Everyone loves the idea of a food that is, at the same time, delicious, nutritious and healthy. At a point in time, coconut oil seemed to be that amazing food. Doctors, nutritionists, and diet specialists praised coconut oil for its amazing properties. However, further studies and medical articles have muddied up the picture by raising several concerns regarding the food’s dangers. As a result, many people are left wondering: “Is coconut oil healthy?” In order to help clarify the issue, the following article will go over the most important health-related characteristics of coconut oil.

coconut products on gray table

What is Coconut Oil?

Put simply, coconut oil is the essential substance that’s within the white and meaty section inside the giant nut. Also known as copra oil, coconut oil is perfectly edible and has many culinary applications. It’s worth mentioning that coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fats, antioxidants and various other nutrients.

There are two processes by which coconut oil can be extracted: Dry and wet. Dry processing refers to the action of extracting coconut oil through fire, sunlight, or kilns, resulting in a dried product. Conversely, wet processing is accomplished through the boiling of raw coconut, resulting in an emulsion of oil and water that is later broken up in order to recover the pure oil.

Coconut oil has gained recognition across the world as a high-quality product that’s a good alternative to other types of oil, butter, margarine and so on. Apart from its nutritional advantages, people love its fragrance, taste, texture and consistency. In addition to having nutritional benefits, coconut oil can be used to improve the health and looks of skin and hair.

The Popularity of Contain Coconut Oil

Often, people ask the question: “Is coconut oil healthy?”. Before getting too deep into that question, it’s worth pointing out that this substance is extracted from a perfectly natural food item. The coconut tree (cocos nucifera) produces this giant nut that has been traditionally used for millennia in applications ranging from food to cosmetics. Furthermore, the coconut is a well-established and regular part of the diets of various populations in the tropics and subtropics of the world.

Dangers of Coconut Oil

So, is coconut oil healthy? In order to answer this question, it will be helpful to first determine what (if any) are the dangers of coconut oil. Because it has been consumed for centuries by native populations in various parts of the world, it is known that coconut oil has an elevated nutritional value. However, the fact that there are over 100 calories per tablespoon of coconut oil can’t be overlooked. As if that wasn’t worrying enough, this oil made of 92 percent saturated fat.

Coconut oil is full of long-chain saturated fatty acids such as palmitic, myristic and lauric acids. As a matter of fact, these substances make up most of the saturated fat in coconut oil. Unfortunately, saturated fatty acids have been proven to raise LDL cholesterol considerably. This greatly increases the risk of suffering health problems that are linked to elevated cholesterol levels.

Unfortunately, elevated LDL cholesterol is one of the main factors that contribute to heart disease. Doctors and experts advise people that a desirable level of LDL cholesterol is around 100 mg/dL. At the same time, people who suffer health problems such as atherosclerosis are required to lower their cholesterol. They should maintain their LDL cholesterol levels at around 70 mg/dL. For that reason, being so high the kind of fats that elevate LDL cholesterol, coconut oil can be dangerous if consumed in great amounts.

Are There Benefits to Coconut Oil?

After reading about the dangers of this type of oil, people who ask the question “Is coconut oil healthy?” may be understandably disappointed. However, it’s important to note that there are also various benefits to coconut oil:

  • Medicinal properties: As previously mentioned, coconut oil contains a huge amount of saturated fats. However, having high levels of saturated fats is not entirely negative. To the benefit of coconut oil consumers, saturated fats contain medium chain triglycerides. These triglycerides go straight from the liver to the digestive tract in order to be turned into ketones. Apart from being a great source of quick energy, ketones help treat brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.
  • Hunger reduction: People who want to lose weight will be happy to find out the fatty acids in coconut oil can produce a sensation of satiation. This feeling of fullness will cause people to eat less, eventually losing weight.
  • Hair/skin protection and moisturizing: Apart from nutritional properties, coconut oil has moisturizing properties that can help restore and improve the health of both skin and hair.
  • A recent study shows that coconut oil could even reduce hair damage (protein loss) by 39%.

Conclusion

So, is coconut oil healthy? Without a doubt, the food item has the nutrients, antioxidants and other elements that promote good health. However, its high levels of saturated fats and calories make it a dangerous food to eat regularly and in large quantities. For that reason, the answer to the question “Is coconut oil healthy?” is yes, as long as its consumed in moderation.

Image: depositphotos.com.