What You Must Know About Coconut Oil

By , Category : Food and Nutrition

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Is coconut oil healthy?There has been a lot of ink, both virtual and physical, spilled over the health benefits of coconut oil.

It has been stated that some of the benefits of coconut oil include improved digestion, keeping your hair and skin healthy, as well as a number of other advantages. However, before you replace all your cooking oils with coconut oil, there are a few things you might want to consider.

One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 12 grams of saturated fats—that’s nearly 120 calories! However, it is recommended that you consume a small amount of saturated fats per day and the saturated fats found in coconut oil are not the same as the ones you would find in animal-based saturated fats found in butter and margarine.

The fats found in coconut oil are called “medium-chain triglycerides,” one of which is lauric acid. One of the benefits of coconut oil is that the saturated fats found in coconut oil are delivered directly to the liver where they are broken down into energy instead of being delivered to the small intestine where they are absorbed by fatty tissues like other saturated fats.

PLUS: Crazy Over Coconut Oil: Is the Hype True?

If you have diabetes, one of the benefits of coconut oil is the role it plays in digestion. The healthy fats found in coconut oil have been shown to slow the digestion process, allowing for slower absorption of glucose, keeping your blood sugar at a steady level.

Because it is high in medium-chain triglycerides, one of the benefits of coconut oil used to prepare food is it can satiate you more, leading to feelings of fullness. But it should be noted that while coconut oil does not raise cholesterol levels (both good and bad) to the same extent as animal-based saturated fats, it still raises cholesterol levels more than hydrogenated vegetable cooking oils do. It is recommended that you cook with coconut oil in moderation to enjoy its benefits.

Another one of the benefits of coconut oil is healthy saturated fats have been shown to increase immunity as well as having antiviral and antimicrobial qualities.

Since it is high in lauric acid, another one of the benefits of coconut oil is it may assist in the prevention of tooth decay and plaque build-up. Coconut oil has also been shown to improve calcium and magnesium absorption, leading to healthy bones and teeth.

Even if you choose not to cook with it, a couple of the benefits of coconut oil include being good for your skin and hair. Coconut oil is good for not only fine lines and wrinkles but it can also be used as a moisturizer. Not only does the vitamin E and vitamin K found in coconut oil nourish hair and boost its health and shine, its antibacterial qualities protect against scalp infections.

While the jury may still be out on the overall benefits of coconut oil, it is still better for you than the saturated fats found in dairy products such as butter and margarine. However, you should still stick to vegetable-based non-hydrogenated cooking oils and use coconut oil in moderation.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Shainhouse, L., “Crazy Over Coconut Oil: Is the Hype Actually Worth It,” Foods4BetterHealth web site, July 31, 2013; http://www.foods4betterhealth.com/crazy-over-coconut-oil-is-the-hype-actually-worth-it-3562,  last accessed August 29, 2013.

Lawrence, L., “10 Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil,” One Green Planet web site, August 21, 2013; https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/, last accessed August 29, 2013.




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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »