COCONUTS: ARE THEY ALL THEY'RE CRACKED UP TO BE?
A new study showing that coconut oil prevents tooth decay has added to the recent enthusiasm for all things coconut – not that Miranda Kerr, who is a committed devotee, needs reminding.
The model last year piqued public interest in virgin coconut oil when she revealed that she will not go a day without it.
"I personally take four teaspoons per day, either on my salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea" she said.
But, as much as many have flocked to health-food shops with the hope of tapping into Kerr’s secret weapon, do new health claims about the once-maligned coconut oil and its trendy sibling, coconut water, stand up to scrutiny?
Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland say coconut oil treated with enzymes attacks Streptococcus bacteria – a major cause of tooth decay.
"Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives," Dr Damien Brady last week told the Society for General Microbiology conference at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England.
The study also found that enzyme-modified coconut oil was active against the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush and other health problems.
After decades of warnings about its alleged artery-clogging properties, recent studies suggest that coconut oil may in fact be heart friendly and could have many other health benefits.
"For more than 60 years, health officials and the media have warned that saturated fats are bad for your health and lead to a host of negative consequences, including high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease," says best-selling author and Huffington Post blogger, Dr Joseph Mercola.
"It may surprise you to learn that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil is actually good for you and provides a number of profound health benefits, including improving heart health, supporting your immune system, boosting your thyroid and improving your skin.
"Nearly 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is of a type rarely found in nature called lauric acid, a ‘miracle’ compound that your body converts into monolaurin, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties," says Dr Mercola