Is coconut oil healthy or not?
More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats. The 2017 recommendations for saturated fats from the American Heart Association1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510 created some confusion as to whether it’s safe for people to consume coconut oil on a regular basis, and subsequent media reports have cast doubt on the health benefits of coconut oil.
Firstly, the AHA recommendations suggest 30 grams of saturated fats a day for men and 20 grams a day for women, which is about the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for men or 1.33 tablespoons for women, so total dietary intake of saturated fat within these recommendations is regarded by the AHA as safe.
Also, the saturated fat in coconut oil is comprised of approximately 60% medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs),2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1007/s11746-009-1435-ywhich are more easily metabolized in comparison to long chain fatty acids found in animal fat. More than half the MCFA in coconut oil comes from medium chain triglycerides (MCTs),3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: PMC4882694 which include the fatty acids caprylic acid, caproic acid and capric acid. Approximately 45%-53% of the MCFA consists of lauric acid, which behaves more like a long chain triglyceride than a MCT due to its slower absorption and digestion.
Research also suggests that coconut oil does not have the same pro-inflammatory properties that other saturated fats have, and that virgin coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
What are the types of coconut oil?
What is virgin coconut oil?
Virgin coconut oil is extracted from dried or fresh coconut meat by pressing. There are two pressing methods that are used, either cold pressed or expeller pressed. Some heat is used with expeller pressing whereas cold pressing is done without using heat, and is considered to be better for retaining the nutrients.
There are also two forms of coconut flesh that can be used for pressing, dried coconut or the fresh coconut flesh.
What is refined coconut oil?
Coconut oil that has been labeled as deodorized has been refined by heating and bleaching. This leaves the oil without the coconut flavor that virgin coconut oil has.
What is fractionated coconut oil?
Fractionation is when pressed coconut oil is heated just enough that the oil melts. When the oil is left to cool, the LCFAs as well as the lauric acid are removed, leaving only the capric and caprylic acid MCFAs. Fractionated coconut oil is also tasteless, and can remain liquid when refrigerated.
What is hydrogenated coconut oil
The unsaturated fat in coconut oil has been hydrogenated for extending shelf life and to help in maintaining its solidity.
What is the best coconut oil?
The best coconut oil to use is organic extra virgin coconut oil. This is cold pressed coconut oil, which has been used in all of the studies that this article refers to.
The chemicals and high temperatures used in manufacturing refined coconut oil can destroy the beneficial antioxidants found in coconut oil, and are not recommended. Fractionated coconut oil does not contain lauric acid, and has not been used in any of the studies mentioned in the article.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 19115123 Hydrogenated coconut oil contains trans fat and should be avoided.
Nutrients in Coconut
The saturated fat in coconut is nearly all the immune boosting medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) such as lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. The flesh of a coconut consists of around 50% water and about 35% coconut oil, 10% carbohydrates, and 3.5% protein. Coconuts are a great source of molybdenum, manganese and copper. Coconut is also a good source of zinc and selenium.
Nutritional value of coconut oil per 100g:
- How many calories in coconut oil – 862
- How much protein is in coconut oil – 0g
- How many carbs in coconut oil – 0g
- What is the fat content of coconut oil – 100g
Coconut Oil Benefits
1 – Is coconut oil good for the skin?
Coconut oil for acne
Research shows that the antimicrobial properties of extra virgin coconut oil can have a powerful effect against acne. The lauric acid found in coconut oil has stronger antimicrobial activity, but that the capric acid also found in coconut oil is also effective.6✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Coconut oil for eczema
Coconut oil has been shown to be superior to a mineral oil moisturizer for treating eczema.7✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Coconut oil moisturizer
Coconut oil is a surprisingly non-oily moisturizer and has been shown to be as effective as a mineral oil moisturizer for treating a common skin condition characterized by dry and itchy skin.8✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
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