8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day








Spinach
It may be green and leafy, but spinach is no nutritional wallflower, and you know from reading 
Eat This, Not That!. This noted muscle builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.  And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration. Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.

SUBSTITUTES: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce

FIT IT IN: Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; drape it over pizza; mix it with marinara sauce and then microwave for an instant dip.

PINCH HITTER: Sesame Stir-Braised Kale > Heat 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger, and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. water and 1 bunch kale (stemmed and chopped). Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain. Add 1 tsp. soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds.



Yogurt
Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body. That helps boost your 
immune system and helps provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.” Aim for 1 cup of the calcium and protein-rich goop a day. When you’re at the store stocking up, make sure to keep our guide to the Best and Worst Yogurts of every type by your side.

SUBSTITUTES: Kefir, soy yogurt

FIT IT IN: Yogurt topped with blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed, and honey is the ultimate breakfast — or dessert. Plain low-fat yogurt is also a perfect base for creamy salad dressings and dips.

HOME RUN: Power Smoothie > Blend 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 cup carrot juice, and 1 cup fresh baby spinach for a nutrient-rich blast.




Tomatoes
There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: Red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and 
processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to absorb the lycopene. Studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Aim for 22 mg of lycopene a day, which is about eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice.



SUBSTITUTES: Red watermelon, pink grapefruit, Japanese persimmon, papaya, guava

FIT IT IN: Pile on the ketchup and Ragú (as long as you check the label to make sure it’s not one of our Sneaky Sources of Sugar); guzzle low-sodium V8 and gazpacho; double the amount of tomato paste called for in a recipe.

PINCH HITTER: Red and Pink Fruit Bowl > Chop 1 small watermelon, 2 grapefruits, and 1 papaya. Garnish with mint.



Carrots
Most red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits are spiked with 
carotenoids — fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis — but none are as easy to prepare, or have as low a caloric density, as carrots. Aim for 1/2 cup a day.

SUBSTITUTES: Sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow bell pepper, mango

FIT IT IN: Raw baby carrots, sliced raw yellow pepper, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potato, pumpkin pie, mango sorbet, carrot cake

PINCH HITTER: Baked Sweet Potato Fries > Scrub and dry 2 sweet potatoes. Cut each into 8 slices, and then toss with olive oil and paprika. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F. Turn and bake for 10 minutes more.



Blueberries
Host to more antioxidants than any other North American fruit, 
blueberries can help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes (hence the nickname “brain berry”). Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, also boost cardiovascular health. Aim for 1 cup fresh blueberries a day, or 1/2 cup frozen or dried. An easy way to get it in as you start your day is our amazing blueberry smoothie!

SUBSTITUTES: Acai berries, purple grapes, prunes, raisins, strawberries

FIT IT IN: Blueberries maintain most of their power in dried, frozen, or jam form.

PINCH HITTER: Acai, an Amazonian berry, has even more antioxidants than the blueberry. Try acai juice from Sambazon or add 2 Tbsp. of acai pulp to cereal, yogurt, or a smoothie.




Black Beans
All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That’s because they’re full of 
anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily 1/2-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It’s also low in calories and free of saturated fat.

SUBSTITUTES: Peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, fava, and lima beans

FIT IT IN: Wrap black beans in a breakfast burrito; use both black beans and kidney beans in your chili; puree 1 cup black beans with 1/4 cup olive oil and roasted garlic for a healthy dip; add favas, limas, or peas to pasta dishes. We’re even ok with you making a designated Chipotle run to get your daily dose, as long as you memorize our tips for slimming down your Chipotle order before you go.

HOME RUN: Black Bean and Tomato Salsa > Dice 4 tomatoes, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 jalapeños, 1 yellow bell pepper, and 1 mango. Mix in a can of black beans and garnish with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 limes.



Walnuts
Richer in heart-healthy
 omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, the walnut sounds like a Frankenfood, but it grows on trees. Other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts — about 1 ounce, or 7 nuts — is good anytime, but especially as a post-workout recovery snack.

