When considering what to feed your newborn infant, health practitioners around the globe agree that “Breast is Best.” There is really no replacement for the health-promoting milk that a human mother produces. This substance is created by the body especially for baby.
It contains all of the necessary elements to kickstart the immune system, and supplies all the essential nutrients necessary for early development. In fact, breast milk is so high in antibodies, some refer to it as “baby’s first immunization.” Every teaspoon of breast milk contains 3,000,000 germ fighting cells.
According to the Institute of Nutrition, “In human milk, there is a complex system of antimicrobial factors… most of the factors are produced throughout lactation… Antibodies are present in human milk throughout lactation…”
Medical professionals agree – there is nothing quite as powerful as breast milk – especially while a baby’s immune system is still developing. Children who are breastfed develop fewer infections than those who are fed formula.
For some time, researchers felt that this was because milk fed directly from the breast contained less bacteria than that fed from a bottle. However, babies who are fed sterilized formula still suffer from more infections ( gut, ear, urinary, respiratory etc..) than those who are breastfed.
Although it is not the norm in most industrialized countries, the World Health Organization and UNICEF advise that mothers breastfeed until two years of age, and even beyond. This is reasonable considering that a child’s immune system does not reach full strength until the age of five.
The shining star of breast milk
Of the over 200 nutritional elements in breast milk, one stands out as a real shining star – especially when it comes to immunity: lauric acid. Lauric acid contains powerful antibacterial and parasiticidal properties that supercharge the immune system.
Not just for babies
Lauric acid is not just great for nursing babies but also for us grown-ups. But…the only problem is that this acid is hard to come by. Outside of mother’s milk there are only three dietary sources of lauric acid: small amounts in butterfat and larger amounts in palm kernel and coconut oil. Coconut oil has the highest percentage of the three, containing 50% lauric acid – the most lauric acid of any substance on earth.
“Coconut oil contains large amounts of lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fatty acid that protects the immune system of the fetus and newborn. Pregnant and nursing mothers should eat coconut oil to increase the quality of the womb environment and breast milk” – Dr. Claudia Pillo
Research shows that if pregnant women do not consume sufficient amounts of lauric acid, then their breast milk will only contain around 3% of this vital substance. However, when coconut oil is added to the diet, the amounts of lauric acid in the milk rise up to 3 times. What better protection for baby is there? Not to mention the fact that mama will benefit greatly from this consumption as well!!
What makes lauric acid so powerful?
In the body, lauric acid is converted to monolaurin, which is a potent antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal substance. Because monolaurin is a monoglyceride, it can destroy lipid-coated viruses including measles, influenza, HIV, herpes and a number of pathogenic bacteria.
Wait… coconut oil gets even better
Coconut oil also contains another fatty acid: capric acid. Capric acid is present in very small amounts in goat’s milk and cow’s milk, but is abundant in tropical oils including coconut oil and palm kernel oil.
It is a medium-chain fatty acid that has potent antimicrobial and antiviral properties. In the body, capric acid is converted to monocaprin, a form that can readily fight viruses, bacteria, and the yeast Candida albicans.
The third fatty acid that coconut oil contains is caprylic acid – also found in breast milk. Also known as octanoic acid, this saturated fatty acid has a number of health promoting properties. The Health and Science Institute tells us that caprylic acid has the innate ability to treat yeast-like fungus in the intestines.
This makes it great ammunition against Candida (more to come on that). The Physicians’ Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements tells us that caprylic acid may also help those who suffer from Crohn’s disease, and has a beneficial impact on high blood pressure.
A Japanese study found that caprylic acid suppresses the secretion of IL-8, the gene present in the intestines of those suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Not only can coconut oil help keep infections at bay, it also helps to rev up your internal fat busters to help you maintain a healthy weight. Researchers have discovered that in cultures where unrefined coconut oil is a part of the everyday diet, there is less obesity and less lifestyle-related disease.
The shorter-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil burn quickly in the body. They are like small pieces of dry kindling added to a fire as opposed to a big damp log. The immediate transport of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) to the liver means the fat does not have to be transported through the whole body first and does not end up as fat in the blood, but instead remains accessible fat that can be used to power the body.
MCTs also increase the rate at which the body burns fuel for energy. When you look at the lean and trim bodies of people living in the tropics—who make coconut a staple in their diet—this makes a lot of sense.
One of the most common questions that we are asked regarding coconut oil is, “How much should I consume daily?’ While there is no set daily value for coconut oil, Dr. Mary Enig (a coconut oil expert) suggests that growing children would best benefit from 10 to 20 grams per day, or about one to two tablespoons. Adults who consume three to four tablespoons of coconut oil a day will not only beef up their immune fighting powers, but also boost fat burning and experience a noticeable difference in hair, skin, and nail health.
Eat more of the best coconut oil
One great way to get more coconut oil in your diet dangerous and highly refined vegetable cooking oils. While you may not be a huge fan of coconut oil spoons – that is, eating the stuff right from the jar – you can easily replace the dangerous and highly refined vegetable cooking oils in your home with 100% organic, extra-virgin coconut oil.
Coconut oil can do all the things your old oils could do – and more. Use coconut oil for frying, baking, sauteing etc…. you will be amazed at the wonderful, lightly tropical aroma that fills your home when you cook with coconut oil. It will not break down during cooking, and retains all of its amazing therapeutic powers.
So, while we can’t nurse forever… we can reap the benefits of one of nature’s finest gifts.
-The Alternative Daily