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Organic coconut oil is derived from coconuts grown without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and which are processed without the use of ionizing radiation or artificial additives. There was once a misconception that coconut oil was unhealthy because of its supposed cholesterol-raising properties. However, it has been discovered that such findings were based on the use of hydrogenated coconut oil, not organic coconut oil.
The hydrogenation process—the conversion of liquid vegetable oil to a solid or semi-solid fat—creates trans fatty acids (TFAs). TFAs enter cell membranes, blocking the body's use of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and interfering with the healthy function of cells. TFAs are not naturally occurring in organic coconut oil.
In its natural, non-hydrogenated state, the health benefits of coconut oil are numerous. Lauric acid constitutes nearly half the fatty acid in organic coconut oil. Once converted to monolaurin in the body, lauric acid has the benefit of impacting bacteria, yeast, and so-called enveloped viruses in a negative way.
Lauric acid effectively destroys the lipid membrane of enveloped viruses including the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1), influenza, and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). A primary component of human breast milk, lauric acid aids in protecting breastfed infants from illness during their first months. Studies are ongoing the usefulness of lauric acid from organic coconut oil in the treatment of AIDS.
Independent studies in the United States and abroad have demonstrated the effect of coconut oil in preventing heart problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Unlike other vegetable oils, coconut oil in its organic form does not lead to increases in low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol. In fact, it reduces injury to arteries, thus assisting in the prevention of atherosclerosis (inflammation of artery walls). Among other health benefits, organic coconut oil has also been demonstrated to aid in calcium absorption, which plays a part in bone strength as well as dental health. Additionally, liver efficiency, kidney health, and digestion benefit from adding organic coconut oil to the diet.
Organic, extra virgin coconut oil is readily available for purchase through many online outlets, in health food stores, grocery stores, as well as large chain stores such as Walmart and Costco.