SUBSTITUTES: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts

FIT IT IN: Sprinkle on top of salads; chop and add to pancake batter; spoon peanut butter into curries; grind and mix with olive oil to make a marinade for grilled fish or chicken.

HOME RUN: Mix 1 cup walnuts with 1/2 cup dried blueberries and 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks.



Oats
The éminence grise of health food, oats garnered the FDA’s first seal of approval. They are packed with 
soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Yes, oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber, and because oats also have 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, they deliver steady, muscle-friendly energy. 

SUBSTITUTES: Quinoa, flaxseed, wild rice

FIT IT IN: Eat granolas and cereals that have a fiber content of at least 5 grams per serving. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed on cereals, salads, and yogurt.

PINCH HITTER: Quinoa Salad > Quinoa has twice the protein of most cereals, and fewer carbs. Boil 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups of water. Let cool. In a large bowl, toss it with 2 diced apples, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt.

Chicken Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

Rotisserie Chicken Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce
                                                               
 Chicken Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

Home Made Ice Cream (made in a blender!) - RECIPE


Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis

 

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Many foods will not cause discomfort or irritation of gastritis. Photo Credit Healthy Food image by martin schmid from Fotolia.com

Gastritis can be painful and cause gastrointestinal dysfunction. An inflammation of the lining of the stomach, it may be the result of a number of different causes, including bacterial overgrowth, excessive alcohol consumption, a poor diet or the long-term use of certain medications. Dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce inflammation and relieve the discomfort associated with gastritis.

Fruit

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Basket of apples Photo Credit Irina Drazowa-Fischer/iStock/Getty Images
Fruit contains essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants. If you have gastritis, you should consume two to four servings of fruit per day. Good choices include apples or apple juice, bananas, peaches, pears, applesauce and canned fruit, grapes, melon and kiwi. On average, servings are one medium piece of fresh fruit, 1/2 cup of canned fruit and 4ounces of fruit juice. You may need to avoid some types of fruit due to pain and irritation. These include orange and grapefruit juice, figs, berries and dried fruit.

Vegetables

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Box of assorted vegetables Photo Credit gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images
Vegetables are also rich in nutrients and will help you maintain a healthy weight. You should consume two to four servings of vegetables per day. Eating 1 cup of fresh vegetables, 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, 4 ounces of vegetable juice or 2 cups of salad greens are excellent ways to increase vegetables in your diet. Some vegetables are gas producing and may cause discomfort. Try a variety of vegetables and determine which ones you should avoid. Vegetable juices, peppers, chilies, onion, garlic and tomato products tend to cause the most problems.

Gastritis Cure and Role of Diet

   
Gastritis Cure and Role of Diet
Vitamin C helps gastritis, but you may need to avoid acidic oranges. Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
The lining that covers the inside of your stomach contains cells that secrete acid and digestive enzymes. It also protects the stomach wall from the acidic environment. When the lining becomes inflamed, you have gastritis. While prescription medications are essential if bacteria are present, dietary changes can help with various types of gastritis. A bland diet relieves symptoms, probiotics may help treat the problem and vitamin C shows promise for possibly preventing the bacterial infection that causes some gastritis.

 

Bacteria and NSAIDs

The most common cause of chronic nonerosive gastritis is Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. These bacteria attach to the stomach lining and cause an infection, which produces inflammation. Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as aspirin and ibuprofen can cause erosive gastritis, as can alcohol. In addition, traumatic injuries, critical illness and major surgery might result in stress gastritis. Many people with gastritis show no symptoms; others have abdominal discomfort or pain, nausea, vomiting, bleeding or other signs.

 

 

 

 

 

Bland Diet Can Relieve Symptoms

A bland diet won’t cure gastritis, but it can reduce symptoms by removing foods that are likely to irritate your stomach. NYU Langone Medical Center advises avoiding high-fat, spicy, fried and acidic foods, as well as caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Eat any type of grain, vegetable, lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs as long as it's not fried or prepared using fat. Limit dairy choices to low- or nonfat products. You might need to eliminate processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats. Include fruits in your menu, except tomatoes and citrus, due to their acidity. Avoid pepper, chili powder and vinegar.

