Friday, February 23, 2018

Make coconut oil affordable to all

 I noted with interest the Prime Minister’s offer of 20 per cent discount on flour, rice and oil with the stated intention of “making it easier for people to afford healthier food for their families”. Healthier food? Polyunsaturated soybean oil? Wheat (flour) and white rice? 

Eating wheat increases the potential for a surprising number of health problems. Chief among them is the destruction of gut (bowel)  flora.  Removing wheat, in all its forms, from your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. We will talk about wheat another time but, now, I want to talk about oil, in particular, polyunsaturated oils like soybean, corn and canola. 

Polyunsaturated fats/oils are linked by two or more pairs of double bonds and, therefore, lack four or more hydrogen atoms. This structure is unstable and damages the cells in our bodies. It contributes to oxidation and free radical damage in the body. Free radical damage to the skin causes wrinkles and premature aging. Free radical damage to the tissues and organs sets the stage for tumours. Free radical damage in the blood vessels initiates the buildup of plaque.

Cooking with these oils turns them rancid, making them even more dangerous when consumed. Excess consumption of polyunsaturated oils has been shown to contribute to a large number of diseases including cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth and weight gain. 

So which oil should we use for cooking? There’s only one really healthy choice—coconut oil. It is high in saturated fats, which are very stable. This is a benefit, not a problem. Many know coconut oil is the best but it is too expensive. So if the Government really wants to make is easier for people to afford healthier food, they should do whatever is necessary to make coconut oil as cheap as possible. Removing the 40 per cent duty would be a good start. The well-to-do can afford coconut oil, but by keeping the exorbitant duty,  the Government is denying the poor man access to one of the healthiest products he can have in his kitchen.

Noel Kalicharan

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