We Love Organic Coconut Oil

**As the temperatures dipped and all the social gatherings of the holidays subsided, an unwelcome guest traveled with me into 2016. I’m sure this unwelcome guest is familiar to most people this time of year as it brings congestion, sinus pressure, leading to headaches, along with a minor sore throat. Yes, I am talking about the common cold. Although I stocked up on various homeopathic products from the co-op’s wellness department, which helped to varying degrees over a couple days, it wasn’t until I discovered Garden of Life’s raw organic extra virgin coconut oil on the third day of my cold that I truly felt relief. I thought that now is the time to try it as it is almost half price through January 31, 2016 at $9.99 for 16 ounces.

I simply swirled around a teaspoon of coconut oil in my morning coffee on the third day and I felt the sinus pressure release in my left ear, in addition to loosening the congestion in my nose within ten minutes. I also felt slightly more energized despite a night of restless sleep and the swelling in my throat seemed to reduce several notches too. However, as I document this, please take note that coconut oil is not a surefire cure to the common cold or any of the medical conditions listed, and do recognize that this is my personal experience with this product, meaning that everyone’s outcomes may differ depending upon many variables.

I had not considered coconut oil as a cold remedy until I spoke with Chip Greene, an herbalist and an employee in the co-op’s wellness department.  According to Greene, raw extra virgin coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, meaning it contains lauric, caprylic and capric acids which have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. He also mentioned that raw coconut oil, unlike other fats, is easy digestible, moving easily into one’s cells, which attributes to how it can provide almost instant relief. Greene adds that these acids may help in the process of clearing up many infections, especially those related to the gums, skin, kidneys, and the urinary track.

In addition to its immune boosting qualities and because of its stable, healthy, natural saturated fat, which is free from trans-fatty acids, research shows coconut oil may assist in boosting one’s metabolism, burning fat. Therefore, Greene admits that most people use coconut oil to aid in weight loss. Coconut oil may also assist in alleviating the effects of other health issues, according to Greene, such as Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and candida. Candida is a yeast-like fungal infection in the body that can lead to gastrointestinal problems, food allergies or other infections. Greene exclaimed that research indicates how coconut oil has a low Glycemic Index, meaning it may help prevent blood sugar fluctuations, it increases ketones, or byproducts of the breakdown of fats in the body, which may aid in memory and cognitive function and its anti-fungal properties may help kill any yeast overgrowth.

Overall, don’t be fooled by the misguided nutrition logic that all saturated fats are bad for you. Coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids contain high amounts of Omega-3s, which are those healthy fats that are often missing from our diets. As Greene has iterated and I’ve experienced first-hand, these fatty acids, when taken in small increments (start using this product slowly and ask a professional how much is right for you), are quickly digested, producing energy instead of body fat that aids in strengthening the immune system, blood cholesterol levels and many other bodily functions.**

About Garden of Life’s Raw Coconut Oil:

Garden of Life’s raw, vegan and certified organic extra virgin coconut oil is completely unrefined, meaning it is not hydrogenated, bleached or deodorized, which would otherwise detract from its rich nutritional profile. Besides mixing it in with various drinks such as coffee, tea, water and smoothies, coconut oil is great for the skin, providing hydration and moisture. It’s also an excellent culinary oil and can be used in the place of other oils, including butter, when cooking, frying or baking. Do keep in mind that when you substitute coconut oil in your recipe, your dish will take on a coconut flavor, which will vary in intensity depending upon how much you used.

**The information in this article is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. Seek the advice of your personal practitioner to understand how any dietary change will affect your individual health issues. Wellness consultations are also available at Valley Natural Foods with Eileen Johnson, a registered nurse, on Monday and Wednesday evenings, if you have individual dietary concerns. Call 952-891-1212 ext. 221 to make an appointment.

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