COCONUT OIL: HEALTHY OR HARMFUL?
Coconut oil and coconut butter seem to be the latest fad, but What’s the real story behind these creamy, yummy delights? They are mostly Saturated fat and have been maligned along With butter. But again, being indicted is not the same as being convicted. Far from it!
Countries such as those in the South Paciflc With the highest intake of coconut oil eat up to 40 percent of their calories from saturated fat (the coconut oil is almost 90 percent saturated fat, While butter is only 60 percent saturated fat). Yet surprisingly they have some of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world.17 In fact, there is a surprising amount of research‘8 showing that even though coconut oil has the highest amount of saturated fat found in any food, and it increases total cholesterol (actually it increases HDL, or good cholesterol, the most, so even though the total cholesterol goes up, the ratio is better), it is not corre« lated with increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Studies of Pacific Islanders19 who ate up to 63 percent of their calories from coconut fat found them to be lean and free of heart disease or stroke.20 Their total cholesterol was higher, but so was their good cholesterol, or HDL. Other studies have found that lipid profiles improve on high-fat diets containing coconut oil-good cholesterol is higher and triglycerides and the number of the small LDL cholesterol particles are lower.21 Coconut fat is also associated with lower insulin levels.
Just to clarify: There is coconut oil and there is coconut butter. Coconut butter is made from Whole coconut iiesh, with all its delicious fat and solids. It is essentially pureed or pulverized coconut meat and has a thick, creamy, smooth texture. It is about 60 percent oil. The f1ber content of coconut butter differentiates it from coconut oil: One tablespoon of coconut butter has 3 grams of fiber.
Coconut oil is extracted from the dried flesh of the coconut. Coconut oil is made up of 86 percent saturated fat, 6 percent monounsaturated fat, and 1.4 percent polyunsaturated fat. About half of the saturated fat in coconut oil is a rare, special type of saturated fat called lauric acid. It is known as a medium-chain triglyceride or MCT (and there are other MCTs in coconut oil as well). In the body, lauric acid converts to monolaurin, one of the compounds found in breast milk that boost a baby’s immune system (as do antibodies and colostrum). It is like superfuel for your cells, your metabolism, your bones, and your brain. It is how being studied for its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial health~ protecting properties. It also can boost sports performance. Not bad for sfat that has been shunned for years.