Monday, December 1, 2014

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

What Is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been extracted from the flesh of mature fruits of the coconut palm or the Cocos nucifera.

Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years by cultures living in the tropics. People of these cultures traditionally demonstrated incredible levels of good health and fitness, particularly if they followed their traditional diet that was normally rich in tropical fruits and coconut oil. Their health often deteriorated when they started adding unhealthy Western foods to their diet.

Understanding Fats

There is a widely spread misconception about fat. The idea that fat, especially the saturated fat, was bad for you originated in the 1960s-70s. There was a faulty research that pointed out that fat was the main culprit in the heart disease. This idea gave birth to low-fat diet and a marketing craze of low-fat, no-fat "food" products. In 1977 low-fat diet was recommended to the American society by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee. This recommendation caused more harm than good. There was not only no decrease in heart disease, Americans were getting sicker and fatter than ever before. Only recently, after evaluation of the empirical data "powers-to-be" came to realization that we need fat in our diet and that saturated fat is not necessarily evil.

We need fats in our diet! Fats helps us absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are necessary for the proper neurological function and other processes within the body. They provide insulation to our body and the internal organs and are stored as a valuable energy reserve. So, instead of vilifying fat, we should eat the right fats.

Fats are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. (Some phospholipids may also contain nitrogen and phosphorus atoms.) The number of hydrogen molecules is what determines saturation of fats. When each carbon atom has its maximum number of hydrogen atoms attached to it, we call that fat a saturated fat. In other words, a saturated fat is a fat that is filled to its capacity with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats are usually of animal origin - like lard and butter. They are solid and rather unstable at room temperature.

Plant-derived fats are unsaturated fats. They are either monounsaturated - like the oleic fatty acid in olive oil; or polyunsaturated - like linoleic fatty acid found in corn, soybean, peanut, cottonseed or safflower oil.

Although plant-derived, coconut oil belongs to the group of saturated fats. It is a source of medium- and short-chain fatty acids. It does not oxidize when exposed to oxygen; it liquefies in room temperature; it has a high burning point.

Natural coconut oil consists of more than 90% saturated fat, but it also contains some unsaturated fat that includes mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids:
  • Most saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides: lauric acid, capric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid.
  • Linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid)
  • Oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid)
  • Plyphenols such as phenolic acid which is responsible for the aroma and taste of the coconut oil.
Coconut oil also contains vitamins E and K, choline and iron. 

The biochemistry of fats is rather complicated, but not very difficult to understand. If you are interested in biochemistry and want to learn more about fats, please click here.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

