Critical Thinking Assignment #1
Anatomy & Psychology 141
Is a High-Coconut Oil diet healthy or Unhealthy?
Coconut contains a high percentage of saturated fat. It is composed of 92% saturated fat, 6% mono-saturated fat, and only 2% polyunsaturated fat. The FDA recommends that less than 10% of an individual’s daily caloric intake must be from saturated fats, an issue that made coconut oil a controversial “health food.” Although Coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fat, its molecular structure is different. Coconut oil is composed of 62% Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA), as opposed to other edible substances rich in saturated fats which are composed of a high percentage of LCVA (Long Chain Fatty Acids). MCFA is absorbed and used more efficiently than LCFA. MCFA also aids in the absorption and retention of naturally-occurring minerals in the body such as magnesium, calcium and some amino acids. MCFAs that are present in coconut oil include: Lauric acid, Capric acid, Oleic acid and Linoleic acid.
Pure coconut oil is 50% Lauric acid. It is the most abundant natural source of Lauric acid available. In the body, Lauric acid is converted into a substance called Monolaurin. Monolaurin has anti-fungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. It disrupts lipid membranes in foreign organisms such as viruses, fungus and bacteria. Some of the viruses whose lipid cell wall membranes are usually destroyed by Monolaurin include HIV, Measles, Herpes Simplex Virus-1, Vesicular Stomatitis Virus, Influenza and Cytomegalovirus.
Studies conducted on natives whose diet includes coconut oil or foods with coconut oil show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many modern diseases in western countries where coconut oil is seldom consumed. Coconut oil is also prominent and is frequently used in Vedic tradition. The coconut is used to treat hair loss, burns and heart problems. It also has been proven to improve the body’s healing capabilities when applied on scrapes and cuts; coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria, virus and other foreign substances that may cause infection. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues.
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