Coconuts: An Amazing Health Food

Coconuts are a bountiful gift to this planet. In Sanskrit (the mother language of India), the coconut palm is known as ‘kalpa vriksha', meaning ‘ the tree that supplies all that is needed to live.' An ancient plant that is distantly related to grasses, the coconut has been used as a food and medicine since the dawn of history. Ayurveda (the art of science and medicine that has its roots in India) has long advocated the therapeutic, medicinal and cosmetic properties of  coconuts.

The coconut's liquid filtration system is one of the reasons why this beloved plant is so nourishing. Every liter of water in its shell takes almost nine months to be drawn up and through the plant, where it is deposited in the nut. More electrolytes are found in coconut water than in most other plants, making it an ideal hydrating liquid. Drinking a mixture of 55% coconut and 45% green juice gives the body an immediate burst of natural energy.

A completely saturated medium-chain fatty acid (remember: not all saturated fats are bad!), coconut oil contains no cholesterol and does not form dangerous trans-fatty acids. The medium-chain fatty acids (MCT's) in coconut oil possess incredible health giving benefits requiring less energy and fewer enzymes to digest, allowing the body to quickly convert the MCT's into usable energy. Even better than olive oil for lowering overall cholesterol levels, coconut oil is stable at high temperatures (up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an excellent choice for use in cooking.

In terms of its nutritive and cosmetic applications, coconut oil is one of the most important oils in the spectrum of fats. It is useful to the thyroid, helping the production of anti-aging steroids, DHEA, pregnenolone and progesterone. Heart disease, cancer, obesity, senility and other common diseases related to aging are abated by these steroids. Capryllic and lauric acid are also found in coconut, which both help control bacteria, funguses and viruses in the body. In fact, caprilyc acid is the most effective combatant for yeast invasions, making coconut a good oil to work with regulating systemic and localized flare-ups. If these qualities aren't enough, using coconut oil as your oil of choice in cooking can help regulate blood sugar, aiding harmony in all body systems. When using coconut oil medicinally, adults should use at least two or three tablespoons daily.

Cooking with coconut oil is a delightful way to introduce this supplement into your life. Try using it instead of margarine, butter or other vegetable oils. Also, consider using fresh coconuts that are not too old (i.e., forgo the coconut shavings and buy a whole coconut instead).The flesh is primarily fat, and it can be chopped and eaten with fruit for a delectable treat. Coconut oil is also great as an oil for veggies, tossed into your morning smoothie or slathered on bread with spices or preserves. If you're looking for a way to enhance oats or rice, coconut oil adds a special note to a normally humble dish.

Coconut's reputation as a skin nutrient is well-documented, and people with many skin types can benefit from its moisture-giving qualities. In aromatherapy, both virgin and fractionated coconut oils are used. A way to see the
difference is to remember that virgin coconut oil looks more like coconut flesh. It is a solid fat that is used in both cooking and body care, and it can be mixed with aromatic oils. While it is certainly a dense oil, virgin coconut oil doesn't leave the skin feeling too oily, as it is absorbed rapidly. Fractionated coconut has similar qualities, but it is made by physically reducing the size of the fat molecule, removing the section of the molecule that makes it a solid. This creates a liquid oil that has no odor, lasts a long time (its molecular structure makes it “fully saturated,” meaning it has no atomic space for oxygen to attach, thereby deteriorating the oil) and is quickly consumed by the skin. Sometimes coconut is mixed with other oils, like jojoba, resulting in a nutrient-rich cream. With so many coconut oils to choose from, mixing coconut with aromatic oils is a simple way to add to your health and beauty regimen.

A final thought on coconuts: in addition to being a medicine, a food and a skin moisturizer, coconut oil is also an excellent erotic oil. The smell and taste of this oil can enhance sexual intercourse. Try making a yummy natural body lotion including coconut oil blended with essential oils of cacao and vanilla. Lather this on the skin of your beloved and enjoy the results.

In terms of versatility, the coconut is a marvel of nature and a perfect oil to work with in aromatherapy and nutritional healing. It can be used in body work, cooking and skin care, and its radiance is highlighted when complemented with essential oils. Use it in any form and expect results – the coconut has long been our friend, and its beneficial qualities continue to be discovered and cherished the world over.

About the Author:
Penny Livegood believes flower essences are an excellent companion to essential oils. Learn more about flower essences, essential oils and botanical medicine online.