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Health And Economic Benefits Of Coconut Oil Production Development In Thailand

Coconut oil is one of the world’s oldest oils, if not the oldest. People from countries where the coconut palms are grown have made use of it to cure all kinds of ailments for thousands of years. Its amazing properties include having: (i) saturated fatty acids (SFAs), whose single bonds prevent oxidation and hydrogenation, their end products - free radicals and trans fats - of which are detrimental to health (ii) medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are directly converted into energy in the liver; they also increase the metabolic rate resulting in a better conversion of food into energy and thermogenesis that stimulates the breakdown of stored fats into energy, all of which culminate in weight loss; (iii) antimicrobial property of lauric acid (C-12, 48-52%) and other MCFAs that kill pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and parasites; and (iv) antioxidants in the form of vitamin E, phenolic compounds and phytosterols that prevent oxidation from occurring; thus no dangerous free radicals are formed. In addition to its numerous beneficial health effects, coconut oil has proven to be effective against heart disease, cancer and diabetes which are considered as emerging new diseases simply because of the adoption of modern lifestyle of the people, e.g., consuming processed foods, changing from saturated to unsaturated oils, having no exercise, staying away from sunlight, having not enough rest and too much stress, etc. Several new viral diseases occur as a result of changing climate, convenient and rapid transportation, and the raising of domesticated livestock which culminate in new strains of the viruses causing HIV/AIDS, SARS, and 2009 pandemic influenza that cannot be treated by the use of chemical drugs and antibiotics because they possess lipid coat that does not allow drugs to penetrate the viral particles, but surrender to the coconut oil, which, being lipid itself, could dissolve and break down their lipid coat, thereby penetrating them. 

The author founded CDCOT in August 2007 aiming at providing proper knowledge of virgin coconut oil (VCO) and encouraging people to use it to promote health and beauty. Its activities include the publication of technical bulletins and a quarterly newsletter, giving lectures to public and academic gatherings and sharing information through television and radio broadcasting, news releases, technical seminars, etc.  Seventeen technical bulletins (300,000 copies) have already been published. CDCOT members have reached 700 in less than three years and coconut oil is now “talk-of-the town” of people of all walks of live. The number of manufacturers of VCO has increased from three at the beginning to more than 100 at present, and still increases at a rapid rate as the demand of VCO has never been met. Several innovative techniques of VCO extraction have been developed. VCO worth of over 65 million Bath (US$ 2.2 million) has been exported in 2008. Although this is still a small amount as compared to other export commodities from Thailand, a ten-fold increase is expected in 2009, and much more in 2010.

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