Is coconut oil healthy? Recently the American Heart Association told us to avoid coconut oil because it contains saturated fat. Saturated fat increases “bad” cholesterol levels. However, I’m still buying and consuming coconut oil.
Is Coconut Oil Healthy? Why I (Still) Buy Coconut Oil
Yes. Coconut is healthy. Don’t let an over-simplified report scare you. The American Heart Association (AHA) didn’t really answer the question of “is coconut oil healthy”. Instead, they focused on the idea that LDL or “bad” cholesterol is raised by saturated fat.
Now, I’m not a doctor and I don’t claim to be a health expert or authority for anyone other than me and my family, but the fact that coconut oil can raise LDL cholesterol levels doesn’t scare me. Coconut oil can raise HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, too.
Since I’m not a doctor, I’ll refer you to this article about the AHA/coconut oil findings from Dr.Axe. It explains the importance of balance between LDL and HDL levels and the link between inflammation and heart disease.
Look, when my family began our real food journey one of the first nutritious foods that we incorporated into our diet was coconut oil. I had been diagnosed with hypertension and a host of other health issues before we began eating a real food diet. In just a few months, I was off all medications and had lost 40 pounds. Coconut oil was an important part of my healthy diet overhaul.
As many Americans do, I once mistakenly thought that saturated fat was unhealthy. Of course, now we know that saturated fat is not the bad guy it was made out to be. In fact, saturated fat is an important part of the human diet. (source) So, the AHA hasn’t convinced me to lower the amount of saturated fat I eat nor has its report answered the question is coconut oil healthy.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
The benefits of coconut oil are numerous. As I’ve already mentioned, coconut oil is a good source of saturated fat. In fact, the saturated fats found in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids. They are great for quick energy and for supporting brain function. For those following a vegetarian diet, coconut oil is essential for ensuring that enough saturated fat is consumed to maintain wellness.
Coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid. Other than human breastmilk, there is no natural food that contains as much lauric acid as coconut oil. Lauric acid is important because of its ability to raise good cholesterol levels and to fight germs. (source)
There is some evidence that coconut oil may help to support brain function. Studies are being done to find links between coconut oil and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.(source)
According to the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig, coconut oil is an important part of weight loss as it helps to reduce cravings and increase metabolism.
How I Use Coconut Oil
Here are some ways that I use coconut oil both in the kitchen and around the house.
1. I use coconut oil to cook with. It’s great for cooking eggs, putting on popcorn or using in baked goods.
2. I eat coconut oil by the teaspoon. When I need an extra boost of energy, I add a teaspoon of coconut oil to my coffee or simply eat it off of the spoon.
3. I make yummy maple chocolate fudge with coconut oil. This treat is great when a sugar craving hits!
4. I use coconut oil as a massage oil. I add a few drops of my favorite essential oils. Coconut oil makes a great massage oil.
5. I shave with coconut oil. I add coconut oil to my bath water or apply it to the areas I want to shave before getting the shower. The razor burn that was once a terrible problem for me no longer exists. I haven’t had razor burn in years.
6. I use coconut oil for oil pulling.
7. I use coconut oil in my homemade toothpaste.
8. I use coconut oil to clear up fungal rashes.
9. I mix coconut oil with raw honey to soothe sore throats and coughing.
10. I eat an extra tablespoon of coconut oil to help increase alertness and focus on days when I know work or life will be taxing.
11. I use coconut oil to condition my dog’s fur after a bath.
12. I make a lovely lotion by whipping coconut oil and adding my favorite essential oils for a delightful scent.