 

 

Probiotics Inhibit Bad Bacteria

Probiotics may help treat gastritis and improve symptoms. A study published in the January 2013 issue of “Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology” reported that patients who took a probiotic together with standard medical treatment of H. pylori experienced fewer symptoms compared with patients who only took prescription medications. The study also found that more bacteria were eradicated in patients using probiotics. NYU Langone Medical Center reports that the lactobacillus strain is associated with fighting this bacteria. Lactobacillus is often found in yogurt with active cultures, but talk to your doctor to be sure you’re getting the best probiotic and the right amount for your condition.

 

 

Vitamin C Supports Treatment

When therapeutic doses of vitamin C are taken together with standard prescription medications, significantly more H. pylori are killed, according to a research review published in the October 2012 issue of “Digestive Diseases and Sciences.” The review also reported that vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, plays an important role in healing the stomach lining. People who are susceptible to gastritis caused by H. pylori may be able to prevent future outbreaks by taking vitamin C, according to the November 2011 issue of the “Indian Journal of Pharmacology.” However, since citrus fruit may irritate gastritis, get extra vitamin C from supplements; consult your physician to determine the optimal dose.

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Gastritis Cure

Dairy

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Jug and glass of milk Photo Credit Miles Higgins/iStock/Getty Images
Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, making them necessary for a healthy diet. However, you should limit your intake of milk and other dairy foods to two to three servings per day. Additionally, you should select low-fat or fat-free varieties when possible. This will help control the production of stomach acid. Good sources of vitamin D and calcium are 1/2 cup of low-fat ice cream, 1 cup of low-fat yogurt, 2 ounces of cheese, 4 ounces of pudding, 2 eggs or 8 ounces of low-fat or skim milk.

Meat, Poultry and Fish

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Tofu Photo Credit eskymaks/iStock/Getty Images
Most meat, poultry and fish are well tolerated if you have gastritis. The best choices are lean, tender meats, skinless poultry, seafood, fish, shellfish, tofu and soybeans. You should eat two to four 3-ounce servings of these types of foods each day. Avoid fried, greasy or high-fat cuts and highly seasoned or spicy options. Typically, broiling, grilling or roasting are the best-tolerated cooking methods.

Grains

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Sliced bread Photo Credit momentstock/iStock/Getty Images
On average, you should consume between six and 10 servings of grains per day. Enriched bread and cereals, whole grain bread and crackers, oatmeal, rice, potatoes, barley, graham crackers, pasta, noodles and macaroni products are good examples of acceptable grains. A typical serving size is 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of rice, cooked cereal or pasta, 3/4 cup dry cereal or 6 crackers. Products that may cause you discomfort or irritation include coarse cereals and breads, seeds, potato chips or French fries, refried beans and fatty fried pastries.

Beverages

A List of Foods That You Can Eat with Gastritis
Woman drinking glass of water Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images
Fluids are important to clean out your gastrointestinal tract and soften fiber. You should drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid per day. Water is the ultimate beverage; it replenishes your body, has no calories and does not cause irritation. Fruit drinks, caffeine-free tonics, carbonated beverages and mild herbal teas are also acceptable if you can tolerate them. Avoid coffee, black tea, soft drinks, hot cocoa and alcohol because they will cause discomfort and irritation

The health benefits of coconut oil

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.
Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries especially India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines etc., which have a good production of coconut oil. At one time, the oil was also popular in western countries like the United States and Canada, but there was a strong propaganda campaign in the 1970s spread by the corn oil and soy oil industry against coconut oil. Coconut oil was considered harmful for the human body due to its high saturated fat content until the last decade (2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda. Next, let’s look into some more details of how coconut oil works in our body.

How is lauric acid used by our body?

The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is supposedly helpful in dealing with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It also helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, although its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. The Coconut Research Center has compiled a list of potential benefits of coconut oil in both traditional and modern medicine.
Before we move on to the benefits of coconut oil in detail, we should first understand its composition.

