Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coconut tree – “ The KalpaVriksha”!

Coconut tree plays an important role in every Keralite homes. Keralites name the coconut tree as “kalpavriksha” which means-a celestial tree which grants all wishes. This saying is true since each part of coconut tree is useful, which fulfills many of our needs. This tree is that much related to the daily life of the people of Kerala.
We believe coconut tree grows well in the areas where it gets human presence. When the care increases it gives more fruits.

Each part of the coconut tree is used for various purposes.
The leaves of coconut tree are big that has a quill shape. Some of the leaves are removed from the tree twice in a year. Then slit these leaves through its centre. Using a special technique, plaits these leaves. These leaves use for thatching of the roof or making fences etc. Poor people would make huts using these plaited leaves. The mid ribs of the blades of the leaves are used to make brooms. The remaining parts of the leaves use as fire wood.

When a coconut tree is cut, its wood is used to make furniture. Some uses this as firewood if it is not good for constructing furniture. The roots of the coconut tree are very long, which normally go deep down. People dig down to take this out and it can be used as fire wood for many days.

About coconut, it’s a kind of big fruit which has two outer coverings. The first outer cover is green in color and thick. Usually it is removed by a sharp big knife. Recently many instruments have been invented for this purpose. The inside of the outer cover contains a fiber like substance which is strong and has different types of uses. Mostly this part is used for making coir products, like carpets, beds, rope etc. We can see, these outer covers are soaked in the water of the lagoons and later make coir products by the help of human and machines.

The next is the inner cover which is very hard to break. It is like a nut shell and normally breaks as two parts through the centre. The fleshy part of coconut usually takes from this hard cover by scraping. Some imaginative people use this empty coconut shell and outer cover to make crafts. It’s very enjoyable to see such products which adorn the drawing rooms of many houses. Most of the people use these two parts as fuel as usual since it is easy to use.

We can make coconut milk by blending and straining the grated fleshy white part of coconut. This is helpful in cooking especially for making curries, desserts etc. One can use grated coconut by blending only also. Malayalee people prepare most of their dishes using this nutritious fruit. Because of the high nutritive value of the coconut, it is good for giving coconut milk to children who is suffering nutritional deficiencies. I have heard, in old times, people suffering financial difficulties, used to take rice soup (gruel known as kanji) by adding little scraped coconut and salt in it. This was a delicious and healthy food for them. More over, this fleshy part can be eaten with dates or jaggery which is considered as a healthy snack for kids. Coconut contains many enzymes like monitol, albumin, catalase, investin, oxydase, lignin and tartaric acid. Coconut is a fatty fruit but has fewer amounts of carbohydrates.

Coconut milk is also known for its effect in the care of skin and hair. It makes hair smooth and gives excellent growth. By using coconut milk, skin also becomes soft and smooth. By boiling coconut milk for a long time by stirring, people of Kerala would make pure coconut oil themselves, which is very useful for the skin care.
This oil has a very pleasant smell and thus adds extra taste and aroma to the curries.

The other parts of the coconut tree are bunch of coconut flowers ( pookkula), tender coconut ( ilaneer ), and the top portion of the coconut tree (known as karimbu ).

The coconut flowers have a medicinal value and mostly this part goes for making special type of a pudding like sweet dish. In homes of Kerala, this dish is prepared when any of the coconut trees is cut or when some one of the house is having a back pain. The Pookkula lehyam made with this is taken by the delivered ladies, since this improves the health of uterus and stops bleeding. When any one of the women experiences a strong bleeding, the other family members prepare the juice of coconut flowers, by crushing it by the help of a mortar and wooden pestle. The person gets sudden relief after drinking this juice.

I believe there is no need to explain the use of tender coconut. It is well known for its thirst quenching benefit. Puddings, squashes, jams etc can be prepared from the soft flesh of the tender coconut according to people’s imagination and knowledge. This tender coconut water makes body cool. So it’s a highly preferable drink during summer. The very small tender coconut also has some medicinal properties. I have seen people applying it on head after grinding for the treatment of dandruff.

The top portion of the coconut tree has a very tasty particle in side it. Whenever a coconut tree is cut, children wait there to get these delicious parts. We all know, the toddy tapper climbs up the coconut tree and place his pot there. Next day, he comes to take the pure toddy from it. It was a usual scene in the village areas.

The fleshy white part of the coconut is allowed to dry in sun with its shell. After two or three days, the hard cover removes it self from the coconut flesh. Coconut oil is taken from these dried fleshy parts. The remaining part is the oil cake which goes as the food for the cattle.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

For wrinkle free skin

Coconut oil is the best to remove wrinkles. It helps to prevent sagging and age spots. Massage with fresh coconut oil to make the skin soft and smooth.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

I got this information through email from a friend. I add it here to make every one informed of the various benefits of coconut oil. I am not sure about the source of the content of this email. This is a forwarded message.


