A lot of people, celebrities included, have jumped aboard the coconut oil bandwagon.
But is it a miracle oil, or just another trumped up so-called ‘super’ food with a super price tag to match?
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). Compared to other fatty acids, MCFAs are easier to digest – they are sent straight to the liver to be metabolised and therefore are more likely to be converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
Coconut oil also contains lauric acid (in fact, it’s about 50% lauric acid). Lauric acid helps destroy bacteria and viruses, therefore boosting your immune system.
Despite the benefits, coconut oil contains approximately 92% saturated fat (which is about 30% more than butter!). Saturated fat increases cholesterol (which promotes heart disease) and is extremely high in calories.
The World Health Organisation advises against consuming coconut oil for this very reason.
While coconut oil may be less bad than other saturated fats, there is very little research that actually supports claims that coconut oil is good for immunity, weight loss or wellness.
If you opt for coconut oil, remember to select the virgin kind – this means the oil has been extracted directly from the coconut without use of chemicals or heat.
Alternatively, stick with unsaturated kinds of oil:
- extra virgin olive oil (which is half the price and also contains antioxidants)
- avocado oil (when doing high temperature cooking)
- walnut oil (to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids, especially as a salad dressing).