Since I am recently receiving a growing number of questions relating to coconut oil which has become so “fashionable” lately, I decided today to unveil some truths about this oil in order for us to see if it’s really beneficial to our health or not.
First, let’s begin by defining coconut oil (or copra oil): It’s an oil that is extracted from the flesh of the coconut. It consists of saturated fatty acids at a level of about 90% (an unusual rate for plant foods). Also, some studies have recently indicated that 60% of such saturated fatty acids are of a short and medium chain (not harmful according to ANSE) while the remaining rate (30%) is of a long chain that is actually primarily harmful to our cardiovascular health. Given these data, what should we conclude then about this oil?
In my opinion an oil which contains some 30% of saturated fatty acids which are harmful to our health is not the ideal oil to choose! Moreover, no study has proven in a substantial way the beneficial effects of this oil on our health. Also, the market is offering us a large choice of oils which are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (proven beneficial to our health) such as olive oil, and canola oil which is rich in omega 3, much needed in our diet. Therefore, for what reason should we really prefer coconut oil?!
However, if you really wish to use coconut oil instead of another product which is much more harmful to our health, or if you simply want to diversify the sources of oil so that to have dishes with a new taste, always try to pick the coconut oil which is of the organic, virgin and cold pressed type. Finally, we should especially avoid industrial products containing coconut oil since such oil is always hydrogenated in this kind of products and therefore typically harmful for our health.