Is Coconut Oil really the healthiest oil on earth??

Coconut oil made from fresh Coconuts and cold pressed without any solvent extraction or refining or steaming/ heating is to be used for edible purpose. This grade of coconut oil can be applied directly to the skin for conditioning. It is great in the hair for eliminating dandruff. As cooking oil, its chemical structure is kept intact and therefore is resistant to mutations of fatty acid chains even when used in higher cooking temperatures, unlike most vegetable oils. For those looking to lose weight naturally, switching to Coconut Oil can burn off unwanted pounds. Coconut Oil is also great for digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease, IBS, and Colits. It is a powerful agent in killing intestinal parasites.

Thyroid sufferers are finding that Coconut oil boosts the metabolism and raises body temperatures. And there is exciting research showing that the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) in coconut oil act to kill Candida Albicans! These MCTs are also responsible for revving up metabolism and giving energy, which holds promise for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers, as well as others who need to boost their energy. It is also great as a carrier for massage oils, and is highly valued as an ingredient in natural soaps and skin care products. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a proven antiviral and antibacterial agent. It is currently being used in treating AIDS.

Monolaurin is a monoglyceride of lauric acid. Lauric acid is also found in human mother's milk. Dr. Mary Enig suggests the average adult include about 3.5 Tbsp. of coconut oil per day in their diet. The word is out! The low-fat diet doesn't work! In spite of years of conventional nutritional wisdom advocating a low-fat diet to battle heart disease and weight problems, the US still leads the world in percentage of its population dying from heart disease, and the nation is more over-weight than ever before. The low-fat diet doesn't work! But what fats are healthy, and which ones are not? This is the book that will definitively answer your questions on fats and oils. This book, written by an international expert, is your definitive source for accurate information on fats, oils, cholesterol, and their nutrition. Learn how much omega - 3 and omega - 6 fatty acids people really need for optimum health Learn why the body makes saturated fatty acids Learn why cholesterol is needed by the brain, how it is the body's repair substance, and how it is important for proper hormone production.

Learn which saturated fatty acids are conditionally essential. Learn how the functional saturated fatty acids such as lauric acid promote health Learn how to select the best fats and oils for healthy ease-of-use Dr. Mary G. Enig, a nutritionist/biochemist of international renown for her research on the nutritional aspects of fats and oils, is a consultant, clinician, and the Director of the Nutritional Sciences Division of Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland. Dr. Enig, a consultant on nutrition to individuals, industry, and state and federal governments, is a licensed practitioner in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She has served as a Contributing Editor of the scientific journal Clinical Nutrition and a Consulting Editor of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Dr. Enig has authored numerous journal publications, mainly on fats and oils research and nutrient/drug interactions, and is a well-known invited lecturer at scientific meetings and a popular interviewee on TV and radio shows about nutrition. She was an early and articulate critic of the use of trans fatty acids and advocated their inclusion in nutritional labelling. The scientific mainstream is now challenging the food product industry's use of trans-containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. She received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Fellow of The American College of Nutrition, a member of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, and President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association.

Know Your Fats is written in easy-to-follow language that anyone can understand, but is also packed with so much research and information that it can be used as a university text book. The back is filled with useful charts on the fatty acid composition of natural foods, including the omega essential fatty acids. Coconut Oil and Candida When people take antibiotics, good bacteria are often killed along with the disease-causing ones. This leaves yeast, such as Candida which is not affected by antibiotics, to grow unrestrained, proliferating and overrunning the intestinal tract. The consequence is a yeast overgrowth or infection. Such infections can last for years causing a wide variety of symptoms ranging from headaches to digestive problems. Often people have systemic Candida infections without even knowing it. This is why antifungal medications or probiotics should be taken whenever antibiotics are used. A probiotic supports the growth of friendly bacteria but not the disease-causing kind. Tropical Traditions recommends Primal Defense for probiotic supplementation. One of the good things about lauric acid, which makes up about 50% of the fatty acid composition of coconut oil, is that it kills lipid-coated bacteria but does not appear to harm the friendly intestinal bacteria.1 The MCFA (medium chain fatty acids) also have antifungal properties so not only will they kill disease-causing bacteria and leave good bacteria alone, they will also kill Candida and other fungi in the intestinal tract, further supporting a healthy intestinal environment.

