Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

How Do I Use Coconut Oil? Should I?

We have heard many people extolling the virtues of coconut oil. It made me curious to ask as many people as I could why they used coconut oil and how. I was curious to hear their answers.Some were quite interesting…

Coconut oil is a saturated fat which should be limited to 7-10% of the calories you eat.  Pure virgin coconut oil, preferably with no hydrogenation, contains 92% saturated fat but not cholesterol. All vegetable oils all are cholesterol free compared to oils derived from animal sources. At this time the claims that it can benefit your health seem to be more from personal testimony than actual research as I learned from talking to many people. They heard from this person or read somewhere about its benefits. However, there have been no proven benefits to support the claims that coconut oil can prevent disease or cure what ills you at this time but research is in progress. We may find that the mix of short and medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil will prove to have a beneficial health effect. Coconut oil does contain antioxidants.

The greatest number of people replied that they use coconut oil in cooking in place of another oil they may already be using. For instance, if you use vegetable oil for stir fry, substitute an equal amount of coconut oil. Coconut oil has a high smoke point which means it requires higher heat to decompose the oil creating toxic substance and begin to smoke. It is healthier to replace other saturated fats such as butter and shortening with coconut oil but beware that virgin coconut oil will add a tropical flavor to what you cook.

Be aware that coconut oil is supplied from coconut which is a tree nut and may prove harmful for those with tree nut allergies so let everyone know if you use coconut oil.

Other uses for coconut oil:

  • Processed foods
  • Skin care – found in moisturizers or you can do it yourself using the oil to moisturize your skin or add baking soda to exfoliate
  • Cosmetics
  • Saturated fat source for vegans
  • Hair care – use for conditioning after washing, massaging scalp with the oil will help reduce dandruff; use on your pet’s fur to add moisture after a bath
  • Coffee creamer – some replace coffee creamer with spoonful of coconut oil to get a creamy texture
  • Non-stick oil for cooking eggs
  • Baking
  • Make your own lip balm with coconut oil and beeswax
  • Unstick a zipper or de-squeak a door
  • Mix into a smoothie

When eating coconut oil, beware that it is better than consuming sources of Trans or animal fat but you should not overindulge fats in general. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that total fat not exceed 20-35% of our day’s total calories. Because coconut oil is saturated, you may find that using unsaturated fats such as vegetable, canola and olive oil may fit better into your health plan.

2 Responses to How Do I Use Coconut Oil? Should I?

  1. For my own research related to Alzheimer’s, I bought cold-pressed unrefined virgin coconut oil in 1000 mg softgel (pill) form. At first I thought I was thinking more clear but I think that was a placebo effect. I don’t know that I noticed any difference with anything.

    • The current research supports your personal experience Mike. Coconut oil has many good properties and many health claims as yet unproven. My fear is that people will not seek medical interventions that could help in hopes of coconut oil ‘cures’. Thanks for sharing!

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