Coconut Oil: A Healthy Oil

coconut oil, coconutThere is a widespread misconception that coconut oil is bad for you because it contains saturated fat. Although coconut products have been used for thousands of years by natives of the Tropics, India, and Asia, westerners have been told it is unhealthy. These native populations enjoy good health because coconut oil is truly one of the healthiest oils you can consume.

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Lauric and palmitic fatty acids are found in mother’s breast milk and help protect the infant against pathogens. Studies have shown the antimicrobial benefits of coconut oil.

Investigations on the effects of the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, on neurological diseases such Alzheimer’s, show benefits. Other research shows coconut oil to benefit epilepsy.

Fats are categorized as either short-, medium-, or long-chain depending on how many carbon molecules they contain. Close to two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which have antimicrobial properties, are easily digested by the body for quick energy, and are beneficial to the immune system. Far from being dangerous, the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually health promoting.

How could an oil that is so good for you have gotten such a bad reputation? The answer comes down to simple economics and politics. Based on some flawed studies performed over four decades ago, some of which used primarily unhealthy hydrogenated coconut oils, a powerful anti-saturated fat movement began. Hydrogenated oils are oils with trans-fatty acids, which have been altered from their original chemical composition and have been shown to raise cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease and other health problems. You should not consume hydrogenated oils, whether it is coconut or any other vegetable oil. Trans fats and hydrogenated oils are actually being banned from certain municipalities because people are starting to understand what Dr. Mary Enig has been saying for the past four decades.

Around the 1960’s the edible oil industry began to denounce all saturated fats and heavily promote polyunsaturated fats such as canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils. However, these oils are highly refined, easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen and produce large amounts of damaging free radicals in the body. What is not commonly known is that these oils can actually cause premature aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain.

Fortunately, coconut oil has begun to gain some positive media exposure as researchers realize its health-promoting qualities. However, coconut oil can vary widely in terms of the types of coconuts used and the manufacturing processes used to make the oil. These factors play a major role in the effectiveness of the oil.

Many commercial coconut oils are RBD (refined, bleached, and deodorized). RBD oils do contain the medium chain fatty acids, however they also contain chemicals used in processing. Buy a coconut oil that has not been bleached, deodorized, refined or hydrogenated. This is called virgin coconut oil. There are several brands on the market that can be purchased over the internet or at the health food store. Similarly, if you purchase coconut, buy the unsweetened and unrefined type.

Coconut oil has a medium smoke point which makes it really good for pan sauteing and baking. It tastes delicious in baked goods and is great to add to shakes. Some people enjoy it added to coffee or tea as well. How do you like your coconut oil? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Where to buy high quality coconut oil.



Coconut Research

This post is linked to: Food trip Friday, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Seasonal Saturday, Seasonal Sunday, Sugar-Free Sunday, Sweet & Savory, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Midnight Maniac Monday, Meatless Monday, Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Weekend Carnival, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, What’s on the Menu, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Tip Day Carnival, Simple Lives Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Frugal Follies, Pennywise Platter, Food Trip Friday, Fresh Bites Friday

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  • ButterYum

    I’ve been using it to make popcorn for years. Makes the best tasting popcorn ever. People devour it!!


  • Tamara (AK)

    I make a healthier version of hot cocoa. Milk (raw if you can get it), carob powder, honey and coconut oil!

  • Jill

    Hi Butter Yum,
    Thanks for sharing! Those pretzel rolls look fantastic!

  • Jill

    Hi Tamara,
    Wow! That sounds delisch!

  • Thora

    Organic coconut oil is a staple in my diet and I love it. Thanks for writing this. So many more people could benefit from this amazing oil.

  • Jill

    Hi Thora,
    Thanks for commenting. I’m going to check out your site — I love Vermont!

  • Tim Huntley

    I so love coconut oil.

    Every day, for an afternoon snack, I have 2 squares of 100% cacao and about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.


  • Jill

    Hi Tim,
    Wow! That sounds delisch! Thanks for sharing! I’m interested in your site and will be visiting.