YEAST AND FUNGI Norma Galante, a Boston college student, went to her local medical clinic complaining of vaginal itching and a slight discharge. The physician took a culture of the discharge and examined it under the microscope. He diagnosed a mild bacterial infection and prescribed an antibiotic. When Norma took the medication, however, it only made the symptoms worse. She went back to the doctor and he gave her another antibiotic It didn't work either. She tried again, and again, but he couldn't find a medication that would help. "I kept going back to the clinic, and the doctors kept prescribing different antibiotics," Norma says. Out of frustration, the physicians finally prescribed a topical anti-candida cream to see if that would be of any help. While Candida is not affected by antibiotics it can be treated topically with anti-fungal creams and suppositories. Her symptoms subsided. She felt relieved. At last she thought her problem was solved. Yeast infections are persistent and often recur. This was the case with Norma. It wasn't long before she had another infection. The medications she used seemed to relieve the symptoms, but within a few months they would flare up again. Before long she began to develop other fungal infections like athlete's foot and skin rashes (ringworm). Fungal infections of one sort or another became an ongoing nuisance. She felt chronically fatigued. Everything she did seemed to tire her. She became depressed. "The doctors didn't have any answers," she recalls. "To them I had a minor problem, But I was living with the itching and the fatigue every day; it wasn't a minor problem for me." After receiving little help from her doctors she began searching for an answer herself. She scoured health food stores for books and information on yeast infections. After studying these materials she realized she was suffering from a systemic or entire body Candida infection. She cut sugar out of her diet and began taking a dietary supplement derived from coconut oil called caprylic acid. It worked! Both the vaginal yeast and skin infections healed. Without the constant strain of fighting the infection her energy returned. She was able to function normally again without feeling constantly fatigued. "I was so relieved to find something that brought my energy back," she says.

One of the most widespread health problems in Western society is caused by the fungus Candida albacans. Many women are familiar with this troublesome pest because it is a common cause of vaginal yeast infections. It is also the same organism that causes oral thrush and diaper rash in babies. Candida is a single-celled fungus or yeast cell that inhabits the intestinal tract and mucus membranes of every living person on the earth. Within days after birth, newborns are infected and have a budding colony living in their digestive tract. Normally, competition from friendly bacteria and the cleansing action of our immune system keep Candida numbers low and prevent them from causing any adverse health problems. But when the immune system is compromised or friendly bacteria in our gut are killed by taking antibiotics, a Candida infection can quickly flare up. A single course of antibiotics can lead to a raging Candida infection. Approximately 75 percent of women experience vaginal yeast infections at one time or another. Vaginal yeast infections are typically treated as if they were only localized in one area of the body. Many people, however, have systemic infections in which Candida grows out of control overrunning the digestive tract and affecting the entire body, including the reproductive system. Systemic yeast infections called candidiasis (or yeast syndrome) affect the entire body and can afflict men as well as women. Symptoms are numerous and varied (see table below) and even doctors have difficulty identifying the problem. Because it is not easy to identify, hundreds of thousands of women and men are plagued with candidiasis without even realizing it. Vaginal yeast infections or oral yeast infections (thrush) can be identified by the white discharge they produce. Recurring vaginal yeast infections are one of the signs of a systemic infection. But you can have candidiasis without an active vaginal yeast infection. Anyone who has taken antibiotics, birth control pills, steroids, or immunosuppresive drugs is at high risk of having a systemic yeast infection, even if no noticeable symptoms are evident.

General: fatigue, headache, digestive problems joint pains, depression, memory loss, irritability, allergies: Women: persistent vaginitis, menstrual irregularities, recurrent bladder problems: Men: persistent or recurrent jock itch or athlete’s foot, prostatitis, impotence: Children: Ear infections, hyperactivity, behaviour and learning problems: Source:Crook,W/1985, The Yeast connection Typical symptoms also include fatigue, depression, allergy symptoms, and recurring fungal skin infections (athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, etc.). Skin fungus can afflict any part of the body from the head to the toe. Dry flaky skin that persists despite the use of hand lotion and skin creams could very well be a fungal infection. Often what people call psoriasis is really a fungal infection. Dandruff is caused, in part, by skin fungus. Preadolescent children are the primary victims of scalp ringworm (tinea capitis), a skin fungus similar to athlete's foot. Not until puberty do glands secrete oil containing medium-chain fatty acids that help protect the scalp from skin fungus (Click here for more information on skin health). One of the most potent non-drug or natural yeast-fighting substances is caprylic acid, a medium-chain fatty acid derived from coconut oil. It is very effective against Candida and other forms of fungi. It is even effective mixed with a little coconut oil or vitamin E oil as a topical application for fungal skin infections. Fungal infections that have lasted for months have been known to clear up in a matter of days using caprylic acid and a little coconut oil. It works just as effectively inside the body, killing fungi without the least bit of harm. Women in the Philippines who eat their traditional coconut-based diet rarely if ever get yeast infections. Eating coconut oil on a regular basis, as the Filipinos do, would help to keep Candida and other harmful micro-organisms at bay. The efficiency of caprylic acid is reportedly so favourable that many supplement manufacturers put it in their products used to fight systemic and vaginal yeast infections. John P. Trowbridge. MD, President of the American College of Advancement of Medicine, and author of the book The Yeast Syndrome, highly recommends caprylic acid as an aid to fight systemic Candida infections. William Crook, M.D., the author of The Yeast Connection and recognized authority on yeast infections, also recommends it. He reports that many physicians have used it successfully and that it works especially well for those patients who have adverse reactions to antifungal drugs.3 It is reported that caprylic acid is just as effective as nystatin, the most popular antifungal prescription drug, but without the side effects. Besides caprylic acid, two other medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil have been found to kill Candida albicans.

