This morning I woke to see an article heralding virgin coconut oil as a cure for arthritis!
Obviously, this got my attention! I thought I’d be bringing you news of some new discovery on top of the obvious superfood benefits.
What about the study?
The Indian study reported that virgin coconut oil has even more disease-fighting anti-oxidant potential if it is broken down with heat.
This newly discovered mechanism increases the anti-inflammatory potency of virgin coconut oil, and is being touted as a treatment for systemic inflammation.
Researchers found that heating the virgin coconut oil in water (wet-milling) broke down the protein bonds that hold the antioxidants in place, allowing more of them to be absorbed into the coconut oil.
The Wet-milling process provided an extra 20% boost to the anti-oxidant potential of the newly created oil!
The oil was then used to treat rats suffering from a form of induced inflammation and measurements were taken to determine if there was any benefit in using the oil in the fight against inflammation.
Does it work?
Initial results show that a dose of 80 mg per kg of body weight proved to be non-toxic in rats and was able to demonstrate an improved ability to inhibit swelling and inflammation.
Significant anti-inflammatory benefits were recorded, including reduced expression of COX-2, iNOS, TNF-a, and IL-6, along with reduced concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance.
The treatment also decreased C reactive protein levels and overall white blood count.
Virgin coconut oil processed by this method also showed the ability to suppress inflammatory cells such as reactive mesothelial cells in the synovial fluid in the joints.
Wha is wet milling?
We have all performed a similar action to wet-milling when we make a cup of tea. The meat from the fruits of the coconut was ground up to a fine paste and boiled in water to release the beneficial compounds contained inside. You are all probably aware that using high temperatures during processing can damage the vital nutrients and enzymes that our food contains.
Unfortunately, the study doesn’t say if the other nutrients and enzymes in the coconut are damaged by the heat in the wet milling process.
I guess we’ll have to wait for any new supplements to arrive before we can enjoy the promise of supercharged antioxidant coconut powered supplements.
The best we can do for now is to remind you of the huge amount of beneficial nutrients provided by eating raw coconut, and hope they find a way to preserve all of those natural ingredients.
Until that time we can all enjoy coconuts in their natural state. If you’re fortunate enough to own and angel juicer you could always soak your coconut meat overnight in cold water in the fridge and grind it in your juicer the next day. This process makes beautiful natural nut butter and ground coconut that can be used to make other sensationally good no-bake treats or protein balls.
Some of the natural goodies in coconuts can be seen below.
Virgin coconut oil contains low levels of tocopherols compared to other vegetable oils but tocopherols are powerful antioxidants.
Studies have shown tocotrienols to be better antioxidants than tocopherols. They are found in the bran and germ fraction of the coconut and are reported to have hypocholesterolemic, antithrombotic, and antitumor properties that can be used to treat and prevent many diseases. Recent research shows tocotrienols also have anti-atherogenic (inhibiting LDL oxidation and suppression o fHMG-CoA reductase activity) , anticarcinogenic and immunodulatory actions along with a powerful antioxidant action known to inhibit lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation.
Phytosterols are plant compounds with chemical structures similar to cholesterol. They help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce symptoms of an enlarged prostate. They also have been shown to control blood sugar among diabetics.
Most importantly for us, they have been shown to reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Phytostanols are saturated phytosterols that have cholesterol lowering properties. They appear to stop the absorption of dietary cholesterol and block reabsorption of endogenous cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract.
Flavonoids and other polyphenols
Phenolics have been shown to have anti-cancer properties through the modulation of protein kinase C activity and contain compounds which reduce cellular proliferation.
These compounds have a double anti-cancer activity because they scavenge carcinogenic free radicals and block the generation of reactive oxygen species.
Flavanoids have many health benefits and have been touted as having anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, antitumor, and antioxidant benefits.
Phospholipids ensure proper digestion and absorption of fatty foods.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
Medium-chain triglycerides easily metabolize and convert to energy. they do not deposit as fat in the body and have been touted for weight loss.
How do I eat mine?
Ok, I don’t actually eat the whole coconut, I drink it!
My angel juicer makes a great job of grinding the coconut meat and combining the coconut water.
If I’m making a multi-fruit veggie and fruit juice I have to take the coconut fat into account because it blocks the juicing screen up terribly.
To get a really nice clean grind I usually have to put some other veggies through the machine to push the thick fat through the screen. This allows you to keep grinding without having to stop and clean the screen.
If you’re making coconut butter or just grinding the coconut for the meat you’re just going to have to have a lot of patience and clean the screenas you go.
Once finished, I drink the wonderfully nutritious extracts, and if I’m feeling like baking I’ll save the ground dry pulp and use it in my honey nut flapjacks as a nutritious filler.
Enjoy using your delicious and nutritious coconuts!
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