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Coconut Oil Dietary Guidelines and Suggestions – Dr. Mary T Newport

Coconut oil can be substituted for any solid or liquid oil, lard, butter or margarine in baking or cooking on the stove and can be mixed directly into foods already prepared. Some people take it straight with a spoon, but for most people it may be hard to swallow this way and more pleasant to take with food. When cooking on the stove, coconut oil smokes if heated to greater than 350 degrees or medium heat. You can avoid this problem by adding a little olive or peanut oil. Coconut oil can be used at any temperature in the oven when mixed in foods.

Coconut oil has about 117-120 calories per tablespoons, about the same as other oils. It contains 57-60% medium chain triglycerides, which are absorbed directly without the need for digestive enzymes. Part of it is metabolized by the liver to ketones which can be used by most cells in the body for energy. This portion of the coconut oil is not stored as fat. Coconut oil is about 86% saturated fat, most of which is the medium chain fats that are metabolized differently than animal saturated fats. It contains no cholesterol and no transfat so long as is non-hydrogenated. An advantage of a saturated fat is that there is nowhere on the molecule for free radicals or oxidants to attach. About 6% of the oil is monounsaturated and 2% polyunsaturated. Coconut oil also contains a small amount of phytosterols, which are one of the components of the “statins” used for lowering cholesterol. Coconut oil contains omega-6 fatty acids but no omega-3 fatty acid, so this must be taken in addition to coconut oil. You can obtain all the essential fatty acids required by using just coconut oiland omega-3 fatty acids. If you were to use coconut oil as your primary oil, the only other oil you would need is an omega-3 fatty acid, which you can get by eating
salmon twice a week, or taking fish oil or flax oil capsules, 2-3 per day. Some other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are ground flax meal, chia (a fine grain), walnut oil and walnuts. Lauric acid is a medium chain triglyceride that makes up almost half of the coconut oil. Scientific studies show that lauric acid has antimicrobial properties and may inhibit growth of certain bacteria, fungus/yeast, viruses and protozoa. It is one of the components of human breast milk that prevents infection in a newborn. A recent study shows lauric acid stimulates ketone production potently and directly in astrocytes in cultures—brain cells that nourish other brain cells.

Look for coconut oils that are non-hydrogenated with no transfat. Avoid coconut oils that are hydrogenated or super-heated because it changes the chemical structure of the fats. If you like the odor of coconut, look for products called “virgin,” “organic,” or “unrefined,” which are generally more expensive than “refined,” or “all natural,” or “RBD” (refined, bleached and
deodorized) coconut oil, which do not have an odor. The oil itself is tasteless. Any of these have essentially the same nutrient with about 57-60% MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides.) The least expensive that I have been able to find so far is the Louanna brand at Walmart, priced locally at $5.44 per quart. Using coconut oil capsules is not an efficient way to give the oil since the
capsules are relatively expensive and contain only 1 gram of oil per capsule, whereas the oil is 14 grams per tablespoon. Capsules might be useful for someone who will not take the oil.

Coconut oil is a clear or slightly yellow liquid above 76 degrees but becomes solid at 76 degrees and below. If your house is kept right around 76 degrees, you may even see partly liquid oil with solid clouds of oil floating in it as it begins to solidify. If your home is generally kept at 75 degrees or below, the oil will tend to be a white or slightly yellow soft semi-solid.

Coconut milk is a combination of the oil and the water from the coconut and most of the calories are from the oil. Look for brands with 10 to 13 grams of fat in 2 ounces. Look in the grocery store’s Asian section. Some brands are less expensive but are diluted with water. Coconut cream is mostly coconut milk and sometimes has added sugar. Flaked or grated coconut can be purchase unsweetened or sweetened and is a very good source of coconut oil and fiber and has about 15 grams oil and 3 grams fiber in ¼ cup. Frozen or canned coconut meat usually has a lot of added sugar and not much oil per serving. A fresh coconut can be cut up into pieces and eaten raw. A 2” x 2” piece has about 160 calories with 15 grams of oil and 4 grams of fiber. MCT Oil (medium chain triglycerides) are part of the coconut oil and can also be purchased in some health food stores or on-line.
This may be useful for people who are on the go and do not have much time to cook. Also, MCT oil is used as energy and not stored as fat, so it may be useful for someone who wants to lose weight, if substituted for some of the other fats in the diet. Coconut water does not usually contain coconut oil but has other health benefits. The electrolyte composition is similar to human plasma and is useful to prevent or treat dehydration.

Coconut oil is extremely stable with a shelf life of at least two years when stored at room temperature. It does not need to be refrigerated and becomes extremely hard when cold. If you wish to keep it in the refrigerator, you can measure out 1 or 2
tablespoons into each section of a plastic ice cube tray. The coconut oil easily pops out of the plastic tray. Coconut milk is mostly coconut oil and can be substituted for the oil in many ways. Coconut milk must be refrigerated after opening and should be used within a few days or tossed out. Grated or flaked coconut can be stored at room temperature for a few weeks but may last longer if stored in a refrigerator. A freshly cut up coconut can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or freezer for a couple of weeks.

People who have a neurodegenerative disease that involves decreased glucose uptake in neurons could benefit from taking higher amounts of coconut and/or MCT oil to produce ketones which may be used by brain cells as energy. These diseases include Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Parkinson’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), multiple sclerosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, autism, Down’s syndrome, and Huntington’s chorea. People with PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety often report improvement in mood with the ketone approach (oils and/or ketone supplements). Ketones can also serve as an alternative fuel for other cells in the
body that are insulin resistant or cannot transport glucose and could potentially lessen the effects of diabetes I or II on the brain and other organs. If you are at risk due to family history, consider making this dietary change as well. Two to three tablespoons of MCT oil per day has been shown to fill in the brainenergy gap…the difference between how much energy your brain needs and how much it gets from food. If your loved one is in assisted living, the doctor may be willing to prescribe coconut oil or MCT oil to be given at each meal, increasing gradually—see MCT//143 below for a commercial product to help with this.

