Question: I've heard that coconut oil is good for health, but I've also heard that it is detrimental. Can you clear up the confusion?
For years coconut oil got a bad rap because of its nature as a saturated fat. But the more researchers learn, the more they're reversing their original conclusion that all saturated fats are damaging to health. (The fats to completely avoid are transfatty acids and hydrogenated fats.) Saturated fats come in two forms—those that are comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and those that are made up of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Coconut oil is an MCT, and these forms of fat are not stored in our cells like other forms; rather, they are easily digested and sent to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy. (Who doesn't need more of that?) Additionally, coconut oil (used in moderation) does not clog the arteries nor does it raise LDL cholesterol levels. On the other hand, LCTs like those found in butter and other animal-source saturated fats are stored in the cells. Animal fats also contain cholesterol and can actually raise LDL cholesterol levels, so they should be consumed very sparingly.
Coconut oil is practically ideal for cooking (even at high temperatures), baking, or eating straight out of the jar. Unlike polyunsaturated fats that quickly turn rancid, coconut oil is highly stable. Even after a year of no refrigeration, it shows zero evidence of rancidity. This quality automatically moves coconut oil to preferred status because rancid or spoiled fats wreak havoc on our health, creating a free radical nightmare inside the body.
Finally, current studies show that coconut oil exerts unique and powerful benefits to the immune system. For all the reasons discussed above, we believe that not only is coconut oil good, it's fantastic! A great one to try is Swanson 100% Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
Need some ideas how to use coconut oil? Check out this post with 50 ways to use coconut oil.