  • Sieglinde

    I am just now starting to incorporate coconut oil where I can. I love, love, LOVE it! I have been doing a teaspoon or so every evening in my Madagascar Vanilla Tea. Here is our favorite recipe for Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal from my blog that I use coconut oil in:

  • Tim Huntley

    Thanks very much.

    As for the 100% cacao, a lot of folks think it is too bitter, but with the slight sweetness from the coconut, it tastes perfect to me.


  • Jill

    Hi Sieglinde,
    Your teas sounds yummy! Thanks for the share — I will visit!

  • Christy

    I love it in my tea and I use it in place of crisco (bleh) in baking and I also use it when I make french toast – it is delicious.

  • Dar

    I have been hearing good things about coconut oil lately. Think I might have to try it out!

  • barbara goodman

    It’s also great as a hair conditioner. Thanks for the other info.

  • anonymous

    I too use it to make popcorn (and then also add melted butter!) I recently started making my own mayo and used half Chafin Farms EVOO and Wilderness Family Refined Coconut Oil. With the virgin coconut oil the flavor was too strong for us, but this is tasty and not overpowering. Mayo is the only thing I use the refined for. I use the virgin oil in just about anything that calls for vegetable oil. I do need to melt it first because our house is so cold.

    I use the virgin coconut oil in place of face cream and my husband and I use it as a personal lubricant. I figured if it has all the wonderful anti-microbial properties and is a food grade oil, it should be a healthy alternative. Please let me know if I am wrong about that one. (We have used it for probably 3 years now).

  • Jill

    Hi Christy,
    French toast sounds great with coconut oil — I must try that.

  • Jill

    Hi Barbara,
    Yes, I think it would work well as a hair conditioner especially if you put an aluminum foil cap on for 10 – 20 minutes and let it really work its way into the hair and scalp!

  • Bonny

    Thanks for the great post! In addition to adding it to my family’s diet whenever I can, I also use coconut oil topically for my baby’s diaper rashes. I’ve used only coconut oil on the last several rashes and it clears it right up! I also use it as a hand moisturizer and lip balm at times.

  • Jill

    Hi Bonny,
    I also like to use it on my hands and lips — especially in the winter!

  • chris

    I have been using virgin coconut oil for the last few months in just about anything that calls for oil/butter. I even add it to my oatmeal in the morning. I have noticed that it has helped with my fatigue.

  • Jill

    Hi Chris,
    That does not surprise me at all, as it is a medium chain triglyceride and it is processed for energy right away. It is not stored. Thanks for your comment.

  • jean

    This post is great. I’m happy to see you get this out there. Real coconut oil is the only oil I use in cooking and as an insect repellant.

  • Jill

    Hi Jean,
    How does it work as an insect repellant? I love the photos on your site — especially the tiny frog!

  • jean

    It just simply keeps the bugs from getting to my skin to bite. If a sandfly lands, it can’t bite due to the oil, and I just flick it off. At the same time, it keeps my skin moisturized and isn’t toxic. Your posts are very informative. Thanks for blogging these things.

  • Krissa

    I use it in baking and it’s also great to roast vegetables with. Loved reading all the other ideas in the comments too!

  • Jill

    Hi Krissa,
    I love to read all the comments to! Your Mango Salsa Chicken looks good!

  • Brynna

    We LOVE coconut oil!! We use it for pretty much everything (I’ve posted all the uses in our home on my blog). It’s my go-to product not only for cooking, but for illness, skin problems, teeth, etc.

  • Jill

    Hi Brynna,
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Miz Helen

    Hi Jill,
    I really appreciate you bringing us this information. I did not know all of these wonderful things about Coconut Oil and am really happy to get this information. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and I look forward to seeing you next week!

  • Jill

    HI Miz Helen,
    hanks for your comments!

  • Tamara (AK)

    It really is! Let me know if you try it. :-)

  • Rachel

    We love using coconut oil for many different uses from skin care to cooking! Great post! Btw, I started a new link up that you migt be interested in for sharing healthy ideas, recipes, suggestions, going “green” tips, etc. and I hope you’ll join me today, Wednesday! :) (Healthy 2day Wednesdays)You could share this post or something similar! Have a great week!

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