Why Should I Try Coconut Oil?

That’s what I was asking myself the last time I was in Costco and passed one of their giant displays of 3+ pound jars of it. I could see the white substance inside that was solid at room temperature. Oil?

Coconut oil is a saturated fat and we need to avoid saturated fats, right? I can’t count the times I have written in negative terms about the saturated fat content of various food items.

Nonetheless, I found myself intrigued by the coconut oil. So, I bought some.

coconut-split.jpg

When I got home, I learned some very positive things about coconut oil on the web.

Coconutoil.com says, “Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom consumed anymore.”

That’s certainly a positive start.

Livestrong.com had especially good things to say about coconut oil for endurance athletes, like bike riders, “Raw coconut oil is different from most other oils because it has a high content of medium chain triglycerides – MCTs – which are also sometimes called medium chain fatty acids … according to Paul Insel, R. Elaine Turner and Don Ross, authors of ‘Discovering Nutrition.’ This means your body uses them for fuel immediately, unlike other types of fat. As a result products with coconut oil are popular with endurance athletes who need high-energy food.”

But what about those saturated fats?

Nutrition and You said, “The important saturated fatty acid in the coconut is lauric acid (1:12 carbon fatty acid). Lauric acid increases HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. HDL is a high-density lipoprotein, which has beneficial effects on the coronary arteries by preventing vessel blockade (atherosclerosis). Medicine recommends high HDL to total cholesterol levels in the blood for the same reason.”

Lauric acid also happens to be one of the main fatty acids in breast milk.  The amount of lauric acid content in coconut oil is second only to the lauric acid content of breast milk. How nutritious is that? In addition, the bacteria fighting nature of Lauric acid also makes coconut oil an antimicrobial food which is very helpful during cold and flu season in building up our immune system.

Read more: 5 Healthy Cooking Oils:

Dr. Oz said, “The oils found in the coconut have a positive antioxidant action in the body. This means they help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is considered a major contributor to cardiovascular problems and skin aging. Coconut oil can actually help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidant intake.”

So, it turns out that while it is a saturated fat, coconut oil is a good saturated fat that helps our bodies in a lot of ways. Certainly, most of the people I run across talking about their cholesterol say they want to raise their HDL level (the good cholesterol). Coconut oil does that.

I am now using it in any situation I had previously used vegetable oil. It has a high temperature tolerance, so it works fine for cooking. I can attest that it is super for popping popcorn. I popped some last night.

As coconut oil has healing properties, I use it instead of Chapstick or Blistex on my dry lips; tastes nice, too. Reportedly, it relieves skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.

One thing to keep in mind is that it needs to be organic and not from pesticide-sprayed plants.

I have just scratched the surface as far as uses as well as results go. Let me know what you think about it after trying it. Also, further uses. I have a feeling there are tons of good ones.

To expand your info on this check out my Page Why you should include coconut oil in your diet.

Note: As of April 5, 2014, Costco had started selling their own brand of coconut oil. I am guessing that means the experiment with the product proved successful so they decided to market their own – Kirkland Brand.

This is from the warehouse today.

This is from the warehouse today.

Tony

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25 Comments

Filed under cholesterol, coconut oil, HDL Cholesterol, saturated fat

25 responses to “Why Should I Try Coconut Oil?

  1. Thanks for checking out my blog – looks we are both fans of coconut oil! It’s great stuff! I love cooking with it because (like you said) it does fine with high temperatures.
    All the best to you! 🙂

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  2. I recently completed a bootcamp where our instructor preached coconut oil – I have yet to delve too much into its uses, but so far I have added a tablespoon of the heated oil into protein shakes, and cooked with it as a substitute for Pam or other cooking oil. So far so good, but I find it a little intimidating!

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    • Thanks for stopping by. Don’t be intimidated. I am having great fun trying it for new stuff. It is relatively cheap, keeps forever and works great.

