Coconut oil has been demonized by mainstream health professionals for a very long time.
It has had a bad rap because it is very high in saturated fat. This fat was viewed as bad for your health due to studies made by a few biased but highly influential scientists. Also, these initial studies used highly refined and hydrogenated coconut oils that contained trans fats.
New studies are showing that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease. In fact, the body needs saturated fat to build vital components that ensure good health.
Unrefined coconut oil actually improves blood lipid profiles.
In a number of studies, virgin coconut oil significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), oxidized LDL, triglycerides and increased HDL (the good) cholesterol.
It also had favourable effects on blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.
If coconut oil was bad for you, then we should see some very sick people in populations that eat a lot of it. But that is not the case. Populations who eat a large percentage of calories from coconuts are much healthier than Western nations.
The Tokelauans ate more than 50% of calories as coconut and were the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world. The Kitavans ate up to 17% of calories as saturated fat, mostly from coconut.
Both of these populations had no traces of cardiovascular disease.
As for cooking, coconut oil is highly resistant to oxidation at high heats. For this reason, it is the perfect oil for high-heat cooking methods like frying .
How it works in your body:
Coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain fatty acids.These go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are turned into a quick source of energy.
The most abundant fatty acid in coconut oil is known as lauric acid. This fatty acid is then broken down into a compound called monolaurin in the body.
Lauric acid and monolaurin kill microbes like bacteria, fungi and viruses
As mentioned before, coconut oil increases HDL and lowers the LDL:HDL ratio.
Coconut oil gives proper nourishment to the thyroid gland.
There is considerable evidence that coconut oil can help you lose weight.
In a study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, coconut oil reduced waist circumference compared to soybean oil.
Medium chain fatty acids have also been consistently shown to promote weight loss in both animal and human studies:
To top it all off, coconut oil applied topically moisturizes your skin. You'll notice a difference in just a few days!
This winter has been a difficult one for us Inner Athletes!
We have dealt with ongoing (seemingly never ending) illnesses and injuries - all during tons of snow and very little sun.
The dedication I have seen from you has been impressive.
Those of you who made it through with near perfect attendance and those of you who have been thoughtful enough to send me an email: "I haven't given up - I have just been sick!!!" - all impressive!
We even had some crazy Inner Athletes show up in a wicked snow storm and spent an extra 20 minutes pushing cars out of the parking lot!! Good times.
If you have missed some classes, don't let that stop you from coming back. Don't let your thoughts take you down the path of: "Well, I've missed this many so what's the point of going back?" You will get back to where you left off before you know it.
Keep going, keep going, keep going.....no matter what!!!
I am fortunate enough to not be spending a great deal of time sitting at a desk.. Multiple back and posture issues stem from excessive sitting, even with good posture in the chair. When seated, your low back is in constant, low-grade flexion. Continuous or repeated flexion in the lower back will eventually lead to the outer collagen rings of the lumbar discs wearing away. This will then lead to painful conditions such as bulging or herniated discs.
Another issue with continuous sitting is the shortening of your psoas (hip flexor muscle) and the weakening of your gluteals (bum). Your pelvis becomes misaligned and your low back will then be in permanent flexion, even when standing. All of this makes standing upright very difficult and leads to our shoulder rounding forward - your upper back muscles then become weak and overstretched and your chest muscles become very tight. When the shoulders are rounded forward our necks are forced to extend more than usual to look straight ahead - compressing cervical spinal discs.
You can see how one thing will lead to another and it all ends up with tension, pain and immobility.
It is so important for those of you who do a great deal of sitting during the day (at a desk and/or travelling by planes, trains or automobiles) to TAKE A BREAK EVERY 20 - 30 MINUTES. Stand up and, if you can, walk around. The core musculature that supports the lower back shuts down after approximately 20 minutes. Moving around will help reactivate it.
It sounds so simple, but it is very important. Make sure you take the time to do it!!!!
Here are the other important moves for you:
1.. The lunge stretch. Yes, it has the evil word "lunge" in it, but it helps to stretch out your shortened hip flexors and then allow for greater flexibility in the hip joint.
2. Shoulder shrugs. Stand up and try to relax your shoulders. Then squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling your shoulders back as much as possible followed by shrugging your shoulders halfway up towards your ears. Hold it here for a couple of seconds and then - keeping the shoulder blades together- lower your shoulders down. Then release the squeeze.
3. Stand in front of a door way and bring your arms up as if someone yelled: 'Put your hands up, this is a robbery!!" Then place your hands on either side of the door way and slowly lean forward until you feel a nice stretch in the chest muscle and shoulder.
4. See if you can lift your computer monitor up to eye level so you aren't looking down all the time.
The stretches can be done 2-3 times a day and will greatly improve your posture and your comfort.