Rejuvenation Cafe





While I was in India, I experienced my first luxurious coconut oil hair treatment which left my hair with added body and shine. The Indian people consider the coconut palm tree as the source of many life-sustaining elements because every part of it is useful in maintaining and restoring health. For example, the coconut itself provides meat, water, milk, cream, and oil; its flower, sugar and wine; its husk can be used to weave cloth, as a decorative garden planter, and by Ayurvedic medicine practitioners for its antimicrobial properties. Actually, in those areas where the coconut palm tree grows in abundance, the coconut is used to treat a variety of health problems with much success.

Due to the "bad press", I had been under the impression that coconut oil is unhealthy for the heart as it is labeled as an artery-clogging saturated fat. The tendency is to avoid saturated fats as they are said to raise "bad" cholesterol levels in the blood, coconut oil included. However, before researching coconut oil, I did not know that there are many different types of saturated fat, and that each has a different effect on the body. I found that not all saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels and/or have an adverse effect on the body; coconut oil falls into this category.

Coconut oil is considered a "functional food," which means that it has health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Most fats are digested and metabolized in the stomach and small intestines; digestive enzymes secreted by the stomach and pancreas and bile from gallbladder are essential to fat digestion. Coconut oil, however, is easily digested without the secretion of the above enzymes and therefore is completely broken down before it leaves the stomach. As it enters the small intestine, it is absorbed before traveling to the liver for storage as fuel. I do not recommend ingesting coconut oil in the evening as it is very energizing and therefore may prevent one from falling asleep. Therefore I add one tablespoon of coconut oil to juice, a smoothie or hot tea in the morning for a daily energy booster, and a second dose after lunch. Coconut oil also takes the edge off hunger pangs which helps with appetite control.

I use coconut oil for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures than either olive oil or canola oil. Coconut oil, being highly saturated, is very stable and resistant to oxidation thereby decreasing the production of free radicals. I also apply coconut oil to my body and face. Pacific Islanders have a tradition of applying the oil to their skin from head to toe because it protects their skin from the hot sun, keeping it smooth and healthy. I like using this oil for giving and receiving massages as it improves skin appearance and helps to soothe sore muscles. It is better to combine coconut oil with other oils as it is very absorbent. My favorite combination is almond oil with coconut oil.

Written by Mimi Lam — November 13, 2014