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  3. Hi! Thank you for writing this post about coconut oil, it is informative but not boring and for what I have read in other place, totally relevant and accurate! I love coconut oil. You know when people talk about “superfoods”, I think coconut oil the the number 1 superfood! By the way, it can also be applied on bruises, itchy scalp, dry hair… Check out Bruce Fife’s books, he is one of the most respected people when it comes to talking about coconut oil!
    Great blog! Alix

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    • Alix –

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the post. I am obviously a newcomer to coconut oil, but an avid one. I think you are right about it being a ‘superfood.’ I definitely plan to continue learning about this and will check out Bruce Fife’s books. Must confess my ignorance about him.

      Cheers,

      Tony

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  4. You’re so right – coconut oil is great for so many different things! I use mine as an oil to cook with (fried rice is particularly yummy with it), as a body lotion, face cleanser, and “chapstick.” I’m sure there are a million more uses out there too!

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    • Thank you so much for your comment, Foxy. As a ‘newbie’ coconut oil user, I am just learning all the good things it can be used for. Having made popcorn in it, I can attest to the neat flavor. Your fried rice sounds like a great idea. I think Mr. Lazy Cook will be checking that out.

      The coconut is a very underappreciated food.

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  5. I’ve been wanting to try it but haven’t simply because I don’t use oil in my diet often unless a recipe REALLY calls for it. After reading your post I’m gonna head out and get some. A lot of “clean eaters” I know use it religiously! Excited to try!

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    • Thanks for your comment. So glad I was able to help you decide. The more I read about it, the more excited I get. Glad to hear you know ‘clean eaters’ who use it. That’s another positive.

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  6. Most people just hear fat and react negatively, then we learn about good fats and bad fats, saturated being bad. Now saturated fats have good and bad subtypes as well?
    Interesting, I love learning all these things, even though it sometimes makes it hard to make decisions as to whether something is healthy or not!
    I’ll definitely be trying coconut oil! Thanks!

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    • Thanks for your comment, Kerrie. Yes, isn’t it fascinating that there are GOOD saturated fats as well as bad? It was news to me, too. lol ya learn something every day. Glad to hear that you have an open mind. There is always room for fresh info.

      Personally, I am so happy that I have been writing this blog going on four years now. I keep learning stuff, too. I never would have learned about coconut oil and its many uses if I weren’t doing this.

      Have a great day!

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  7. Nancy Chornick

    I have been using coconut oil for a long time and have been enjoying this good fat. Another fat that I have recently started to us is organic red palm oil. Researchers report that it can reverses heart disease, improves brain function and boosts metabolism.

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    • Hi, Nancy – Nice to hear from you. Glad you were up on the coconut oil. The red palm oil sounds like another winner. Will have to look into it.

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  8. I was referred here from your latest post and read it with interest. I posted about coconut oil too a few months before you did and have been enjoying it since then. My post pretty much carries the same message as yours with one or two minor differences. If you haven’t seen it, you might be interested http://cookupastory.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/ive-got-a-loverly-bunch-of-coconuts-tra-la/. I liked your cholesterol post – the whole fat thing is so complicated!

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    • Thanks, Vinny – I had managed to miss your item back in October. I agree with you about the complicated fat issue. The Soybean Association did a cruel thing by villifying coconut oil. Did you know that they used to pop popcorn at the movies in coconut oil, but switched after the articles against coconut oil. NOW, they use processed vegetable oils which are absolute killers to our arteries.

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      • I’m working on a post now comparing the various fats and oils (omegas 3 and 6 kind of thing). I’m sure it will be controversial as science is still working it all out.

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      • My understanding is that the American Soybean Association, ASA, did a hatchet job on coconut oil and caused movie theaters to switch from it to processed soybean oil which is anything but heart healthy. I saw a comment from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, CSPI, in USA Today damning coconut oil on popcorn because of its saturated fat content. I wonder if CSPI got any funding from ASA.

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