A study done at the University of Iceland showed "capric acid, a 10-carbon saturated fatty acid, causes the fastest and most effective killing of all three strains of C. albicans tested, leaving the cytoplasm disorganized and shrunken because of a disrupted or disintegrated plasma membrane. Lauric acid, a 12-carbon saturated fatty acid, was the most active at lower concentrations and after a longer incubation time."4 This study shows great promise that all the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil work together to kill Candida albicans. It is interesting that people who eat a lot of coconuts live in areas where yeast and fungi are extremely plentiful, yet they are rarely troubled by infections. Only in more temperate climates where processed vegetable oils are the main source of dietary fat are yeast infections, skin fungus, acne, and other skin infections big problems. Much more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of coconut oil in curing Candida, but for now the evidence suggests a good quality Coconut Oil is one of the best weapons in killing Candida. Testimonial: I am a walking testimonial to the benefits of a low carbohydrate/ high fat diet with regard to candida and cystitis. I used to purchase Monistat two or three packages at a time. Now I use lots of coconut oil for cooking and eat plenty of coconut products such as fresh coconut, coconut flakes, and coconut milk. Coconut contains capric/ caprylic acid and lauric acid both proven to kill candida while leaving healthy intestinal flora intact. I was taking a long-term, broad-spectrum antibiotic for chronic cystitus for over two years and now it’s been two years since I stopped refilling the prescription with no recurrence! My original inspiration was Dr. Mary Enig, PhD. through whom I became familiar with the Weston A Price Foundation and the books All About Fats, Nourishing Traditions, and The Cholesterol Myths. The hallmarks of the diet recommended by westonaprice.org are whole dairy (preferably raw), bone broths, lacto-fermented vegetables, free-range grass-fed meat and eggs, natural saturated fats like coconut and butter, and to eliminate rancid and then refined, bleached, and deodorized polyunsaturated oils and trans fat, and to limit soy, refined carbohydrates, quick-rise breads, and whole grains that are not properly prepared by soaking first. I did this in stages but by far the most remarkable transformation occurred when I started using coconut oil and simultaneously eliminated skim milk and all soy products from my diet. And I lost weight! Your Question: "What is the best way of adding coconut to my diet?" "I enjoy your vital health information, and would like to know the best ways of getting more coconut in my diet. I have heard that it has nearly miraculous health benefits, but it seems quite difficult to process a coconut from the raw form. [rb]Would I be better off using coconut oil, milk, or the shredded form? I will also have to check the stores for alternatives. Thank you for your assistance, and have a great summer." Answer: Coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits Antiviral, Antimicrobial, and Antifungal Properties: Coconut oil contains lauric acid and its derivative, monolaurin. Both are considered to have properties that destroy viruses, such as HIV, herpes, influenza (the "flu"), and cytomegalovirus, bacteria, such as H. pylori, and protozoa, such as giardia. Increases Metabolic Rate: Coconut oil can be integrated into a healthy weight loss plan. It stimulates metabolism.

Other Possible Benefits of Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is also believed to help with cholesterol regulation by raising "good" HDL cholesterol. It also shows promise in tumor prevention. What to Look For: 1. Do not buy hydrogenated coconut oil or oil that has been treated with solvents, bleach, or heat. Coconut oil should be cold-pressed and not treated with chemical solvents, bleach, or heat. It should not be hydrogenated. A health food store is probably your best bet. 2. You will get the most lauric acid for your dollar with coconut oil rather than coconut milk. A combination of the coconut sources is most practical. For daily use, a cold-pressed oil that has not been treated with heat or chemicals will give you the greatest amount of lauric acid for your money. Three and a half tablespoons of coconut oil is equivalent to ten ounces of coconut milk. Although you will save money by using the oil, there are many uses for coconut milk in the kitchen. It can be used in countless dishes to replace cream or milk. I have added it to soup and smoothies and it is excellent in omelettes as a substitute for milk or cream. Coconut oil can be used in stirfries and in any situation calling for vegetable oil. 3. Do not use "lite" coconut milk. "Lite" coconut milk that is low in fat is also very low in lauric acid. Look for a brand that has the highest fat content. Coconut Oil: The Healthy Oil for Diabetes by Bruce Fife, N.D. One of the many plagues of modern society is diabetes. The incidence of diabetes has risen from almost nothing a century ago to a level of major concern today. It is now the sixth biggest killer in America. Diabetes not only can cause death but can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cataracts, nerve damage, hearing loss, and blindness. It is estimated that 45 percent of the population is at risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes is all about sugar—the sugar in our bodies known as blood sugar or blood glucose. Every cell in our bodies must have a constant source of glucose in order to fuel metabolism. Our cells use glucose to power processes such as growth and repair. When we eat a meal the digestive system converts much of our food into glucose which is released into the bloodstream. The hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas gland, moves glucose from the blood and funnels it into the cells so it can be used as fuel. If the cells are unable to get adequate amounts of glucose they can literally starve to death. As they do, tissues and organs begin to degenerate. This is what happens in diabetes.

