut oil that is truly worth its weight in gold?

There are several important factors that you must consider when buying coconut oil to ensure that you’re getting one that’s truly high-quality.

 

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut is an edible oil extracted from coconut meat. Both coconuts and coconut oil were staples in many tropical countries and regions, including South and Central America, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Polynesia, and Asia. Dating back as early as 1500, India’s Ayurvedic literature recorded coconut oil’s uses for the mind, body and spirit. Even early European explorers noted its benefits for Pacific communities who integrated it – and coconuts – into their daily lives.

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easily digestible and stored in your body as energy. Fifty percent of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which converts into monolaurin.

However, coconut oil’s wholesome profile was tainted in 1953, when Dr. Ancel Keys published a study that linked saturated fats to heart disease. What many people didn’t know is that Keys’ study was seriously flawed, as he only based his study on six countries, ignoring data from 16 other countries that did not fit his theory.

Keys’ flawed study paved the way for polyunsaturated vegetable oil manufacturers to step up and dominate the market. Ironically, these so-called “heart-healthy” oils are actually a lot more harmful because they oxidize when heated, putting a great deal of burden on your body.

But the tides have changed, and now coconut oil is back in the spotlight as the ideal, all-around edible oil.

Why You Should Buy Coconut Oil Instead of Other Cooking Oils

I have steadfastly recommended coconut oil as the smartest and most versatile oil you can use. It’s perfect for cooking because of its high heat tolerance. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, canola, and soy become rancid when they are heated or mix with oxygen. In fact, they can actually go rancid within a few hours of being produced. When this rancid oil enters your body, it can lead to disastrous health effects.

You won’t have to worry about this with coconut oil, as it does not easily go rancid. Coconut oil is a complete saturated fat, which makes it very stable against heat damage. It is the ONLY safe oil you can use for cooking – olive oil is also a good oil but only when used cold, drizzled over salads or mixed into cold sauces. Due to its stability, it has a long shelf life of two or more years – the longest of any cooking oil.

So whenever you need to cook or sauté your food, choose coconut oil. It’s great for frying (even though I don’t recommend frying foods), as well as baking, and is a wonderful substitute for shortening, margarine, or butter. When you bake with coconut oil, you’ll find that your muffins, pastry, or bread will be lighter and have a mildly sweet and enticing fragrance.

But that’s not where coconut oil’s convenience ends, because it also has numerous uses outside the kitchen. Coconut oil can actually replace over a dozen beauty products found in your beauty kit, such as your:

  • Makeup remover – Apply a small amount on a moist cotton ball and wipe all over your face.
  • Facial scrub – Make a gentle facial scrub by mixing coconut oil with baking soda, or with oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon.
  • Lip balm – Apply a small amount of coconut oil on your lips. You can also make your own lip balm using coconut oil as a base ingredient.
  • Carrier oil for essential oil – Use it to dilute potent essential oils that may be too harsh when applied on your skin in concentrated amounts.
  • Shaving cream – Apply a thin layer on the area to be shaved, and then shave as usual.
  • Body scrub – Mix equal parts organic cane sugar and coconut oil in a glass jar, and then scrub on your dry skin before bathing.
  • Massage Oil:  For decades, coconut oil has been used by professional massage therapists as a soothing massage oil.

Coconut oil can also have practical uses around the house, such as:

  • Polishing metal (test it on a small area first)
  • Moisturizing and softening your leather goods
  • Lubricating squeaky hinges, sticky mechanisms, and even guitar strings
  • Cleaning and conditioning wooden furniture (also test it on a small area first)
  • Cleaning, conditioning, and sanitizing your wooden chopping board

 

Know the Different Types of Coconut Oil

Considering this impressive roster of uses, it definitely makes sense that you choose a high-quality coconut oil. There are numerous brands and types of coconut oil, and they vary according to source, production method, packaging, and price.

When you shop for coconut oil, one of the first things you’ll notice is that they are classified as either refined or unrefined. They may seem similar, but there is actually a very great difference between these two types of coconut oil.

Refined coconut oil, also known as refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) coconut oil, is made by mechanically and chemically refining, bleaching, and deodorizing dried coconuts (copra). Since copra is not fit for consumption, it needs to go through the RBD process to filter out impurities and make it more stable. It’s thin, tasteless, and doesn’t have a coconutty aroma, but has a high cooking temperature before it reaches its smoking point.

 

While RBD coconut oil is a great source of healthy fatty acids, I do not fully recommend it. Many brands are adulterated because of the chemical distillation processes that use lye and other harsh solvents. What’s more, manufacturers sometimes use rancid oil byproducts that are made from creating desiccated coconut flakes. Many RBD coconut oils are also hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, which can lead to the production of synthetic trans fats.

