Virgin Coconut Oil
It is now believed that coconut oil is the healthiest of oils on earth.
Some even say, it is the miracle oil if only prepared as virgin oil free of harmful contaminants.
It is the virgin coconut oil that has this unique property.
My intention is to revive the age old tradition of extracting coconut oil for domestic consumption.
Virgin coconut oil is an extract of pure coconut oil free of polychlorinated biophenols. All industrial coconut oils except virgin coconut oil are contaminated with certain amount of these chemicals during industrial processing.
PCBs are known to increase the incidence and risk of breast cancer. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a class of chemicals with a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Because of their health concerns these chemicals (PCBs) are banned in the US and Canada but they still linger in the environment and are present in the food chain, particularly in fatty foods.
The major culprit of the production of this chemical is the chlorination of water before the so called purification (only from bacteria).
Our doctors forget about the chemical contaminants in our water because of their allopathic inclination to produce and distribute in mass scale, chemicals of dubious nature in the name of treatment of modern diseases.
The propagation of these chemicals with the help of the pharmaceutical companies is only a side industry.
I have renamed these items (PCBPs) in a generic descriptive term of polluted when processing (P), chemically contaminated (C) while preserving and biologically bombarded (degrading) for storage and mass scale production (P) by commercial chains and companies (including hydrogenation of natural oil for long storage life).
Much research on the nutritional and medicinal benefits on coconut oil has surfaced in recent years.
Much of that research has been done by Dr. Mary Enig who has classified coconuts as a "functional food," which provides health benefits over and beyond the basic nutrients. She has specifically identified lauric acid as a key ingredient in coconut products.
Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-protozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid."
Coconut oil has been used for centuries as a vital source of food for health and general wellbeing in traditional communities in the tropics including Sri-Lanka.
Recent research verifies traditional wisdom and beliefs that the coconut palm is "The Tree of Life" and that, just like any other pure, whole food, coconuts and coconut virgin oils have a significant role to play in a well balanced, nutritious diet.
Abandoning unhealthy lifestyles and reverting to natural foods can help to reverse many of the diseases that manifest through the unhealthy living styles in the modern society and the consumption of highly refined foods in our diet.
Our daily food intake should contain various combinations of fats or oils.
However, the structures of different oils are as diverse as nature itself.
A basic knowledge of how fats are classified by their chemical nature is necessary to understand the logic of recommended foods for consumption but I am not interested in teaching biochemistry but to educate the masses how to prepare virgin coconut oil and consume a healthy meal.
However, this classification is important when choosing oil to augment and support a healthy lifestyle for our children and families.
Research shows that replacing other cooking oils with virgin coconut oil generally creates a more favorable HDL/LDL ratio.
This oil has antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-protozoal properties and, like all whole foods, contains nutrients for a healthy body.
A Case for Coconut oil
Coconut oil is in many ways a unique gift of nature.
It contains 92% saturated fatty acids, giving coconut oil important properties often lost under the dusty political cloud of the cholesterol debate. Quasi immune to light oxidation and highly resistant to rancidity the oil is functional as a safe nutritional source in most climates without the need for refrigeration or special storage conditions.
However, the fact that is lost in the furor over cholesterol is the differentiation of the different sub-groups of fatty acids and in particular the importance the of Medium Chain Fatty Acids.
Modern researchers have discovered important health benefits and critical bodily functions that are supported by the pool of MCFAs available to the human body.
The high concentration of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) of 62% is the critical aspect of why this tropical oil not only behaves differently to any other saturated fat, but is also deemed healthier than most unsaturated oils, the latter often having a much higher concentration of long chain fatty acids.. Generally MCFAs are of a smaller particle size thus requiring less energy and fewer enzymes for absorption, placing less strain on the digestive system.
This is further enhanced by the fact that short and medium chain fatty acids are made soluble and absorbed in the aqueous phase of the intestinal contents and transported directly via the portal vein to the liver where they are consumed as an energy source similar to carbohydrates. MCFA have also been shown to assist the absorption and retention of calcium, magnesium and some amino acids as well supporting the healthy functioning of the thyroid.