The most recent research confirms what was known for ages: Coconut oil is good for you! The many health benefits include:
  • Mental health and cognition - Research shows that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil can significantly improve cognitive function in humans and animals. Studies demonstrated that both, people and aging dogs consuming MCTs performed better on cognitive tests that those who did not. Moreover, MCTs produce ketones which are used by the body as an insulin-independent energy source. The most recent research suggests that Alzheimer's patients may not be unable to properly utilize insulin in their brains. The brain needs insulin in order to use glucose, but when brain cells lack glucose, they die. This may lead to brain damage and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Since ketones deliver energy necessary to support healthy function and structure of brain cells they may play important role in treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. More research needs to be conducted, but there is hope for those who suffer from this incurable disease.
  • Digestion - Coconut oil may help improve digestion and digestive disorders. The medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil are easier to digest that the long chain fatty acids in other oils. This means that the digestion of coconut oil puts less strain on liver and pancreas since the digestion of MCFAs does not require bile or pancreatic enzymes. Coconut oil can help alleviate symptoms of Crohn's disease, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis and stomach ulcers. It speeds digestion and can prevent constipation. Coconut oil also has the unique ability to kill or expel parasites of the digestive tract including worms such as tapeworms and protozoa such as girardia. Coconut oil also helps keep H. pylori bacteria in check.
  • Weight loss - Coconut oil can help you lose weight. It works on many levels: it helps improve digestion and heal the digestive tract, prevent constipation, increase metabolic rate, prevent food cravings, and improve the thyroid function. 
  • Heart health - For many researchers coconut oil is quite puzzling as far as heart health is concerned. Coconut oil contains both, heart-friendly myristic fatty acid and the lauric fatty acid that is generally considered to be detrimental to cardiovascular health. However, the combination of these fatty acids in coconut oil tends to improve the cholesterol profile since it increases the HDL (good cholesterol) thus improving the HDL/LDL (good versus bad cholesterol) ratio in blood. The HDL/LDL ratio is regarded as an accurate indicator of the heart disease.
  • Immune system - Anti-microbial properties of coconut oil have been well known for centuries to people living in tropical cultures. Research confirms that coconut oil has the ability to improve immune function. Among others, coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted by the body to monolaurin. Monolaurin is a natural component in breast milk. research shows that monolaurin has the capacity to kill yeast, viruses and gram positive bacteria such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus or Listeria.
  • Candida - Capric acid, caprilic acid, caproic acid, lauric acid and myristic acid - fatty acids present in coconut oil are very useful in healing and preventing candida. They are well known for their antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Regular use of coconut oil helps not only heal systemic candidiasis, but also to prevent recurrent infection.
  • Dental care - Coconut oil is often used to prevent tooth decay. Applied topically, coconut oil heals swollen and inflamed gums. Many people use coconut oil instead of toothpaste, others perform a simple daily ritual known as oil pulling wherein a spoonful of coconut oil is swished between the teeth for 15 minutes or so. Coconut oil with its anti-microbial properties acts as a unique mouth cleanser. It not only removes bacteria and plaque, it brightens the teeth, heals oral infections and prevents bad breath.
  • Vision - A study conducted by Vallikannan Baskaran, from the Central Food Technological Research Institute in India, demonstrated that consumption of coconut oil promotes the bio-availability of lutein which is necessary for maintaining eye health in aging adults. 
  • Skin health - Coconut oil helps to heal skin infections, allergic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and wounds. Its antibacterial properties make it a perfect ointment for infected wounds. It stops infections of the wound and the putrefaction of adjacent skin tissues.
  • Skincare - Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer and emollient. It may help to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin. Since the virgin coconut oil is free from any additives, it is a perfect solution for delicate or sensitive skin.
  • Haircare - Coconut oil is a wonderful conditioner for hair and scalp. Traditionally it has been used to ensure a healthy hair growth and to prevent scalp infections and dandruff. 

Buying Coconut Oil

Buying coconut oil might not be as easy as it seems. The recent coconut oil "craze" brought tons of coconut oil on the market. There is not a single supermarket or a health food store that would not carry coconut oil today. But like with everything, not all products are created equal and there is a difference not only in price, but also in the quality. Remember to always buy certified organic, cold pressed, hexane-free product.

By Dominique Allmon


*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Creative Commons License
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to Get Rid of Wrinkles?

Wrinkles are a subtle hint that you’ve been around the block and have the scars to prove it. That might sound harsh, but consider the popularity of skin care products and facial moisturizers and it’s evident that consumers want to get rid of wrinkles, and prevent them when possible.

That’s easier said than done. Wrinkles form when repetitive facial movements like squinting combine with the lost collagen production that occurs with age. Sun damage can also cause wrinkles, and while that’s not a bad thing, wrinkles are a tell-tale sign of age and can make you look, well, older.

How can you get rid of wrinkles? Sometimes you can’t. But you can minimize the appearance of wrinkles and texture of the skin, with good skin care and healthy habits. Better yet, you can prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place with a little self-awareness, and the tips you’ll find in this article. 

