Over twenty five thousand attended the Natural Products Expo East 2018 in Baltimore held from September 12th – 15th. The conference showcases the greatest and latest in the natural products industry. When posting my Top Ten Trends at Expo East on a previous blog I remembered reading an article prior to the event about a professor and others claiming coconuts were not healthy for us. Obviously, many companies and people are embracing the current coconut craze as one of the hottest global food and health trends so this seemed confusing and contradicting to the wealth of wisdom regarding coconuts. The conference had hundreds of exhibitors promoting products with coconut ingredients so it made sense to dig a little deeper and share some of their observations and opinions. BTW let me be clear up front, coconut is one of my favorite foods so you can be assured I sampled and spoke with many company representatives at the Expo East conference about the benefits of coconuts as a beauty, food and health product. One of my favorite interviews and products was with The Real Coconut and Charlie Gay.
At #expoeast the spotlight is on natural products that can help improve our long-term health, nutrition, and quality of life. Products with coconut ingredients were everywhere with marketers, suppliers, and vendors promoting the health and nutrition benefits of their products. It is up to each of us to make informed decisions and be vigilant about what we feed our families. When someone makes a claim about foods that may or may not be healthy, it is worth a common sense review to determine if it might apply to you or not.
As we tap into more common sense, education, and health information we are able to make better choices and decisions for our families. If education and health are high priorities it is essential to make smart decisions about whether to boycott or buy products with coconut ingredients. The goal of this post is to educate and inform readers about coconuts in order to make better food choices.
Coconuts – A Hazard or Healthy?
First, we will focus on the important reasons why many people around the world consume coconuts. The benefits of coconut ingredients include being easy to access, buy, eat, grow, regenerate, sustain and transport. They offer great food and nutrition value that can be minimally processed, nutrient-dense and an organic whole food. Families around the world are looking for healthy foods at a low cost. Thanks to the ease of growing coconut trees growers can easily plant and grow a coconut into a very productive coconut tree in as little as four years in the tropics. Independent information on the internet shows that coconuts have been a food staple in many countries around the world for many thousands of years. Coconuts offer a wide variety of nutrient-dense ingredients that provide the carbohydrates, fats, fiber, minerals, and protein humans need.
While coconut does contain mostly saturated fat, this is considered a good thing for many reasons. Saturated fat from animals has been blamed for many health and heart issues due to some research. However much of the research may be somewhat flawed based on the consumer domain/ethnicity, research parameters and scientists involved. Many cultures throughout time have been shown to stay very healthy on a diet high in saturated fat whether from animal or plant sources. Much of this depends on the climate, lifestyle, preparation, quality, and source of the fats. Preparation, processing and purity matter a lot with all fats and oils. In his book Fats That Heal & Fats That Kill fat expert, Udo Erasmus, debunks many of the erroneous myths about processed and refined oils that have been circulated in the last 100 years.
Soon after an article by Karin Michels a professor from Germany appeared saying coconut oil is not healthy the internet was buzzing like disturbed bees protecting the hive with articles by many respected nutrition experts saying her theory was full of holes. Other doctors commented that olive oil was a better choice but neglected to say Extra Virgin Raw Organic Olive Oil. One doctor recommended canola oil but did not mention that most canola oil is from a GMO seed and the way it is processed creates a processed oil that has been bleached and chemically treated so it is more like paint than a healthy plant food. The American Heart Association says coconut oil can increase bad LDL cholesterol (unhealthy one) which can increase cardiovascular disease. Due to corporate sponsors, they are known for giving data studies and misinformation with a hidden agenda to promote processed unhealthy canola, corn, and soy oils.
These comments from these individuals are no big surprise. The US does not grow commercial coconuts except in Hawaii and few “so-called experts” really understand nutrition and the long-term benefits associated with the use of coconut oil. Being a saturated plant fat is what makes it a good fat. It helps to better support a healthy lifestyle with plant-based nutrition. Also, many agencies, companies, and individuals are trying to protect their canola, corn, soy and vegetable oil products even though they come from GMO sources and are contaminated with glyphosate which they decline to mention. It seems obvious to me the timing is clearly tied to the glyphosate court case in California that Monsanto lost. Even olive oil sales can be affected by coconut oil and have been hit hard by a disease in the Mediterranean region. Always follow the money! This will help you make better decisions.
As you do your research and find that 99% of the information on the internet about coconuts promotes the benefits for beauty and health you may get a little suspect of the 1% that seem to bad mouth and criticize the value of coconuts. It also seems obvious that the conspiracy claims coconut craze is crazy is without valid verification. Remember…read the labels to choose your food and products wisely.
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