Coconut Oil: good or bad?

Coconut Oil: good or bad?

Coconut oil seems to be very catching these days. There are many controversial opinions about it. Some researchers say that is good for the health while others say that it is pure poison. I am going to give you few facts about this oil and leave you to decide after reading this post.

The bad part about coconut oil 

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature because it is high is saturated fats. It is 90% saturated fats, which is higher than that present in butter (64%) and  lard (40%). As we know, too much saturated fat is not healthy to the body, especially the heart. It increases the bad LDL cholesterol levels, raising the the risk of heart  and cardiovascular disease.

The good part of coconut oil 

What is interesting about coconut oil is that it also increases the good HDL cholesterol levels. This is because coconut oil is rich in Lauric acid, which is probably responsible for the unusual rise in HDL.

And more than just fats, plant-based oils contain many antioxidants, and other substances that can improve the overall health.

Coconut also adds a wonderful flavor and there is no problem using it sparingly and occasionally. Cooks are experimenting its use instead of butter or vegetable shortening to make pies and baked goods that require a solid source of fats.

My Advise 

Until we are sure about the health effects of coconut oil, I would recommend using it sparingly and occasionally on certain foods. We still have to wait for more long-term studies to examine its effects on the cholesterol level.

We still 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, but it’s still probably not the best choice among the many available oils to reduce the risk of heart disease.

So what is the best choice?

For heart health, the best types of oils are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils primarily extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Many studies have proven its benefits for the heart. However, to maximize its nutritional value and benefits, it is best used for salad dressings and avoid cooking with it at high temperatures (above 375°C). For cooking, use more refined oils for cooking like sunflower, canola oils which are acceptable to use if you need to cook at higher temperatures.