What can’t coconut oil do? It is a great antiviral and anti-inflammatory; it is beneficial for the heart, skin, and healthy weight; and now a study has found that it may be able to treat stress and anxiety — with more success than drugs.
A study published in the Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine journal showed that pure virgin coconut oil had a much greater success rate in treating stress-related symptoms than a widely-prescribed anxiety medication called Diazepam when tested on groups of mice.
And while Diazepam can cause side effects such as memory problems, drowsiness, nausea and blurred vision, there are no risks associated with coconut oil use. Even better, coconut oil acts as a preventative to protect from neurological damage, among its other health benefits.
Researchers attributed virgin coconut oil’s (VCO) success to its high content of unique medium chain fatty acids, as well as its antioxidants.
They concluded: “The present study demonstrated the potential of VCO in preventing exercise- and chronic cold restraint stress-induced damage and restoring the antioxidant balance. This promising antistress activity may be attributed to the polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids present in VCO.”
The role of antioxidants is showing to be huge in treating anxiety, stress, and even depression. Recently many doctors began to link mood disorders with inflammation, and antioxidants are needed to fight it.
People who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) of too many processed foods don’t get enough antioxidants, but the good news is that adding a few teaspoons of high quality coconut oil each day can make a dramatic difference.
How Much Coconut Oil to Take
Dr. Kelly Brogan from New York City, and the author of the book “A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives” believes inflammation to be a huge cause of mood disorders, and recommends 1-2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil a day to reduce inflammation in your brain, which will aid in treating depression or anxiety.
How To Choose Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be virgin or refined. Refined coconut is produced from dried coconut meat that needs to be processed in order to make oil. The dried coconut can be processed with the help of mechanical presses, or chemicals.
For the best health benefits, you should use the most pure quality virgin coconut oil from trusted sources.
When virgin coconut oil is mass produced, it often still uses dried coconut. It is best to find a source that makes the oil from fresh coconut meat through a “wet-milling” process that first creates “coconut milk” and then separates oil from the water, by boiling, fermenting, refrigerating, using enzymes, and using a mechanical centrifuge.
Health Impact News has rated types of coconut oil on the market from the best to the worst:
Best: wet-mill fermentation, heated virgin coconut oil
Great: wet-mill, no-heat virgin coconut oil
Very good: fresh-pressed virgin coconut oil
Good: Refined physical coconut oil
Not good: refined solvent extract coconut oil due to its potential chemical residue
Bad: liquid coconut oil (missing lauric acid)
Avoid: hydro-generated coconut oil
According to the Health Impact News article, studies have shown that heating the coconut oil during the wet-mill process actually increases the amount of beneficial antioxidants.
The one coconut oil-making company that uses wet-mill fermentation and heat is Tropical Traditions (it should be noted that Health Impact News promotes this brand, although you can read the studies for yourself here).
Another company that uses high quality fresh coconut but uses the cold-press method is Nutiva, which carries several different organic and Fair Trade products and is a vocal (and monetary) supporter of mandatory GMO labeling.