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Crazy for Coconut

Coffee, green tea, chocolate, almonds, tomatoes. We learn of nutritional benefits of a super food nearly every week. Recent reports place coconut oil at the top of the list. Benefits range from reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and hypothyroidism to weight loss and improved bone and dental health.

The internet currently is rich with people testifying miraculous cures after consuming it, especially in regards to Alzheimer’s. Do a search and you’ll have plenty to read. Even Dr. Oz has something to say.

The theory is that brain function requires fats. Some studies show a lack of cholesterol in the brains of AD and other dementia patients as well as those with Parkinson’s disease. Increasing your HDL, the good cholesterol, can help reverse symptoms of these diseases. Coconut oil is supposed to do this too even though it is a saturated fat.

But according to the Alzheimer’s Association, claims such as these are based on testimonials rather than scientific evidence. As stated on their website,, “The rigorous scientific research required by the U.S./ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the approval of a prescription drug is not required by law for the marketing of dietary supplements of “medical foods.”

Because effectiveness is unknown and purity is unregulated adverse reactions are not routinely monitored. No clinical testing of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s has been done, so there’s no scientific evidence that it truly helps. The bottom line is, at this point, experiment as you like, and sees if you feel any healthier after trying it.

Coconut oil has a long shelf life. Its melting point is 76 degrees which results in it appearing on the shelf as a solid in most homes until warmer summer days when it liquefies. Use it in baking, frying, or directly spread on toast.

Personally, I’ve been using it for about a year. I’m not certain my husband and I are any healthier, but I love coconut and do like the light coconut taste it adds to oatmeal, vegetables, fish, and chicken. It’s delicious in pancakes and baked goods too.

©Mary K. Doyle

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