29 Apr Is Coconut Oil Good For You?
By Hannah Buckland, Healthy Hearts Care Planner
Coconut oil has become, for many, a store-cupboard staple. Considered a ‘superfood’, it has been speculated to provide a long list of health benefits. Proponents swear by its ability to promote fat loss, boost brain function and reduce hunger; with some even going so far as to say it can cure medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer. But can one food really achieve all that? In fact, is coconut oil even good for you? Let’s find out.
The first important point to make is that there is currently no good evidence to suggest that coconut oil can treat any medical conditions or provide any of the other health benefits claimed. In fact, more research is required to determine exactly how coconut oil interacts with our health. What we do know is that coconut oil has a high calorie content: one tablespoon contains around 120 calories. It is also very high in saturated fat: it contains around 90% saturated fat, compared to butter at 63% and olive oil at 14%. So, whilst cooking with coconut oil can add a great flavour to some foods, it is best used in moderation.
Looking at heart health specifically, research has shown that coconut oil increases cholesterol less than butter, but more than vegetable oils. For this reason, we would advise not to use coconut oil as your main cooking oil. Instead, we recommend using an unsaturated oil such as rapeseed or olive. The added benefit with these oils is that they have high smoke points, so can be used for frying – although, as always, try to keep the amount of oil you cook with to a minimum!
Remember: food is not medicine, nor does it have magical properties – no one food can fix all your health issues. Always be wary of any product claiming to do so. If you are looking to improve your long-term health and wellbeing through diet, the best thing you can do is focus on consuming a variety of nutritious foods; aiming for a healthy, diverse and well-balanced diet. Healthy Hearts can help with this – call 020 3434 2500 or sign up online to book into your initial Care Planner assessment.
Read some other blogs in our Myth Busting Series:
Wk1 Can you trust what you read online?
Wk2 Calories: Should you focus on quantity or quality?
Wk3 Should you be cutting carbs for weight loss?
Wk4 Should you be following a low fat diet?
Wk5 Protein: What sources are there?
Wk6 Whats the deal with superfoods?
Wk7 Covid 19 – Can you boost your immune system with food?
Wk8 Is Coconut Oil Good for You?