If you take too much oil too fast, you may experience indigestion, cramping or diarrhea. To avoid these symptoms, take with food and start with ½ to 1 teaspoon coconut oil and/or MCT oil per meal, increasing slowly as tolerated over a week or longer. If diarrhea develops drop back to the previous level. For most people, the goal would be to increase gradually to 3-6 tablespoons
a day, depending on the size of the person, spread over 3-4 meals. Mixing MCT oil and coconut oil could provide higher levels and a steady level of ketones plus the benefits of the lauric acid in coconut oil. For the formula I used to help Steve and take myself, I mix 16 ounces MCT oil plus 12 ounces coconut oil in a quart jar and increase slowly as tolerated, starting with 1
teaspoon. This mixture can be stored and stays liquid at room temperature.

Children with Down’s syndrome, epilepsy and some children with autism show decreased glucose uptake in parts of the brain. A reasonable amount to give a child would be about ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil for every 10 pounds that the child weighs, 2 or 3 times a day. Also, some children like the taste of coconut milk – 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons per 10 pounds weight can be added to the
diet 2 or 3 times a day. If you use coconut milk for a child be sure to refrigerate it and toss after two days. Do not add honey to coconut milk for children under 1 year old due to risk of infection.

Yes!! The best way to avoid gaining weight is to substitute coconut oil for most other fats and oils in the diet, and if that isn’t enough, cut back on portion sizes of carbohydrates, such as breads, rice, potatoes, cereals, and other grains. In general, it is a good idea to use whole milk products but, if weight gain is a problem, you can also compensate for some of the new
fat in the diet by changing from full fat to lower fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurts, as well as low-fat or fat-free salad dressings, to which you can add coconut oil. Also, use a measuring spoon and remove the excess by leveling it with a knife to avoid overestimating, which can make a big difference in the number of calories consumed. Tiny glass measuring cups are available at grocery stores with markings for teaspoons and tablespoons. These are especially useful for combining salad dressing with coconut oil.

Hydrogenated coconut oil can increase cholesterol. Therefore, look for non-hydrogenated coconut oil with no transfat. While some overly processed coconut oils may raise cholesterol, there is no cholesterol in coconut oil itself. With virgin coconut oil, most people will see no change in cholesterol levels or will see an improvement in their HDL (“good”) and little or no increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, resulting in higher total cholesterol, mainly due to HDL.

Coconut oil is easily absorbed by the body and increases absorption of certain vitamins and minerals and other important nutrients. This would also hold true for coconut milk, coconut meat, whether wet or dry, such as flaked or grated coconut. The fiber in coconut meat may be especially beneficial to persons with Crohn’s or other types of inflammatory bowel disease or
malabsorption syndromes and people who have diarrhea from MCT or coconut oil.
All of your cell membranes and about 60-70% of the brain and are made up of fats. Cholesterol is a very important component of the support structure of the brain. Many cell functions take place within the cell membrane. For many years people in this country were using hydrogenated polyunsaturated fat with damaging transfat in margarines and shortenings, which found their way into cell membranes. If you begin to substitute coconut and other natural oils, such as olive oil and even butter, along with omega-3 oils you may be able to undo some of the damage. Most of the cells of the body turn over within 3 to 6 months and you may
notice a nicer texture to your skin, and a decrease in certain problems such as yeast and fungal infections due to antimicrobial properties of lauric acid in coconut oil.

• Use coconut oil instead of butter on toast, English muffins, bagels, grits, corn on the cob, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, vegetables, noodles, pasta.
• Mix coconut oil into oatmeal or other hot cereal.
• Add coconut oil or milk to smoothies, yogurt or kefir.
• Mix coconut oil half and half with salad dressings.
• Mix coconut oil into your favorite soup, chili or sauce.
• Use a measured amount of coconut oil to stir fry or sauté (add peanut oil over medium heat)
• Purchase or make coconut macaroons made from all-natural products.
• Eat a 2” x 2” square of raw coconut for a snack to provide 15 grams of oil.
• Add flaked or grated coconut to hot or cold cereal, yogurt, fruit, or vegetable salads.
• “The Coconut Lover’s Cookbook,” Bruce Fife
– many more great ideas

Coconut Milk:
Mix in a container and shake well before use:
1 can of coconut milk 1-2 cans of water or coconut water Dash of salt
Optional: 7 to 10 drops liquid stevia extract to taste
Store in refrigerator and discard unused portion after 4-6 days.
MCT Oil/Coconut oil Mixture
Store at room temperature, in a quart size jar: 16 ounces MCT oil + 12 ounces coconut oil
Optional: add 1 tablespoon soy, egg, or sunflower lecithin.
Melt and mix together 1 cup each of coconut oil and chocolate chips and divide equally into a plastic ice cube tray or silicone mold and store in refrigerator. Ready to eat in 1-2 hours! You can use unsweetened chips, such as Lily’s or unsweetened Baker’s chocolate 8 ounces and add 1-2 tablespoons erythritol to taste. In a 16-cube tray, each cube will equal 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add peanut butter or cocoa butter, grated coconut, and/or nuts for variety.

KETONE SALTS AND KETONE ESTERS are now available on the market. Consider using coconut and MCT oil as part of a lower carb diet and use a ketone supplement to boost ketone levels higher for
several hours. See Articles by Dr. Newport at http://coconutketones.com.