Composition of Coconut Oil:

More than ninety percent of coconut oil consists of saturated fats (Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, read to the end of this review and your opinion may change), along with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this.
  • Saturated fatty acids: Most of them are medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems. Lauric acid is the chief contributor, representing more than forty percent of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids: Linoleic acid.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids: Oleic acid.
  • Poly-phenols: Coconut contains Gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.
  • Certain derivatives of fatty acid like betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters.
  • Fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate, all of which are derivatives of fatty alcohols.
  • Vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals such as iron.

CoconutHealth Benefits of Coconut Oil

Hair care:

Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss which can lead to various unattractive or unhealthy qualities in your hair.
Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. Most of the people in those countries apply coconut oil on their hair every day after bathing or showering. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Research studies indicate that coconut oil provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.
By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.
Coconut oil is therefore used as hair care oil and is used in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.

Heart diseases

There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as you commonly find in vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.

Skin care

Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Fortunately, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin which normally accompany aging. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its well-known antioxidant properties.

Weight loss

Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Immunity

Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

CoconutDigestion

Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Candida

Coconut has been shown to prevent and even cure candida. It provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Further, unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for candida, the effects of coconut oil is gradual and not drastic or sudden, which gives the patient an appropriate amount of time to get used to the withdrawal symptoms or Herxheimer Reactions (the name given to the symptoms accompanying body’s rejection of toxins generated during elimination of these fungi). But, in the treatment of this condition, people should systematically and gradually increase their dosages of coconut oil and shouldn’t initially start with a large quantity.
Candida, also known as Systemic Candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida Albicans in the stomach. This yeast is more or less present in everyone’s stomach, but it doesn’t manifest any adverse effects since its growth is controlled by the beneficial bacteria which also resides in our stomach. There are many reasons for this uncontrolled growth of yeast. For example, if other destructive bacteria or the use of antibiotics which ultimately end up in eliminating these bacteria, there can be an imbalance of bacteria and a problem like Candida can develop. Also, bleaching or washing of your stomach with medicines or excessive use of chemical laxatives or ingestion of poisonous material can cause the yeast or fungi to start growing very fast and can lead to Candida.
Symptoms of candida: The symptoms of Candida include infection in the genitals, urinary tract and bladder, stomach & intestines, ear, nose and throat, itchy and dry skin, inflammations in internal organs and skin, patching & peeling off of skin (particularly in scalp), digestive and excretory disorders and problems with your hair and nails.
This disease is very common in Europe and America, possibly due to the cold and moist climate and general food preparation, storage, and comsumption habits. In these places, a large portion of their food is comprised of food stuffs which, in some way or the other, are processed with yeast or fermented. For example, these cultures heavily rely on foods like bread, other baked items, cheese and above all, wine and other alcoholic drinks. These things also assist growth of Candida Albicans in the body. The various fatty acids found in the coconut oil are beneficial in counteracting the effects of these habits and can be used to treat Candida.
Capric acid is a medium chain fatty acid (a Saturated Fat) present in coconut oil has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This is the same fatty acid present in breast milk and it protects the baby from bacterial, viral and fungal infections. In the body, it reacts with certain enzymes secreted by other bacteria, which subsequently convert it into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin. In the systematic use coconut oil as a treatment for Candida, the capric acid has also been found very effective in killing the yeast.
Caprylic acid, caproic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid are all found in coconut oil and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties which aid in the elimination of candida albicans. Lauric acid is a saturated fat and a medium chain fatty acid that forms a compound called monolaurin when it reacts with enzymes. This monolaurin is a potent germ and fungus killer.

Healing and infections

When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.

Other

Coconut oil is strongly recommended for a number of other benefits that are explained below. Using coconut oils has been shown to mildly help the following:
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.
Stress relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps to eliminate mental fatigue.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for the development of bones. Thus, coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Dental care: Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.
HIV and cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing a person’s viral susceptibility for HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients (Reference).
Finally, coconut oil is often used by athletes, body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains less calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy, and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps boost energy and endurance, and generally enhances the performance of athletes.

Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease: The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that coconut oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge of coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is not traditionally thought that coconut oil helps in boosting the function of the brain in any form.
Why is coconut oil solid?: Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. Hence, if you buy a bottle of coconut oil and find it solid, don’t immediately assume that there is some problem with it. Coconut oil is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.
How to use coconut oil?: If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some coconut oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.
Can I use coconut oil for cooking?: Yes, in most of the tropical coastal regions, people use coconut oil for cooking.
I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What should I do?: Try using coconut oil in a variety of different recipes. However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.

Varieties of Coconut Oil

There are primarily 6 varieties of coconut oil that you will find on the market. These are pure coconut oil, refined coconut oil, organic coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, organic virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil.
Pure Coconut Oil: This oil is our most well-known old friend. It is extracted from dried coconut kernels, which are also called copra. It is crude, unrefined and without any additives. It is mainly extracted by compression of copra in a mill, either driven by bullocks or by power. However, the variety extracted by bullock driven oil mills is preferred. Pure coconut oil has multiple uses such as edible oil, massaging oil, hair oil, cosmetic usage, as well as medicinal and industrial use.
Refined Coconut Oil: This is sometimes also called the RBD coconut oil, which is an abbreviated form for refined, bleached & deodorized coconut oil. As the name suggests, this type is obtained by mechanically and chemically refining, bleaching and deodorizing the crude coconut oil, to make it thin, colorless, odorless and without any type of particle (such as proteins) suspended in it. What we then get is only pure saturated fats.
Virgin Coconut Oil: Virgin coconut oil is derived from the milk obtained from fresh coconut meat, and not from copra, by processes like fermentation, centrifugal separation and enzyme action. Care is taken to use no or as little heat as possible in the extraction of this oil. Produced in this way, the oil tastes and smells the best and is laden with antioxidants and medium chain fatty acids. It also has remarkable anti-microbial properties. This is one of the most respected and trusted varieties of coconut oil.
Organic Coconut Oil: The coconut oil that has been extracted from coconuts obtained from coconut palms raised only on organic manure and no synthetic fertilizers or insecticides. The production of organic coconut oil is also completed without involving any chemical in its extraction or processing. This is another well-respected variety of coconut oil. Organic coconut oil forms an integral part of a number of organic cosmetic products such as organic soaps, organic skin creams and lotions, organic snacks and thousands of other similar products. Some of the organic programs and authorities that certify organic coconut oil include Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), USDA National Organic Program (NOP), European Organic Regulations (EU 2092/91), Export Certificates for Japan (JAS Equivalent), Indian National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), Quebec Organic Reference Standard (CAAQ), Bio Suisse Standards, IOFAM Basic Standards, ECOCERT.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: This type of oil is basically virgin coconut oil produced from the organic coconuts, in an organic way. This is perhaps the best and purest form of coconut oil one can imagine, but it is rare.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: Among all the varieties of coconut oil, this is the most challenged and controversial variety, as its very existence is doubtful and the name hardly makes any sense. Furthermore, there are no set standards for virginity of coconut oil. Moreover, reputed firms and governmental bodies are still hesitant to say anything on the matter, nor are they selling it. Basically, further research is definitely required.
The properties of coconut oil do not differ much with their varieties and remain more or less the same. So, think well and make a wise decision before you decide to purchase one of the varieties.
Coconut Oil as a Carrier Oil: Coconut oil can be very efficient as carrier oil. Carrier oils hold a place of high importance in Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and all other systems of treatment that involve massaging. Carrier oils are those oils which easily penetrate or absorb into the skin and thus facilitate seepage or absorption of other oils (such as essential oils) and herbal extracts through the skin when mixed into it. Coconut oil is easily absorbed through the skin’s pores and thus is used as a carrier oil. Furthermore, being one of the most stable oils, it doesn’t go rancid, nor does it let the other oils, herbal extracts, or medicines spoil inside of it. Due to its anti-fungal and anti-microbial property coconut oil keeps the oils, herbal extracts and medicines that are mixed in it protected from microbial or fungal interactions. It also does not alter the properties of the oils and herbs mixed within it. Coconut oil is expensive in several countries; however, in tropical countries its cost is low enough to make it affordable as a carrier oil.

