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Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Aug 05, 2019
Coconut Oil

 Coconut oil is extracted from the coconut meat inside the fruit. This oil can be used in its natural state or it may be refined. Despite the fact that coconut oil is high in fat, it is rich in healthy fatty acids that have a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil must be consumed in moderation in order to keep a diet low in calories and fat, however, this doesn't mean that it should be avoided altogether. It's necessary to consume healthy fats in our diet daily for optimal hormone health and for supporting brain function.

The Amount of Fat in the Diet

Coconut oil is essentially 100% pure fat that has 4.5 gm of total fat for every teaspoon serving. According to the American Heart Association, the consumption of coconut oil should not exceed 25% to 35% of the daily calorie intake. For somebody on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, this is about 55 grams to 77 grams of total fat.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides

Although coconut oil is rich in saturated fat in a single teaspoon serving, coconut oil is also high in lauric acid. Lauric acid is a kind of saturated fat more commonly known as a medium-chain triglyceride. New York University’s Langone Medical Center published a report claiming that medium-chain triglycerides are easily digested by the body and processed in the same way as carbohydrates. Coconut oil has up to 15% fat.

Kinds of Coconut Oil Available

Coconut oil can be either unrefined or virgin. Unrefined coconut oil is characterized as flat and bland, while virgin coconut oil has a nutty, light flavor and a scent that is a bit sugary. The AND, or Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests you use coconut oil instead of partially hydrogenated oils because virgin coconut oil naturally has no trans fats or processed oils. These trans fats are not present in refined coconut oils, but in oils which have been partially hydrogenated. Partially hydrogenated coconut oil is commonly used in commercially baked products. Trans fats are created during the process of hydrogenation and may unhealthily increase the level of blood cholesterol.

Using Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used just like other types of oil for baking and cooking. Due to its subtle coconut scent and taste, virgin coconut oil might pair better with tropical-style foods or dishes, where the flavor is not so off-putting. For example, coconut oil would be excellent in Caribbean marinated meat, which highlights coconut milk and citrus juice. The richness and nuttiness of coconut oil would be a good addition to taste and flavor. You can also opt for refined coconut oil for baked products because it has a more neutral taste.

Regardless of what form you choose, avoid any type of cooking oil or coconut oil with hydrogenated fat. Refined coconut oil works well for high heat cooking methods like stir-fry or deep-frying because it can withstand high temperatures of up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts smoking. Coconut oil is beneficial but must be used consciously and in moderation in order to experience the benefits.

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