Notwithstanding, all the bodily functions that may be enhanced by the consumption of MCFAs the most outstanding finding of modern research has been the capacity of certain MCFA to enhance the human immune system and actively participate in the capacity of the human body to fight virus, bacteria and fungi.
The most important of these MCFAs that enhance and boost the bodies immune system are Caproic Acid, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid and Lauric Acid and Myristic Acid.
It is however the powerful capacity of Lauric acid to immobilize harmful invaders of our body, which has excited researchers the most.
Although Dr Jon Kabara had already noted the antimicrobial activity of lauric acid in 1966, it has been only in the last 10 years that the potential of all MCFA in fighting bacterial and viral infections has been realized.
Furthermore, in addition to their capacity to inactivate pathogenic organisms, the use of MCFAs has shown no negative toxicological or pharmacological side effects.
If anything MCFA have shown to weaken viruses or bacteria that show antibiotic resistance to such an extent that these drugs can actually function against these organisms, while the use of MCFAs over time has not shown any build-up of resistance by microbial organisms to these fatty acids.
In practical terms, the consumption of MCFAs would not only boost the human immune system without fear of negative side effects, but also that they could be consumed to compliment the functions of general antibiotic treatments when their effectiveness is decreased by built up resistance found in bacteria. MCFAs are effective mostly in their digested form or in the case of lauric acid: monolaurin. The effectiveness of monolaurin is based on the small size of the particle and the similarity in substance to the lipid (fat) membranes coating harmful microorganisms. Monolaurin is attracted to the virus and is then easily absorbed into its quasi fluid membrane weakening it to such a degree that it literally splits open, killing the organism and allowing the bodies own white blood cells to effectively clean and dispose of the remnants.
These research results have lead to the incorporation of especially Caprylic, Capric and Lauric Acid into many accepted anti-viral/anti-bacterial pharmaceutical treatments today.
The fact is that over 62% of coconut oil is made up of these three major fatty acids.
In addition the majority, around 48%, is lauric acid, the fundamental building block of our bodies immune system and the most effective anti-pathogenic of all MCFAs.
Now how to prepare Virgin oil at home
It is very simple and can be accomplished in a few steps but I would give a summary of the tradition way of preparation of coconut oil.
My mother used to prepare coconut oil at home from a recipe that come down for generations.
She added lot of medicinal leaves and the aroma of a bottled prepared by her was refreshing.
Even though I hated it being put on my head before combing the hair >The aroma was probably added to entice me.
8 coconuts for a bottle of one coconut oil bottle.
1. Scrape and grate 8 coconuts
2. Boil the same till the smell of the coconut oil emanates
3. Then squeeze the milk from the scrapings
4. Ground the same in a mortar with pestle
5. Simmer in a container till water evaporates
6. Collect coconut oil once concentrated to about one bottle
1. Squeeze the milk of a grated coconut (one) with a little water
2. Separate the Miti Kiri (the first fistful of coconut milk)
3. Put it in the fridge
4. Separate the top layer of oil when cooled
5. Do this every day and once separated can be put in the freezer
6. In the alternative the liquidizer can be use for extracting the first portion of the milk which is fairly water soluble
7. Use extra water to prepare for Dee Kiri (Diluted watery milk)
8. Use the same (Dee Kiri) for cooking
9. Dry the remaining Pol Kudu (kernal remnants) in sunlight
10. Once an adequate amount is collected go to the nearest grinding mill and ask them to extract the oil for you
11. If not interested use the same to polish the floor
12. Or I am thinking whether it could be utilized as manure or chicken feed with conservation in mind.
Now to extract the virgin oil one has to take the lot that were collected over time and heat it in low fire to evaporate the water and concentrate the coconut oil.
If one is interested one can add various medicinal leaves for preservation and for invigorating smell.
In the traditional way a lot of energy is wasted in boiling the grated coconut.
By putting in the fridge the initial preparation is made simple (energy saving too) and the separation of oil is made easy.
Use this oil for frying.
Mind you stir frying.
It is that simple that is why our housewives are not taking any interest on this virgin oil.
One does not have to pay a fortune for the commercially prepared and imported virgin oil.
Please do not deep fry, use only Chinese method of stir fry and the woks.
7th December, 2006