There are two major forms of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I, also referred to a insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, usually begins in childhood and results from the inability of the pancreas to make adequate amounts of insulin. Type II diabetes is known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes because it usually appears in older adults. In Type II diabetes the pancreas may secrete a normal amount of insulin but the cells are unable to absorb it. Insulin acts like a key to a lock. It goes to the cells and unlocks the door to allow glucose to enter. If the lock is made of cheap materials and breaks, the key no longer works and the door remains locked. This is essentially what happens with Type II diabetes. Insulin is generally available but it can no longer unlock the door because the lock is broken. In both types of diabetes the level of glucose in the blood is elevated while cells are deprived. In Type I the pancreas is incapable of producing enough insulin to adequately shuttle glucose to all the cells in the body. Treatment involves insulin injections one or more times a day along with adherence to a strict low-sugar diet. About 90 percent of diabetics are of Type II and 85 percent of them are overweight. Excess body weight is a very strong risk factor for Type II. Diet plays a key role in both onset of the disease and in its control. The types of foods we eat can either promote or protect us from diabetes. In the Pacific islands diabetes is unheard of among those people who eat traditional diets. But when they abandon their native foods and adapt Western ways, disease of all types surface. One of these new diseases is diabetes. An interesting example of this has occurred on the island of Nauru in the South Pacific. For centuries the people, subsisting on a diet composed primarily of bananas, yams, and coconuts, lived totally free from diabetes. Phosphate deposits discovered on the island brought an influx of wealth and a change in lifestyle. The islanders replaced the coconut and yams they had eaten for centuries with foods made from refined flour, sugar, and processed vegetable oils. The result was the emergence of a never before seen disease—diabetes. According to the World Health Organization up to one-half of the urbanized Nauru population age 30-64 are now diabetic. Doctors have been able to help patients control diabetes by putting them on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. The diet restricts total fat intake to 30 percent or less of calories. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables comprise 50 to 60 percent of calories. Simple carbohydrates such as refined flour and sugar are to be avoided. The reason for this is because simple carbohydrates can put undue strain on the pancreas and quickly raise blood sugar to dangerous levels. The reason for reducing fat as well as sweets is to promote weight loss. Since overweight is of primary concern with diabetes, losing excess weight is a priority. Another reason for the low-fat diet is to reduce risk of heart disease which is a common consequence of diabetes. Probably the best reason for keeping fat to a minimum is that some fats, particularly oxidized fats, not only promote diabetes but may actually cause it.

