Due to its many benefits, coconut oil has been a staple in various products we use daily, including foods, beverages, and cosmetics. However, many people are avoiding to consume it because coconut oil actually has pretty high saturated fat content– something that people believe could lead to many health issues. Turns out, this statement isn’t entirely true. To find out what’s right and not, let’s get to know more about coconut oil.
As its name suggests, coconut oil comes from coconut meat. Unlike animal-based oil that contains high cholesterol, coconut oil is plant-based and is free of cholesterol. It does contain extremely high saturated fat, but of the good kind that’s actually beneficial for our health. 70% of the saturated fat is medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) which, unlike long chain fatty acid (LFCA), is easier for the body to digest and turn into energy. So, MCFA won’t increase bad cholesterol and won’t be stored as fat that could lead to weight gain.
That isn’t all. A study conducted by Dumancas, et al (2016) shows that consumption of coconut oil can also increase good cholesterol HDL (high density lipoprotein) while reducing the bad cholesterol LDL (low density lipoprotein). By lowering the LDL level, we also lower the risk of getting heart diseases caused by fat buildup in the arteries.
Coconut oil has been added to various food products, one of the examples being baby formula in which the oil serves as a source of fat and lauric acid. Lauric acid is the main coconut oil component that helps fight off viruses and pathogenic bacteria. This acid also helps the body to absorb more nutrients like calcium and magnesium important for proper development and strength of the bones. Another example of product with coconut oil in it is multi-purpose creamer FiberCreme. By adding the healthy oil, FiberCreme aims to add more healthy benefits to foods and beverages we consume every day.
Chinwong, S., Chinwong, D., Mangklabruks, A. 2017. Daily Consumption of Virgin Coconut Oil Increases High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Healthy Volunteers: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med: 7251562.
Dumancas, Gerard & Viswanath, Lakshmi & Leon, Arnie & Ramasahayam, Sindhura & Maples, Randall & Hikkaduwa Koralege, Rangika & Don, Undugodage & Perera, U. D. Nuwan & Langford, Joel & Shakir, Aamina & Castles, Sam. (2016). Health benefits of virgin coconut oil.