Coconut oil extraction

Cold pressing is one of the preferred methods for the extraction of coconut oil.The quality of coconut oil depends a lot on the method of its extraction. Basically, there are two main methods of extraction of coconut oil. The first is cold pressing of copra (dried coconut kernels) and the second is boiling of fresh coconut milk. Since boiling or heating destroys many nutrients and valuable components, coconut oil obtained this way is not considered as good as that obtained by cold pressing, since cold pressing retains much of oil’s goodness. Machine pressing and bullock/manual pressing are two methods of cold pressing.
Machine pressing: In this cold pressing is done with the help of an electrically or diesel-engine driven oil mill. Most of cold pressed oil used in the world is obtained this way.
Bullock/manual pressing: The oil obtained this way has a better taste and fragrance and is more expensive since the production is smaller, it consumes more time and energy, and wastage is higher. In short, it has a higher price, lower availability and better quality.

Buying Coconut Oil

First of all, you need to decide why you need coconut oil and where you are going to use it. Your choice should be based on your need, like whether you want it for edible purposes or as a carrier oil to be used in aromatherapy, for massaging, for weight loss, or for medicinal purposes. As mentioned earlier, there are different varieties for different purposes. Their properties do not differ much, unless they are mixed with some base or additives that do not contain 100% coconut oil. Below is a list of such purposes and the type of coconut oil to buy.
Purpose————–Preferable Type to Buy
Cooking————–Refined Coconut Oil
Weight Loss———Virgin Coconut Oil
As a Carrier Oil—–Virgin Coconut Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil
Good Health———Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Coconut Oil
Massaging———–Pure Coconut Oil, Refined Coconut Oil
Hair——————–Pure Coconut Oil, Refined Coconut Oil
Medicinal uses—–Virgin Coconut Oil, Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
Furthermore, before you buy coconut oil, you should keep in mind that for edible and therapeutic uses, refined coconut oil is the best as it is hygienic and clean. Unrefined coconut oil is good for external applications like hair care and skin care.
Where to buy from?: Except some of the special varieties, such as virgin coconut oil and organic coconut oil, other varieties like pure coconut oil and refined coconut oil are easily available in most grocery stores, especially in tropical countries. For special varieties, you may need to search in larger department stores or drug stores. Things may be a little different in countries which do not produce coconut oil, like the US, Canada, and most of Europe. You will need to visit big grocers in these countries to find different varieties of coconut oil. You can also get coconut oil easily at grocery stores in localities which have higher populations of people from India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and coastal Africa. Obviously, you can order it online as well and have it delivered wherever you live.
Which brand to buy?: It is not a problem if someone in your village extracts coconut oil (quite normal in Philippines, Thailand, Burma, coastal India, Sri Lanka etc.) and you know that person well or see him/her expelling the oil. But when you are buying coconut oil in packs, go for the reliable and reputable brands. Read the contents carefully and check the manufacturing date (although coconut oil has a long shelf life, fresher is still better).
How much to pay? This is a really difficult question to answer. The price of coconut oil depends on many factors such as its availability (cheaper where it is produced and more costly in other places, and it is even more expensive when ordered via phone, Internet etc.). The price is also effected by demand, variety (the refined one costs the least, followed by the fractionated, the virgin, the organic and the organic virgin coconut oils), brand, and quantity (buying in bulk costs a little less).
How much to buy? Buy only as much you can consume in few months, because despite the fact that coconut oil does not go rancid for a long time, it is not wise to store it unnecessarily. You will get better results with fresh coconut oil.
Storage: After you buy coconut oil, the next question should relate to storage. In colder countries, coconut oil comes in good, broad containers. However, if you get it in a pack (tetra-pack or plastic pouch), after opening the pack, be sure to keep the oil in containers with tight lid and broad mouth so that you can scoop it out with a spoon if it solidifies. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil (ants, cockroaches, other insects and rodents just love it!).
Hope this will be of some help to you. Got any suggestions? Your comments are welcome! You may also share this information with your friends. Thanks!