Researchers have discovered that the over consumption of refined vegetable oils leads to diabetes. As far back as the 1920s Dr. S. Sweeney produced reversible diabetes in all of his medical school students by feeding them a high vegetable oil diet for 48 hours. None of the students had previously been diabetic. More recently researchers have been able to cause test animals to develop diabetes by feeding them diets high in polyunsaturated fat.1, 2 Simply restricting fat intake in diabetic animals has shown t: reverse Type II diabetes.3, 4 Likewise, clinical studies with humans on low -fat diets also show reversal of the disease. Many studies have shown low-fat diets to be effective in controlling diabetes.5 The current recommendation is to limit all fats. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, don't seem to adversely affect diabetes and so are allowed in moderation, but because all fats, including olive oil, are high in calories, they are discouraged. Saturated fat is restricted because it is believed to increase risk of heart disease. The biggest culprit, however, seems to be polyunsaturated oil.6 Studies have shown that when polyunsaturated fats from the diet are incorporated into cellular structure, the cell's ability to bind with insulin decreases, thus lowering their ability to get glucose.7 In other words, the "locks" on the cells which open the door for glucose to enter degrade when too much polyunsaturated oil is consumed in the diet. Insulin is then unable to open the door. Polyunsaturated oils are easily oxidized and damaged by free radicals. Fats of all types, including polyunsaturated oils, are used as building blocks for cell membranes. Oxidized polyunsaturated fats in the cell membrane can adversely affect the cell's function, including its ability to allow hormones, glucose, and other substances to flow in and out of the cell. Therefore, a diet high in refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils promotes diabetes. A diet low in such oils helps to alleviate symptoms. Because all fats also promote weight gain, it's best to avoid them as much as possible. There is one fat that diabetics can eat without fear. That fat is coconut oil. Not only does it not contribute to diabetes, but it helps regulate blood sugar, thus lessening the effects of the disease. The Nauru people consumed large amounts of coconut oil for generations without ever encountering diabetes, but when they abandoned it for other foods and oils the results were disastrous. Coconut oil puts less of a demand on the enzyme production of the pancreas. This lessens the stress on the pancreas during mealtime when insulin is produced most heavily, thus allowing the organ to function more efficiently. Coconut oil also helps supply energy to cells because it is easily absorbed without the need of enzymes or insulin. It has been shown to improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.8, 9Coconut oil in the diet enhances insulin action and improves binding affinity compared to other oils.10, 11 The Journal of the Indian Medical Association has reported that Type II diabetes in India has increased as the people have abandoned traditional oils, like coconut oil, in favor of polyunsaturated vegetable oils which have been promoted as "heart-friendly." The authors comment on the link between polyunsaturated oils and diabetes and recommend increasing coconut oil consumption as a means to prevent diabetes.12 One of the consequences of diabetes is a lack of energy. This is due to the inability of cells to get needed glucose. Without the glucose to power cellular activity, metabolism slows down and the entire body become tired. Exercise has been recommended as a means to help diabetics control blood sugar. One of the reasons exercise is beneficial is that it increases metabolism. A faster metabolic rate stimulates increased production of needed insulin and increases absorption of glucose into cells, thus helping both Type I and Type II diabetics. Another advantage of increasing metabolism is that more calories are burned. Coconut oil raises metabolic rate causing the body to burn up more calories and thus promoting weight loss. Yes, you can actually lose excess weight by adding coconut oil to your diet.

The MCFA in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver for conversion into energy and not into body tissues as fat. (Click here for more details on the weight-loss effects of coconut oil.) If you are diabetic or borderline diabetic, consumption of most fats should be avoided. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is different. Because it helps stabilize blood glucose levels and aids in shedding excess body weight, it is probably the only oil a diabetic should eat. The Coconut Diet -- An Interview With Cherie Calbom I've written quite a bit over the years about the countless advantages of coconut oil and its many health-promoting benefits. Cherie's easy-to-read book takes a closer look at the disease-fighting properties of coconut oil and provides you with pages of research and statistics on why coconut oil is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked foods of recent times. The Coconut Diet is a very practical read and does all the work for you by providing you with a 21-day weight-loss plan along with delicious recipes. The authors of this book, Cherie and John Calbom do a thorough job of showing the readers how they can enhance their lifestyles by offering them several tools such as quizzes to determine if they have diseases preventing their weight-loss success and in-depth shopping lists of the best foods to buy for the coconut diet. It is only with resources like this book that coconut oil is starting to get the respect it deserves as not only the healthiest oil you can consume, but as one of the most nutritious of all foods. Following is an interview with the author, Cherie Calbom. How would you convince those who have tried and failed many fad diets like Atkins and South Beach that the Coconut Diet isn't just another fad diet? Fad diets come and go -- they're fads because they don't work long term. The Coconut Diet is a way of eating that individuals can follow for a lifetime of good health and weight management. The diet focuses on replacing vegetable oils that are fattening and not healthful, such as corn, soybean, canola and safflower oil, with coconut oil and extra olive oil. After all the bad press concerning coconut oil, it turns out that it is actually heart healthy and slimming. But The Coconut Diet doesn't stop there. It promotes eating lots of fresh vegetables and it doesn't toss the carrots and beets out with the potato chips, as other low carb diets do. Cherie & Johm Calbum The Coconut Diet is about eating plenty of brightly colored vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, and whole foods versus refined ones. It eliminates high-glycemic-index foods such as refined flour products, white rice, white potatoes and sweets. The Coconut Diet doesn't recommend artificial sweeteners such as NutraSweet or sucralose (Splenda), which are detrimental to one's health, but rather recommends healthy low-carb sweeteners such as stevia. You talked about the tropical islanders early in the book and the many health benefits they experienced from adding coconut oil to their diets. Were there less documented incidences of cancer and heart disease in the populations of the tropical islanders? Yes, there were fewer incidences of cancer, heart disease and obesity among the islanders studied. One example can be found in the 1960s studies that were conducted in the South Pacific islands of Pukapuka and Tokelau near New Zealand. These populations ate only natural foods (no refined foods). Coconut foods were the most prevalent, being consumed at each meal in one form or another. While most people in the West were consuming 30 percent to 40 percent of their calories as fat, these islanders averaged between 50 percent and 60 percent of their calories from fat from coconuts. The overall health of both groups was extremely good compared with Western standards. There were no signs of kidney disease, hypothyroidism or hypercholesterolemia; digestive problems were rare and constipation was uncommon. Also, other diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, colitis, colon cancer, hemorrhoids, ulcers, diverticulosis and appendicitis were uncommon. The inhabitants were lean and healthy despite the high-fat diet. They had ideal weight-to-height ratios as compared to the Body Mass Index.