Meanwhile, unrefined coconut oil is made from pressing fresh, raw coconut (not copra) using mechanical methods but without adding chemicals and solvents. This is actually my coconut oil of choice, as it retains the coconut’s flavor and aroma, and is loaded with antioxidants and medium-chain fatty acids.

Be sure to also check the extraction method used. Coconut oil can be expeller-pressed, cold-pressed, or centrifuged. Expeller-pressing is a mechanical process that uses pressure to extract the oil, which creates friction and higher heat that may compromise the taste and nutrition of the oil. Cold-pressing is nearly similar to expeller-pressing, except that it’s done in a heat-controlled environment that keeps the temperature below 120° Fahrenheit (49° Celsius). In this sense, cold-pressed coconut oil is a better option.

However, I advise you to look for cold-pressed centrifuged coconut oil, where fresh coconuts are cold-pressed to make a coconut emulsion, then chilled to help pull out the oils. Afterwards, the milk goes through a centrifuge, where the pure oil spins away from the water layer, resulting in a pure, organic, unrefined and highly stable coconut oil.

In summary, shop for an unrefined, unbleached coconut oil that’s produced from organic and GMO-free coconuts, and made without chemicals, harsh solvents, and heat processing.

 

Where to Buy Coconut Oil: Don’t Settle for an Inferior Product!

With the growing popularity of coconut oil, people are now making the switch to this versatile cooking oil. But remember that not all coconut oil products are created equal, and not all of them have been subjected to the best manufacturing practices.

 

I would also advise you to be very careful when buying coconut oil from grocery stores, as you only have to rely on what is on the label to determine the quality of the product. There have been reports of large bottles of cheap supermarket coconut oils going rancid quickly, which means that either the oil was blended with vegetable oils that spoil easily, or that it has been filtered improperly, which led to coconut remnants to contaminate the oil.

You can buy coconut oil online as well, but you must thoroughly scrutinize the product. Check out their website to learn more about the company, where they source their coconuts, and how the oil is produced. Make sure that the company is truly committed to providing you with a high-quality product that is worth your money.

In addition, keep an eye out for these signs of a good high-quality coconut oil:

  • Appearance  It should be white in its solid form, and colorless as a liquid. Coconut oil stays liquid in temperatures above 25° Celsius (75° Fahrenheit), and will solidify like butter in lower temperatures or if refrigerated. Simply put it under low heat or leave it out for a few minutes to transform it into liquid.
  • Aroma and flavor – It should smell and taste like coconut, but should not be overpowering or strong. If it tastes neutral and is odorless, then it’s been refined. If it smells roasted or smoky, it may have been heat-pressed.
  • Shelf life – High-quality coconut oil can stay fresh for up to two years. It does not need refrigeration, but should be stored away from direct sunlight.

 

How to Keep Coconut Oil from Going Rancid

Despite being heat-resistant and more stable than other cooking oils, it is important that you know how to take good care of your coconut oil to prevent it from going bad quickly. Remember these simple tips:

  • Never place coconut oil in direct sunlight.
  • Use a clean spoon to scoop coconut oil from the container, to prevent mold and bacterial contamination the oil. Don’t use your fingers and avoid double-dipping.
  • Always keep the lid on, sealed tightly, to prevent moisture from going in.
  • Signs that your coconut oil has gone rancid are: turning yellow in color in liquid form, a blotchy consistency, foul taste and smell, and specks at the bottom of the container, which could indicate the presence of mold.

 

Please share this article with family and friends.  Also, if anyone has any questions, needs assistance, or wants to schedule an appointment, please give them our phone number.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Mercola

312-972-WELL

 

Advertisements
Rx to Wellness

Risk of Depression increases with use of prescription pain killers.

rxpainkillers

If you take prescription narcotic painkillers known as opioids for 90 days or more, you may significantly raise your risk of developing major depression, according to new research that adds to growing concerns surrounding the use of these common medications.

While those who took the drugs for 90 to 180 days had a 25 percent increased risk of depression, those who took opioids for 180 days or longer were at a 53 percent increased risk of developing depression compared to those who did not.

In other words, the risk seemed to go up the longer the painkillers were used, and also went up as the dosage increased. The researchers concluded:

“…the risk of development of depression increased as the duration of opioid analgesic exposure increased.”

Why Might Prescription Painkillers Lead to Depression?

It’s not entirely clear how the drugs may be involved in depression, although it is widely known that they have a strong impact on your brain. The drugs work by binding to receptors in your brain to decrease the perception of pain.

But they also create a temporary feeling of euphoria followed by dysphoria that can easily lead to physical dependence and addiction. The researchers speculated that there could be numerous factors linking opioid painkillers with depression:

“Some of these include opioid-induced resetting of the brain’s ‘reward pathway’ to a higher level, which means the chronic use of narcotic pain killers can elevate the threshold for a person’s ability to experience pleasure from natural rewards such as a food or sexual activity.

