Thursday, July 9, 2015

Life-saving coconut oil

When I was growing up, a favorite sweet treat we used to make was coconut candy, a mixture of grated coconut and condensed milk that, when nibbled on, was as delicious as it was cloyingly sweet. Nowadays, when I take my two tablespoons of coconut oil in the morning as part of my health regimen, I'm always reminded of coconut candy, not a bad thing at all. I know many people aren't crazy about the taste of the oil but I like it, and love what it's done for me health wise even more.

I'm prone to inflammatory diseases. I was told by a Chinese physician that my being born in the year of the Fire Rooster probably contributed to these fiery ailments. My own diagnosis is that being an incendiary Arian doesn't help either. I had problems with acne from my teenaged years until middle age. Not only can my temper flare up and my face go all red, but my borderline cholesterol also makes me a candidate for heart disease. I suffer from arthritic inflammation, joint pain, throat infections and mouth ulcers.

While others complain about how excruciatingly painful it can be to have an ulcer in the mouth and throat, I've gone through experiences of having my entire mouth covered with them. The act of placing just a tiny spoonful of yogurt into my mouth would bring me to tears and my food source during those excruciating days was a very soft and bland omelette. Antibiotics prescribed by western doctors didn't seem to help. I never knew when a bout of mouth ulcers would occur but it was usually brought on by stress or lack of sleep, or both.

A prescription of more than 20 different herbs
Redemption came at the hands of this same Chinese physician who explained the root cause of my fiery ailments to me. He prescribed a long, detailed list of herbs that had to be obtained from the Chinese medical hall and boiled into a dark, foul-smelling (and tasting) concoction. Three days of drinking this and presto, the mouth ulcers were gone. He also advised that I stay away from coffee, tea, anything preserved, spicy or sour, and "inflammatory" foods like tomatoes and red meat.

It's been more than 20 years since I consulted with this Chinese physician. I didn't understand then why the list of "banned" foods was so long and indiscriminate, but now, with a better understanding of different foods, I get their detrimental effects.

Anyway, back to my ulcers. By taking supplements such as fish oil and turmeric, my joint pain and mouth ulcers were minimized. It also helped that I quit my extremely stressful full-time job in advertising that caused countless sleepless nights. But I would still have the occasional mouth ulcer, every ten days or so.

When I started taking coconut oil about a year ago, I stopped having mouth ulcers. Not a single one. I didn't realize it until I noticed that I hadn't touched the tube of gel that I use for the ulcers in weeks. I figure that if it's managed to keep this pernicious and painful ailment at bay, it must be doing equally wonderful things for the rest of my body. Things that have been written about in countless articles and told to me by friends. Like easing constipation and promoting better skin and hair. Regulating digestion and metabolism. Maintaining cholesterol levels and helping with heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Its antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties are now being hailed by health experts.

What kind do I buy? I figure since I'm taking it as a supplement and not cooking with it very much, I should try to use a better variant, so I get organic virgin coconut oil. It's not cheap but it is the purest form of the oil. Apart from the two tablespoons every morning, I use it in salad dressings and sometimes for frying. 

I've just read that it makes an excellent carrier oil because it's easily absorbed through the skin's pores and doesn't alter the properties of other oils mixed with it. As one of the most stable oils, it doesn't go rancid nor does it let the other oils spoil inside of it. So I must try it the next time I mix up a massage oil.

Not too long ago, coconut oil was condemned due to its high saturated fat content, but now everyone is raving about its health benefits. Me, I'm just grateful I've discovered something natural not involving medicinal gels, antibiotics and dubious herbs that's given me respite from a very painful ailment. I do have the Chinese herbs on standby in case of a flare-up, but as they say, prevention is better than cure.

If you've got a great story about how coconut oil has helped you, or you are using it in an interesting way, do let me know!

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