Some people worry about dietary fat and heart disease. Is there any correlation between coconut oil and heart disease? P. K. Thampan, the former chief coconut development officer of the Coconut Development Board in India, studied traditional cultures that consumed large amounts of coconut. In his book Facts and Fallacies about Coconut Oil, Thampan shows that coconut oil is unrelated to coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality, which is contrary to what is taught in Western culture. In 1998, the Department of Medicine in India conducted a study at the Safdarjang Hospital in New Delhi, comparing traditional cooking oils such as coconut oil and ghee (clarified butter) with modern polyunsaturated oils such as safflower and sunflower oil in relation to the prevalence of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They found that heart disease and diabetes had actually increased after a decrease in consumption of traditional cooking oils (coconut oil and ghee) and the introduction of polyunsaturated oils. They concluded that these modern, presumably "heart friendly" polyunsaturated oils actually possessed an undesirable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which contributes to health problems. Other similar studies in the region indicated that the sole use or excessive intake of these modern vegetable oils were detrimental to one's health. In 2003, Drs. P Rethinam and Muhartoyo wrote in the Jakarta Post that before 1950 heart attacks were uncommon in Sri Lanka. However, from 1970 to 1992, hospital admission rates for heart attack grew dramatically, which they conclude might be explained by the fact that coconut consumption had drastically decreased from 132 coconuts per person per year in 1952 to 90 per person in 1991. What recommendations would you offer in terms of making good food choices when dining out while following The Coconut Diet? Here are the tips I have to offer when dining out, which my husband and I practice: Request that the server not bring any tempting hot bread or rolls to the table Order extra vegetables in place of white rice or mashed potatoes Skip the dessert Thai food is great, but be sure to take a pass on the white rice Avoid pasta places If sandwiches are about the only fare, request the filling without the bun, roll or bread. (Some restaurants offer lettuce wraps -- lettuce leaves with fillings and dipping sauces) Main course salads are good choices For breakfast most restaurants can substitute salad greens for the potatoes What about pregnant women and The Coconut Diet? Pregnancy is not the time to diet for weight loss or to detoxify the body. If you are pregnant, I would recommend either Phase III or IV of The Coconut Diet. This is a very healthful program for anyone including those who are pregnant. I would recommend simply exchanging coconut oil and extra olive oil for all other cooking oils; there is no need to consume extra coconut oil over what you would normally use in food preparation.

