Coconut Oil: health, diet and beauty

Coconut oil has become very popular in the last few years. Some cultures (Sri Lankans, Thailand) have this oil as part of their daily cooking. It came to the eastern countries later on.
Nowadays, you can see articles everywhere about its potential (yes, “potential”) health benefits, uses in the kitchen and as a beauty product. I am asked over and over again how to incorporate coconut oil in diet that’s why I wanted to share and differentiate myth from truth about this special vegetal oil.
As you are likely aware, trans fats and saturated are not good for our health. It has been clearly demonstrated that they increase levels of the so called “bad cholesterol” or LDL. Tropical oils — coconut, palm kernel and palm oils — contain a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat raises your LDL cholesterol. However, there is literature (1,2) that shows that also increase levels of the “good cholesterol”.
In a healthy diet, 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories can come from fat — but saturated fat should account for less than 10 percent of your total daily calories.

So for now I would stay with Dr Walter Willet (Harvard School of Public Health, Dept. Of Nutrition) that says:”I’d use coconut oil sparingly. Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels. We don’t really know how coconut oil affects heart disease. And I don’t think coconut oil is as healthful as vegetable oils like olive oil and soybean oil, which are mainly unsaturated fat and therefore both lower LDL and increase HDL. Coconut oil’s special HDL-boosting effect may make it “less bad” than the high saturated fat content would indicate”

As many things in life, if not all, when it comes to baking and ingesting coconut oil: Use in moderation is my approach.

As mentioned above, there are many other uses, and for those give it a try approach is a must!

coconut-oil

(1) Virgin coconut oil and its potential cardioprotective effects://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25387216#

(2) Coconut fats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17180807#
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