Other factors may include body aches months and years after the use of opioids has stopped, side effects such as adrenal, testosterone and vitamin D deficiencies and glucose dysregulation.”

Use of Prescription Opioid Painkillers Has Quintupled

The study’s lead author shared the startling statistics that “the use of prescription opioid analgesics has quintupled recently and that more than 200 million prescriptions were issued to patients in 2009 in the US.”

Given the magnitude of their use, their link to depression could constitute a “public health problem,” he said.

It wouldn’t be the first time the drugs have been linked to health problems of epidemic proportions. Prescription drug abuse has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009.

Men are still more likely to die from prescription painkiller overdose, but women are quickly catching up. Nearly 50,000 such deaths occurred among women between 1999 and 2010, and the statistics revealed by the CDC give a somber view of this growing problem:

  • More than 6,600 women, or 18 women every day, died from a prescription painkiller overdose in 2010
  • There were four times more deaths among women from prescription painkiller overdose than for cocaine and heroin deaths combined in 2010.
  • In 2010, there were more than 200,000 emergency department visits for opioid misuse or abuse among women — about one every three minutes.

The problem, once primarily seen in inner cities, is now even spanning to rural areas, hitting people of all ethnic backgrounds and income levels.

Opioids Are Among the Most Commonly Abused Drugs

Opioids like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl are one of the most commonly abused drug classes. These drugs are not only addictive, they can lead to slowed breathing and death if too much is taken, and the risks are compounded if you add alcohol to the equation.

Hydrocodone, a prescription opiate, is synthetic heroin. It’s indistinguishable from any other heroin as far as your brain and body is concerned. So, if you’re hooked on hydrocodone, you are in fact a good-old-fashioned heroin addict.

Worse, pain-killing drugs like fentanyl are actually 100 times more potent than natural opioids like morphine, making the addictive potential and side effects associated with prescription drug use much higher. At the root of the problem, of course, is the fact that so many Americans are struggling with pain.

Chronic pain affects 100 million Americans – that’s more than the number impacted by diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Yet, many physicians simply do not know how to help their patients manage, or eliminate, chronic pain without the use of these risky drugs.

The ‘Pain Prescription’ That Won’t Increase Your Risk of Depression (or Any Other Chronic Disease!)

If you suffer from chronic pain, prescription medications should be your last resort. Rarely, if ever, should they be your go-to option. If your physician has not spoken with you about some of these natural methods to address pain at its most foundational level, it may be time to seek out one who will. The four steps I recommend doing first, include:

  • Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they positively influence prostaglandins.) The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA contained in krill oil have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.
  • Reduce your intake of most processed foods as not only do they contain sugar and additives but most are loaded with omega-6 fats that upset your delicate omega-3:omega-6 ratio, which will contribute to inflammation, a key factor in most pain.
  • Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars (especially fructose) from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production. That is why eliminating sugar and grains is so important to controlling your pain.
  • Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.

Try These 5 Natural Options Before Even Considering Painkillers for Chronic Pain

Once you’ve addressed the basics above, try these safe pain-relief techniques to help eliminate your pain without the need for prescription drugs:

  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Few people want to be told that their pain is psychological or emotional in origin, but there’s quite a bit of evidence that backs this up. Underlying emotional issues and unresolved trauma can have a massive influence on your health, particularly as it relates to physical pain. According to Dr. John Sarno, a psychiatrist who uses mind-body techniques to treat patients with severe low back pain, EFT has a greater than 80 percent success rate.
  • Chiropractic adjustments: According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine6 and funded by the National Institutes of Health, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.
  • Massage: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline – reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure. It is a particularly effective therapy for stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 to 90 percent of disease.
  • Acupuncture: Researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment.7
  • Relearn proper posture: The Gokhale Method addresses the root cause of physical pain, which is typically caused by improper posture. The method teaches you to reclaim your primal posture, which is the way your body was designed to stand, sit and move. You can also try Foundation Training—an innovative method developed by Dr. Eric Goodman to treat his own chronic low back pain. The exercises are designed to help you strengthen your entire core and move the way nature intended.
  • Infrared Lasers therapy like K Laser can be profoundly effective and should be considered as an alternative before any surgical procedure for pain relief.

There Are Alternatives to Prescription Painkillers

If you have chronic pain of any kind, you don’t have to make the hard choice to either suffer from your pain or suffer from the side effects of prescription painkilling drugs. Please understand that there are many safe and effective alternatives that provide excellent pain relief without increasing your risk of depression or any of the other health hazards that pain medications often cause.

  • Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than prescription drugs like NSAIDs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
  • Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
  • Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. In fact, curcumin has been shown in over 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.
  • Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  • Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind that most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider leaving a little of the pulpy core intact when you consume the fruit.
  • Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards.
  • Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
  • Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.

Archived Article

Health and Wellness Associates

We offer online help to prevent and reverse any health needs you have.