Ten years ago, coconut oil was deemed the oil to avoid, as it contains saturated fat. But celebrities and health enthusiasts now state that it is THE new miracle food. Not only can it improve the unpleasant symptoms of brain degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but it can soothe diaper rash, heal marks and scars, prevent dandruff, and leave the locks looking shiny and frizz-free. Is there nothing it cannot do?
Is Coconut Oil A Health or Hype?
Vegan individuals must eat a balanced diet in order to obtain all of the essential amino acids for body health, and coconut oil is a plant source that is safe for vegans. This fat source makes it ideal for frying, baking, and eating (as a rapid energy source). When coconut oil is kept in the fridge it will solidify, but kept at room temperature the oil will retain a hard consistency. When solidified oil is placed on the body it will immediately melt.
The chemical structure of the oil is what makes it different from other saturated fats, as it contains a medium chain fatty acid structure. Although one tablespoon of coconut can easily supply the body with twelve grams of saturated fat, its fatty acid structure is easy for the body to break down, so it supplies energy rather than cause weight gain.
Not all Saturated Fats are Created Equal
Many years ago, saturated fats were avoided due to the reported benefits that saturated fats could have on the body, e.g. raising low-density lipoproteins (unhealthy cholesterol), increasing the risk of developing heart disease, and clogging the arteries. Trans fats are those found in biscuits and pastries. The fat adds taste and texture to an otherwise bland food. Many of us avoid saturated fat, but researchers have discovered that not all saturated fats are created equal. The lauric acid in the oil actually encourages high-density lipoproteins (healthy cholesterol) and reduces the unhealthy cholesterol type. Virgin coconut oil, although a saturated fat, does not contain harmful hydrogenated fats.
Unfortunately, there are not enough scientific studies to back up the health claims of coconut oil, there is no 100 percent evidence that it can help to improve skin, assist in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and increase the metabolism.
Is Coconut Oil Worth the Expense?
Virgin coconut oil is the type of oil that health enthusiasts encourage you to take, and even though coconut oil has been hailed as a miracle oil by some people, experts have not even labelled coconut oil nutritious. Any type of saturated fat consumed, in moderation experts say, will do no harm. It could be used in place of butter in baking or drizzled over salad.
Coconut oil is a main ingredient in conditioners and skincare due to its skin softening properties, so there is no harm in applying natural oil to the body. Whatever the hype about coconut oil, it contains a different fatty acid structure which can improve healthy cholesterol , although the high fat content could sway other people to avoid using it for cooking or baking.