I have had a rush of questions lately about the risks and health benefits of Coconut Milk. A lot of people are concerned about the fat content. DON’T be! First, most people are too focused on the fat content when they should be more worried about the sugar content of things. Coconut milk, oil, etc., while high in fat, is 2/3 medium chain – which means it is pushed straight to the liver where it is readily used for immediate energy and doesn’t have a chance to be stored as fat. Bodybuilders have been using and looking for good sources of “medium chain” fats for years. I found a good description for you to read.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Nearly 50% of the fatty acid in natural coconut oil is lauric acid, which converts to the fatty acid monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has adverse effects on a variety of microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses. It [monolaurin] destroys the lipid membrane of such enveloped viruses as HIV, measles, Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), influenza and cytomegalovirus (CMV). The usefulness lauric acid/monolaurin in treating AIDS is currently under investigation. Lauric acid is a main component of human breast milk and helps protect children from illness during infancy.
Capric acid, which comprises another 7% of coconut oil fat content, also stimulates anti-microbial activity.
In other words: not only does coconut oil not cause heart problems, it is good for you. To quote Dr. Mary Enig: “The research over four decades concerning coconut oil in the diet and heart disease is quite clear: coconut oil has been shown to be beneficial.”(See endnote)
Coconut oil is a “functional food,” defined as a food that “provides a health benefit over and beyond the basic nutrients.”(See endnote) It is an immune-system enhancer.
For further reading: Mary G. Enig, Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century. Also the Center for Research on Lauric Oils, Inc.
A personal note as a new parent: my son will be turning 1 on the 10th of August. Most sources of course now say you need to put them on Whole Milk. I don’t think so! Unless you are getting Raw Milk, which unfortunately, can be difficult to come by depending on where you live, but that is a topic for another day. We are going to be adding good healthy amounts of Coconut Milk to his diet.
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