Coconut

Coco Loco – Part 2

The Daily Mail article, referenced in Coco Loco-Part 1, mentions Dr Mary Newport and her case study about her husband’s struggle with dementia.  She comments that in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis (& others) it appears that the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to process glucose and therefore not getting any ‘food’! Hence the coconut based MCT (medium chain triglycerides), which is converted directly to ketone bodies by the liver (instead of being stored as fat) is then available for use as energy by the brain.

She started giving her husband just over 2 tablespoons (7 teaspoons) of coconut oil per day and saw huge improvements…  She based this quantity on research by a new Alzheimer’s drug where the active ingredient is MCT oil.  She now gives her husband this amount twice a day and is amazed at the changes to his memory and alertness.

Dr Newport also notes in regard to adding it to your diet: “It is possible to use coconut oil in place of all other oils, how­ever since it contains no omega-3 fatty acids, it is very important to eat salmon twice a week or get enough omega-3 fatty acid from other rich sources such as fish oil capsules, flax meal, flax oil (not for cooking) or walnuts.”

I’d like to add that you should eat WILD salmon as farmed salmon is commonly fed soy protein (see my blog: Born to be Wild) which would totally change its omega 3 / omega 6 ratio (see my omega 3:omega 6 blogs)!

My preferred fish oil capsules are Blue Ice Royal by Green Pastures – as its fermented Cod liver oil produced without heat…  I’ve now set up an online shop with Amazon as I’ve been asked frequently about where to find items & books I talk about, so I realised that it would help to put all these in one place… and as it’s powered by Amazon it’s safe & secure…   Click here to reach my shop…

It’s now quite easy to buy coconut products in the local supermarkets, but it’s quite confusing – there’s virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, desiccated coconut… And then there’s coconut water!  What does it all mean?

Here’s a simple summary:

Coconut oil – is the edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts. It often uses heat and chemical processes to extract the oil.  Coconut oil contains roughly 60% MCTs.

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) – can be produced from fresh coconut meat, milk or residue using mechanical or manual processes. Raw VCO does not use heat.  VCO also contains roughly 60% MCTs.

Coconut milk (tinned) – is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut.  Tinned coconut milk typically adds water as a filler and it has a saturated fat content of approximately 17%.

Coconut milk (carton) – This is the tinned coconut milk watered down even further and its main use is as a dairy free alternative to milk (so note that it often has some form of sugar added!).  Its saturated fat content is only about 1.6%.

Coconut cream – is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water. The difference is mainly consistency as it has a thicker, more paste-like consistency. It’s saturated fat content is around 17%

Creamed coconut – is a compressed block of coconut flesh which has been slightly dehydrated and sold in a waxy lump. It has the same fat content at Coconut oil.

Desiccated coconut – is a grated, unsweetened fresh meat or kernel of a mature fruit of coconut that is then dried.  It has the same fat content at Coconut oil.

Coconut water – is the clear liquid inside young coconuts.  It has no fat and is high in minerals so is completely different from the items mentioned above & doesn’t help with MCT consumption!

As mentioned in my previous Coco Loco Blog, if you plan to have 4 tablespoons of coconut oil per day, then its best to replace other fats/oils rather than add this extra amount to your diet.

Dr Newport has her suggestions:  “Coconut milk is a pleasant substi­tute for milk, and can be added instead of milk, for example, to make scrambled eggs, French toast, and mashed potatoes. You can figure out portion sizes of various combinations of foods containing coconut and coconut oil equivalent to at least 35 grams of fat from coconut oil.

Some people may experience a sense of “fullness” or even have diarrhoea after taking this much to start, but this problem can be reduced by starting with one or two teaspoons and increasing over a week or so to the full amount.”

The 35g of coconut oil she mentions comes from the Drug Study which used 20g of MCT oil.  This is based on coconut oil being 90% saturated fat of which between 60-66% is MCT (the other 40% of the saturated fat is long chain triglycerides (LCT)).

And 1 tablespoon of coconut oil contains 14 g of fat and hence 8g (approx.) of MCT.  So 4 tablespoons of coconut oil is about 32g of MCT.

What about tinned coconut milk?  As 100ml contains 16g saturated fat, then 100ml provides 10g of MCT.

A word of warning, particularly to Australians & Kiwis, it is possible to buy hydrogenated coconut oil – remember this is bad!!!  Since coconut oils melt at 76 °F (24 °C), foods containing coconut oil tend to melt in warm weather. Therefore a higher melting point is desirable in warm climates, so the oil is hydrogenated.  As the remaining fat content is 6% monounsaturated and 2% polyunsaturated fatty acids, then these are transformed into trans-fats, which are bad for you (see my previous blogs on oils/fats).

The reason this is bad for Aussies, is that we grew up making chocolate crackles of which a major ingredient was Copha.  I’ve just discovered that this is hydrogenated coconut oil!!!!  I’ll challenge Claire to make a healthy version with raw chocolate, virgin coconut oil and buckwheaties.

In the meantime, to stop you getting hungry, here’s her delicious Raw Chocolate Brownie recipe – & they’re good for you too 🙂

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