For some people,  the smell of coffee, a deliciously scented shower gel, or a dab of their favorite perfume is their chosen way to wake up. For me, it’s all about the aroma of Artisana Extra Virgin, Organic coconut oil in my oatmeal. I wish technology were advanced enough so that I could upload the scent for you to savor here; it’s a remarkable way to start the day. I’ve tried every other brand at my local Whole Foods grocery store, as well as at the little health food store near my apartment, done research on how coconuts are processed for their oil, and I like this one the best.

Don’t get me wrong – the wonderful scent of Artisana’s oil isn’t why I’m posting about it. It’s just a nice aside.  Based on my review of research, both pro and con, it’s the health benefits of extra virgin, cold pressed, organic forms of coconut oil that I love.  I attribute my incredible immune system to the fuel I put into my body and at the top of that list of fuels comes this oil. I work on models who’ve been flying all over the world, to the most exotic locations for photo shoots, getting very little sleep, picking up illnesses left and right and not feeling that they’re able to call in sick for work. There they sit, in my makeup chair coughing and sneezing, with foreheads screaming to be cooled with cold compresses. AND I NEVER GET SICK. (and I don’t believe in jinxing myself, so please don’t worry)

WHY COCONUT OIL IS REALLY GOOD FOR YOUR HEART AND DIGESTION

It’s important for me to briefly address and then dispel the long-standing belief held by a good number of government agencies about the dangers of coconut oil as a whole. This negative connotation is solely based on studies done in the 1950′s-80′s on coconut oil produced by methods that used heat to extract the oil from the nut, resulting in a partially hydrogenated form of the oil and associated it with high levels of something  called ‘saturated fat’. Saturated fat, which is the generic term for a component of what is inherent in coconut oil , (and is in many other things we eat)  has been blamed as one cause of cardiovascular disease.

The beauty of using a coconut oil that’s extracted from the nut and processed WITHOUT HEAT, thus maintaining its’ status as EXTRA VIRGIN, RAW, AND ORGANIC,  is that even though it’s a saturated fat, its unique short and medium fatty acid chain structure makes it more available to the body to use to rebuild cells, and be more readily processed. There are very few sources of short and medium fatty acid chains available to us. Most fats are built with long fatty acid chains, which our bodies often can’t break down thoroughly, often resulting in weight gain.

More recently, studies have shown that because this form of coconut oil contains about 50% Lauric Acid which is super helpful to our bodies in fighting harmful bacteria that might otherwise settle into us. It’s one of the most beneficial things we can ingest to help our hearts stay healthy. It’s been shown in studies that the saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful if cold pressed and organic, as they are from other vegetable oils, and do not lead to an increase in LDL  (i.e., “bad cholesterol”) levels. Hooray!

In the gut, it’s been shown to help prevent various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome, and because the saturated fats present in this oil have anti-microbial properties,they help us deal with various bacteria and fungi, and a whole host of other stuff that can cause us indigestion, and that plain old uncomfortable bloated feeling. Plus, it keeps us, er, um, regular, which means it helps to flush out decomposing foods (and their toxins that can keep our skin from glowing, our eyes from looking bright and clear and our breath from smelling its most fresh).

THE IMMUNITY AND HEALING BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL

I didn’t know this when I first started my daily use of raw/extra virgin/organic coconut  oil, but my ignorance didn’t prevent the oil from working its magic on me: this stuff  contains antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which all have anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.  The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is said to help move viruses out of our system quickly, getting rid of bacteria that might otherwise settle in and cause us ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia, as well as diseases like herpes, influenza, giardia lamblia (a pretty awful stomach bacteria that I once got!).

When applied topically, it forms a chemical layer to protect and heal the hurt/infected/raw body part from fungi, bacteria, and virus, and it can speed up the healing of bruises by repairing damaged tissue. It’s also great to use for all yeast infections – from systemic candidiasis to diaper rash.

USING IT ON THE SKIN 

Due to the antimicrobial powers, it’s a great option for healing skin all over the body. I know many people who suffer from acne who swear by its’ healing properties when used regularly as a moisturizer. People use it to remove eye makeup, people use it to shave instead of chemical-laden shaving creams, moisturize their bodies when stepping out of the shower. This oil also may be used when shaving instead of using chemical-laden shaving creams (although take great care not to spill it on the floor of your tub or you’ll risk slipping!) This is one of those inexpensive, all natural products that’s good for many purposes.

 

I look forward to one day living in a place where the nuts from which this medicinal oil come, grow plentifully on the trees around my home. If you’ll come visit, we’ll crack one open and sit on the porch, drinking the juice, eating the meat, and rubbing our skin with bottles of the freshest of oils.

***One final disclaimer: Not everyone will like coconut oil. I firmly believe that if your body tells you it’s not for you by making you feel turned off by the smell, or if you feel sick to your stomach when you ingest it, perhaps try another brand, and if you get the same response, listen to your body and pick up an extra virgin, organic olive oil instead. It’s always best to listen to your body!