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Let’s talk about: Coconut Oil.

I’ve had a few questions recently about the relative benefits of coconut oil.

Q: Is it really that good for you? Q: It’s a saturated fat right? Q: Doesn’t that contribute to heart disease?

A: We-ell… yes, yes, and yes, but not in this case.

Coconut oil is indeed rich in saturated fat, with a much higher percentage than the common culprits: meat, butter and other dairy products. However, the type of saturated fat is what sets this oil apart. Take a look at the breakdown:

Lauric acid (49%) | Myristic acid (18%) | Caprylic acid (8%) |Palmitic acid (8%) | Capric acid (7%) | Oleic acid (6%) | Stearic acid (2%) | Linoleic acid (2%)

These fatty acids, particularly with the high level of lauric acid, have a curiously advantageous effect on blood lipids and cholesterol. While we usually think of saturated fats as increasing ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and reducing ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol, the combination in coconut oil does quite the opposite.

This lovely oil is also rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds such as polyphenols. Its health effects are not limited to cardiovascular function alone; also exhibiting broad antiviral and antifungal properties (specifically against Candida albicans).

Like butter (and other saturated fats) coconut oil will solidify at room temperature, which makes it useful in baking. It also has a very high smoke point, which means it can be used in cooking without oxidising.

About Kathleen Murphy

Australian naturopath and freelance writer, based in Sydney. I love working with people from all walks of life, helping them institute changes that can become life-long health habits. I can be found at Uclinic | 421 Bourke Street, Surry Hills | Ph: 02 9332 0400 |

2 responses »

  1. I have been using unrefined organic coconut oil for years now. It is so good to hear that more people now realize the health benefits of coconut oil. Since using coconut oil, my good cholesterol levels (HDL’s) have trippled. I use it for all my cooking (frying, roasting, cakes, slices etc) & also make a type of chocolate, by mixing coconut oil, dessicated coconut, cocoa & a little icing sugar & freezing it. It tastes like chocolate, but is really good for you.

    My fybromyalgia pain has improved by 300 % since introducing coconut oil into my diet. I will continue to use it forever.

  2. Pingback: Chia and Coconut Porridge « Your health. Your life.

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