There is so much conflicting information out there about the health benefits/risks of consuming coconut oil. I stir a little bit (about 1 tsp) into my coffee every morning. I have noticed a great improvement in the health of my skin (less dryness) and hair (re-growth… yeah!!!). But I have heard this is very bad for your heart and arteries. Can you shed some light onto this controversy?
The reason many doctors and the media vilify coconut oil is because it is 90% saturated fat. The myth of it being unhealthy goes back to 1950 with a researcher named Ansel Keyes. He observed that the epidemic of heart disease at the time was related to hydrogenated oils, oils that are artificially made to be solid at room temperature like margarine. So the edible oil industry tried to shift the blame to another fat, the saturated fats. So it is these “trans” fats that were creating the heart disease, not natural saturated fats. This same logic was why we were told to avoid eggs for decades as they had cholesterol and so would produce heart disease and this has recently been disproven and suddenly eggs are healthy again.
Coconut oil is solid but turns liquid at 76 degrees, and your body is 98 degrees, so it won’t solidify. But by being saturated it doesn’t oxidize easily when heated, that is why for salads and low heat I use olive oil, but coconut for higher heat. Some people can handle more fats than others however, so if you feel nausea or unwell with coconut oil, then either your gallbladder can’t handle it or you have a body type that needs low oil.
Take a look at the amazing benefits coconut oil can provide:
Coconut oil can be a great source of healthy energy, thanks to its medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When consumed, the MCFAs are immediately digested and converted by your liver into energy that you can immediately use.
Aside from giving you an energy boost, coconut oil simultaneously stimulates your metabolism to encourage shedding body fat, thus helping you maintain a healthy weight profile.
Coconut oil can be used for oil pulling, a hygienic practice that uses oil to rinse your mouth. Its antimicrobial properties help “pull” out and eliminate bacteria and viruses that live in your mouth, along with food debris stuck between your teeth.
•Supports proper thyroid function
Unlike soy oil and other vegetable oils, coconut oil does not interfere with thyroid function. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation that may lead to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
•Promotes heart health
Animal and human studies found that heart disease risk factors such as total, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels were greatly improved by taking coconut oil.
In particular, coconut oil’s saturated fats may actually increase “good” HDL cholesterol, while also helping convert “bad” LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form
•Promotes healthy brain function
Researchers found that ketones may work as an alternative energy source for malfunctioning brain cells, which has been found to reduce symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
•Gives your immune system a boost – The lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, and caprylic acid that coconut oil contains are known for their antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Thanks for your great question. I have been testing people for decades on what foods are best and worst for them, and coconut oil, along with olive always showed up the most for being beneficial. So enjoy without fear.