Any tips for parents and families who want to know the easiest way to incorporate The Coconut Diet in their lives? I would recommend simply exchanging coconut oil and extra olive oil for all other cooking oils and follow the basic food plan in The Coconut Diet. It's very easy to incorporate with plenty of recipes for busy families to enjoy such as healthy hamburgers, super speedy supper and golden chicken. Was there any specific reasoning behind choosing a 21-day weight-loss plan? The 21-day weight loss plan is designed to offer the best weight loss opportunity. It's strict and designed to kick-off the weight loss program with three weeks that should produce encouraging weight loss results -- about three pounds per week. Most people notice a number of exciting health improvements during this time such as an increase in energy, better sleep and increased mental performance. It often takes about three weeks to begin experiencing significant health changes. Is there any average weight-loss one could expect to lose after following the 21-day program or is it very dependent on the individual? Though it is dependent on the individual, most people report a weight loss of about three pounds per week. Some people have lost considerably more weight than that. Other people seem to be stuck and unable to lose weight no matter what they do. In this case, I recommend that they follow the dietary plan of Phase I and incorporate Phase II, which is the cleansing (detoxification) program that includes the colon cleanse, liver cleanse, gallbladder cleanse and kidney cleanse. Many people have discovered that when their organs of elimination are cleansed and performing more efficiently, weight comes off naturally. If weight loss is still slow, there may be specific conditions such as candadiasis or hypothyroid that should be addressed. I cover such conditions in Chapters 4 and 5 of The Coconut Diet and there are quizzes to help in determining if any of these conditions apply. You mentioned that The Coconut Diet could help women with PMS symptoms. What other health conditions specifically related to women does the coconut diet help? What about specific health-issues related to men? Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, candadiasis and hypothyroid seem to plague more women than men. The Coconut Diet has helped improve all these conditions. The Coconut Diet appears to be very heart healthy, which is excellent for men. There are a number of stories in The Coconut Diet from people who have actually seen their cholesterol -- LDL and triglycerides -- go down and HDL (the good cholesterol) go up with The Coconut Diet. What's the best way to get the full sleep benefits coconut oil has to offer rather than experiencing the opposite -- extra energy? One of the benefits many people report after starting The Coconut Diet is better sleep. Some people experience exceptional energy with The Coconut Diet; they have found that they cannot eat coconut oil in the evening or they will experience too much energy and find it hard to fall asleep. It is advisable to start adding in coconut oil slowly. Some people have started with just one teaspoon, others with one tablespoon per day. In a testimonial one woman said she was hesitant about the taste of coconut oil in foods such as eggs and in stir-fry. What advice would you give to those either not fond of the taste of coconut or hesitant about how it may change the taste of their foods? Most people have found that cooking with coconut oil makes the food taste better and blends well with other flavors. Actually, the oil doesn't taste like coconut. From ethnic dishes to eggs and vegetables, coconut oil doesn't alter flavor unfavorably. Most people say they really enjoy meals prepared with coconut oil. Your recipes sound very tasty yet simple and easy-to-make. Where did your recipe ideas come from? A number of the recipes are dishes I prepare at home for my husband and myself such as curried chicken salad, turkey roll-ups and Thai coconut salmon. Other recipes such as the lemon-tarragon fish, Indian coconut vegetable curry, and wild rice and butternut squash pilaf were designed by chefs -- three chefs in all contributed recipes. How important is it to incorporate cleansing into The Coconut Diet program? I have observed that the cleansing programs are very important to ideal weight management and vibrant health. For example, the liver, which is the filter system of the body and the fat-burner, cannot burn fat as efficiently as it should when it is congested with toxins. Once the liver is cleansed, people often find that weight loss is accelerated. Sesame Oil for Blood Pressure and Cancers Cooking Oil Switch May Be High Blood Pressure Treatment By Daniel DeNoon WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD on Monday, April 28, 2003 April 28, 2003 -- It's tasty. It's good for you. Now there's another sesame oil benefit: It may lower high blood pressure. Sesame oil is one of those vegetable oils that are good for you. Most nutritionists like it for two reasons. First, it's rich in mono- and polyunsaturated acids (PUFAs) -- the good kind of fat that cuts cholesterol. Second, sesame oil is low in saturated fats -- the kind of fat that's bad for you. And there's more. Sesame oil contains two unique chemicals called sesamol and sesamin. They are very powerful antioxidants. Now there's evidence that sesame oil can lower blood pressure. It comes in a report to the American Heart Association's annual meeting of the Inter-American Society of Hypertension by Devarajan Sankar, DO, PhD, of Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. Sankar and colleagues studied 195 men and 133 women with high blood pressure. All were taking nifedipine (brand names include Adalta, Nifedical, and Procardia), a common blood pressure-lowering drug. Despite this treatment, all patients still had moderate high blood pressure. Sankar's team asked the patients to switch to sesame oil as the only cooking oil they used. Sixty days later, the patients' average blood pressure dropped into the normal range. "The reduction in blood pressure in our study may be due to the presence of PUFAs, vitamin E, and sesamin in sesame oil," Sankar tells WebMD. "The blood-pressure reduction was noted at the third week of using sesame oil as the sole edible oil." It's an impressive finding, agrees Sampath Parthasarathy, PhD, director of gynaecology and obstetrics research at Atlanta's Emory University. Parthasarathy, a biochemist, is a leading expert in antioxidants and lipid/protein metabolism. "Usually the benefits of these unsaturated fats are measured in terms of cholesterol lowering," Parthasarathy tells WebMD. "Here, the benefit appears to be on blood pressure. That makes the study even more exciting." Parthasarathy says he doesn't think that the PUFAs are involved in the blood-pressure-lowering effect of sesame oil. But he speculates that lower blood pressure may be an indirect effect of sesamin, sesamol, or both. ….Sesame Oil also destroys cancerous cells and prevents further proliferation of such cells. The nutrient -gamma tocopherol- may also be the one with the fastest draw in a showdown with cancer. Sesame oil Is a good source for tocopherols. When Purdue University researchers pitted this form of vitamin E against prostate- and lung-cancer cells, they discovered that it was able to stop the cells in their microscopic tracks. What's more, gamma tocopherol helped kill existing tumor cells without hurting healthy cells, says Qing Jiang, Ph.D., the study's lead author. But what about the research showing that vitamin E supplements are worthless, and perhaps even dangerous? Doesn't apply to gamma tocopherol, since it isn't included in most E supplements. Instead, you'll find it in sesame oil, which you can substitute for other cooking oils or sprinkle over salads. Or, if you want a source you can sink your teeth into, munch on walnuts. (David Freeman)