Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Tags: coconut oil | health benefits | healthy cooking oil | saturated fat | chronic illnesses | Dr. David Brownstein

Coconut Oil: Healthier Choice

Monday, 27 August 2012 09:25 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Question: Is coconut oil a healthier choice for cooking oil?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

About 40 years ago, the powers-that-be started telling Americans that polyunsaturated fatty acids — like corn, canola, or sunflower oil — were the healthy choice. We were also advised to avoid oils with saturated fats for cooking.

So we stopped using saturated fatty acids like coconut oil and switched to polyunsaturated oils. What has been the consequence of this change? We have more cancer and chronic illness, and we still have high levels of heart disease.

I believe one of the main reasons we have not made much of a dent in chronic illnesses is due to the misinformation about which oils are healthy and which are not. In fact, coconut oil is one of the best substances to cook with.

Fats are classified as short-, medium-, or long-chain based on the number of carbon molecules they contain. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is short- and medium-chain fats.

Approximately 50 percent of the fatty acid content in coconut oil is a medium-chain fat called lauric acid. In our body, lauric acid is converted into a substance called monolaurin. Medium-chain fats, like monolaurin, have a number of antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties.

Another medium-chain fatty acid found in coconut oil is capric acid, which is converted into monocaprin in the body. This also has been shown to have antiviral and antibacterial properties. In fact, the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil has been recognized for more than 50 years. Short- and medium-chain fats are not found in polyunsaturated oils like corn, sunflower, soy, or canola oil.

Research shows many different viruses can be inactivated by coconut oil including:

• Cytomegalovirus
• Herpes simplex
• Measles

Patients suffering from chronic infections can benefit from adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into their diet.

Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to add coconut oil to their diet because they have been told that coconut oil causes atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only does coconut oil not cause heart disease, it can help reverse it.

Research dating back as far as 20 years concluded that the “available population studies show that dietary coconut oil does not lead to high serum cholesterol or to high coronary heart disease mortality or morbidity.”

Other researchers have since reported that native Pacific islanders who have a high intake of coconut oil had no signs of atherosclerosis until they migrated to New Zealand and significantly lowered their intake of coconut oil. The scientists found that, after migration, the islanders experienced increases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and decreased levels of HDL cholesterol.

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Coconut oil is a healthy choice of cooking oil because it contains substances that help fight chronic illnesses.
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Monday, 27 August 2012 09:25 AM
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