The Coconut Oil Case
The Coconut Oil Case
Every other month the debate comes back... is coconut good or bad?
We all heard about this Harvard professor recently stating that Coconut Oil was "one of the worst foods you can eat", even calling it "pure poison".Let's step back and try to to understand where this polemic is coming from.
Ye, it is true that coconut oil is high in saturated fat (82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated) and yes, it is true that a diet high in saturated fats contributes to a higher risk of heart diseases. High saturated fat is associated with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - what we call bad cholesterol - and increases the risk of coronary blockage and stroke.
However studies showed that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) or lauric acid in coconut oil are metabolized differently compared to other saturated fatty acids. Coconut oil contains 16% of lauric acid and this type of fatty acid tends to mimic healthy unsaturated fats by boosting good cholesterol.
So MCT content in coconut oil actually increases good cholesterol and therefore reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
Confused a little ? In a nutshell, saturated fat in coconut oil behaves differently from typical saturated fats and therefore prevents negative effects on health. Moreover saturated fat is beneficial for hormones production and regulation and for keeping cells healthy. So coconut should be good for us then?
Well, there is only one scientific human study that suggests coconut oil could improve the quality of life for advanced cancer patients when given as a supplement. The rest of the studies are observational studies, but the ones based on indigenous populations who consume significant amount of coconut oil have found no adverse effect with regards to cardiovascular disease risk.
The bottom line is, no food alone will make you healthy or unhealthy for that matter. So including coconut oil in moderation in you diet is, according to me, a good thing.
Actually my answer to coconut oil controversy is “I have 99 problems”, and coconut oil is the solution to 98 of them!
Here are a few ideas on how I use coconut oil:
To stir fried veggies or tofu (Coconut oil has a highest burning point than other vegetable oils);
To make chocolate (½ cup of coconut oil for ½ cup of raw cacao + sweetener of your choice);
As makeup remover;
As body cream, it can help get rid of cellulite;
As hair mask - the famous coconut oil bun (massaging your scalp with melted coconut oil then work it to the ends of your hair. Fasten your hair into a high bun and keep for 24 hours)
Virgin coconut oil contain up to seven times higher concentrations of polyphenols than refined coconut oil so make sure to get the right one ;)