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By Kwesi Eyison / Penelope Williams(Mrs.)


One may ask what is coconut oil and what are it’s benefits in our daily life. Well, I would like to say that there are a lot of health and nutritional benefits that can be derived from consuming coconut oil. It is rather unfortunate that the benefits of Coconut oil are under appreciated by consumer and the producer alike.

Coconut oil is a colorless to pale brownish yellow oil with a melting point ranging from 230c to 260c . The glycerides of coconut oil are invariably a mixture of one, two or three fatty acids. Though coconut oil is known as triglyceride or lipid, it also contains minor properties of mono and diglycerides and has highest content of glycerol. Glycerol is a carbohydrate with chemical composition similar to that of simple sugar. This implies that with coconut oil as a dietary fat, the actual intake of fatty substances is much less than the same quantity of any other actual intake of any other oil.

It is rather unfortunate that people believe that coconut oil does a lot of harmful things to the body to the extent that when saturated fat was being critized for raising blood cholesterol; the soyabean industry took advantage of the situation in an effort to take over the two billion dollars in an aggressive publicity campaign. They flooded the media with news reports about the dangers of coconut oil and many well meaning and interest groups joined in the fight against coconut oil. Before long people believed coconut oil caused heart disease and this made restaurants and food manufacturers sensitive to public sentiment, removed coconut oil and other saturated fats from their foods and replaced them with hydrogenated vegetable oil. On the contrary, coconut oil is gaining back its lost name and now has a long history as both

a food and a medicine. It holds importance in Ayurvedic medicine of India, Central America and West Africa. In some of these countries, people drink the oil when they are sick and it has proven to be a powerful and effective natural remedy for such illness. Due to its importance, it is regarded as “ The Tree of Life” and this is affirmed by both Traditional and folk medicine around the world that use coconut oil for a variety of ailments ranging from burns and constipation to go0norrhea and influenza. With this notion and that of modern medical research we can confidently say that Coconut oil does not increase blood cholesterol level, does not promote platelet stickiness or blood clot formation, does not contribute to artherosclerosis or heart disease or weight problems as we have been made to believe.

Some benefits of coconut oil are as follows:

1. It helps to promote weight loss: Since Coconut oil produces energy, it stimulates the metabolism supporting thyroid function. Due to the metabolic effect, it in turn causes the body to burn more calories hence reducing weight. Unlike other fatty acids, which are absorbed into the intestinal wall where they are packaged into lipoproteins and released into the bloodstream, Coconut oil or MCFA (medium-chain saturated fatty acids) are not. They are absorbed into the portal vein where they are funneled directly to the liver. In the liver they are used as fuel to produce energy and do not collect on artery walls or contribute to weight gain. With this effect they act as energy boosters and for this reason, coconut oil in one form or another is added to many sports drinks and energy drinking bars. Some farmers proved this in 1940’s when they tried coconut oil to fatten their animals. They discovered that it rather made them lean and active and rather increased their appetite. They then tried an anti-thyroid drug which made the livestock fat with less fatty acids but that was also found to be a cancer-causing drug. It was later found out that the same anti-thyroid effect could be achieved feeding the animals with soyabean and corn.

2. Anti Cancer effects of Coconut Oil: It has been proved that Coconut oil reduces cancer of the colon and breast chemically and was by far more protective than unsaturated oils. In a study, Reddy et al, (1984), it was found out that 32% of corn oil eaters got colon cancer whereas only 3% of coconut oil eaters got it. Also animals fed on unsaturated oils had more tumors and this shows the thyroid-suppressive and hence immunosuppressive effect of unsaturated oils. When a renowned Doctor by name Albert Scweitzer operated his clinic in Tropical Africa, one of the things he observed was that it took him several years before he saw a single case of cancer. His reasons were that the appearance of the cancer was due to the introduction of European diet into Africa. This has been our main problem and will continue to be unless Ghanaians and Africans in general go back to their old way of eating where everything was fresh from the farms and had no infiltration from the Western world. I will stress that this is an area that needs to be pursued by African Governments.

3. Antimicrobal Benefits from Coconut oil: - These benefits will enlighten us on the reasons why coconut oil should be used as food that will serve as raw material to provide useful levels of antimicrobial activity in the individual. These antimicrobal benefits are important constituents of human breast milk and it is due to the presence of MCFA or the monoglyceride (monolaurin) in breast milk that protect babies from infections for the first few months of life. The MCFA’s kill disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi and it has also been documented that MCFA from Coconut oil are capable of destroying bacteria that causes gastric ulcers, throat infections, pneumonia, sinusitis, ear infections, dental cavities, urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, and others. They also destroy fungus and yeasts that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, and candida and viruses that cause influenza, measles, herpes and even HIV.

4. Health Benefits of medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut oil: - Some of the benefits of these acids are summarized as

  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections
  • Helps protect the liver
  • Lower in calories than all other fats
  • Utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems
  • Soften skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperatures like other vegetable oils do
  • Has no harmful side effects
  • Supports and aids immune system function
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.

With this and many more, I would like to say that Coconut oil is, was and will continue to be the best (healthiest) dietary oil in the whole world. With this brief insight on the benefits and usefulness of coconut oil, I believe if you are not using Coconut oil in your daily life both in cooking and body care needs then you must know you are loosing something very important. In Ghana, Refined Deodorized Coconut oil can be procured from GNPA Ltd. GNPA LTD is the sole distributor of made in Ghana Refined Deodorized Coconut oil by name “MAKOLA”. Wholesalers and Retailers are encouraged to contact GNPA LTD for more information on the sale and distribution of this Miracle Oil.

The company also deals in the following processed oils from Coconut;

1. Virgin Coconut Oil – used for edible creams, Pastries and Food preparations.
2. Refined /Deodorised Coconut oil for Body and Hair Creams
3. Crude Coconut Oil for Soap manufacturing.

Credit :I). Mary G. Enig, Nutritional Sciences Division, Enig Associates Inc.
ii). Bruce Fife, N.D. - Synopsis of Lecture Presented at the Annual Fall Endocrinology Conference 2002.




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