9 Things to Remember
  • Sleep On Your Back – Sleep lines are wrinkles that form while you sleep that remain on your face during the day. Sleep on your side and you’re prone to wrinkles on your cheeks and chin. Sleep on your face and you’re vulnerable to wrinkles above your eyebrows. Your best bet? Sleep on your back.
  • Eat Oily Fish – The benefits of the fatty acid omega-3 don’t just apply to your mental health, they also extend to your skin. Cold-water, oily fish like salmon and herring keep skin plump and can prevent wrinkles from forming. Also try mackerel or sardines.
  • Don’t Squint – When you squint, you strain your facial muscles, which can form wrinkles over time. Get reading glasses if needed, and invest in a good pair of sun glasses to prevent sun damage and prevent further squinting.
  • Use Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA) – These are natural fruit acids available in topical form that shed dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, especially around the eyes. In high concentrations, AHAs might stimulate collagen production.
  • Switch Coffee for Cocoa – Chocolate lovers rejoice! A 2006 study links cocoa to two flavenols, epicatchin and catechin, that protect skin from the sun, improve circulation and leave skin looking vibrant and smooth. Just be sure to choose dark chocolate, for its higher levels of flavenols and to avoid those extra calories.
  • Be Gentle to Your Face – Hot water zaps the natural facial oils that prevent wrinkles, and the same goes for over-washing. Of course you should wash your face, but don’t over do it. Use a facial cleanser instead of soap. Sprinkle water, don’t rub it on, and never use a body soap or moisturizer on your face.
  • Use a Topical Vitamin C – One of the more potent antioxidants, vitamin C can increase production of collagen and protect the face from UVA and UVB ray damage from the sun, reduce inflammation and improve pigmentation. Of the various forms of topical vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid appears to work best.
  • Eat Soy – Soy may protect against and reduce damage from the sun, improve the skin’s structure and keep skin taut. There is a controversy, however. Soy is believed to be a goitrogene, i.e. a substance that may interfere with your thyroid function. Use products made of fermented soy. Asian women who consume high amounts of fermented soy products, seem not to have any thyroid problems.
  • Protect from Direct Sun – Avoid the sun between 10AM and 4PM when possible, and wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 when you can’t.

Finally, remember the basics of good skin care, as they’ll further compliment your goal to get rid of wrinkles. Don’t smoke, and moisturize often. Be vigilant, and guard your skin. With time and a little luck you’ll rid of wrinkles, and look younger for it.

Buy the best natural skincare products you can afford! When you turn 50 something no one will remember that you used to wear expensive shoes at 25, but everybody will be able to see that you invested in the health and beauty of your skin. This is one investment that really pays!

Article courtesy of Natural Health Source

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Guess What Came to Dinner

Or How to Treat Parasitic Infections

Now, this is a subject nobody really wants to talk about. The fact is, however, that 90% humans all over the world will have a problem with intestinal parasites during their lifetime. This news is quite shocking and people in North America or Europe usually associate parasitic infestation with poor, under-developed countries. They couldn't be more wrong. The rate of parasite-related illnesses in North American is skyrocketing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies parasites to be one of the six most dangerous diseases that infect humans. Parasites outrank cancer as the number one global killer and account for many digestive disorders from which people all over the world suffer.

On the menu?

How do you know that you have parasites?

There are many symptoms of parasitic infections and not all of them concentrate in the digestive tract. Some symptoms may be unclear and can be confused with symptoms of other diseases and patients are often misdiagnosed unless a parasitology test have been performed at a lab. 

Symptoms of parasitic infestation may include:
  • diarrhea
  • gas or bloating
  • bad breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain or tenderness
  • chronic fatigue or weakness
  • anemia and malnutrition despite proper diet
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • abdominal swelling
  • chronic sinusitis
  • skin infections and acne
  • passing a worm in your stool
Intestinal infestation is caused either by protozoa or by helminths. Protozoa such as Giardia lamblia are single-celled organisms that can multiply within the body. The word "helminth" comes from the Greek word for worm. Helminths are multicellular organisms that, when mature, can be seen with the naked eye. The most common types of helminths are tapeworms and roundworms. Helminths often find their way into a body of a human host through house pets, contaminated food or water, through soil, mosquito bites, and even through a sexual intercourse. Poorly washed vegetables eaten raw may also contain eggs of parasites.

Black Walnut

For ages herbalist all over the world used herbal preparations to help their patients get rid of intestinal parasites. Herbs such as garlic, black walnut or wormwood are quite effective in removing parasites from the body. In addition, increased hygiene and care at meal preparation are necessary during the treatment. The amount of time needed in order to accomplish complete removal of parasites from the body depends on the severity of parasitic infestation. It is suggested that patients should absolve a 6-week protocol since 6 weeks is generally the life cycle of a harmful organism. The protocol should be repeated at least once after three months or so.

Proper hygiene

Look for the best herbal products on the market or visit the GHC for more information about the Harmful Parasite Cleanse

By Dominique Allmon

Harmful Organism Cleanse Kit

*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Images source here