The pleasant-smelling coconut oil is said to slow ageing, help your heart and thyroid, protect against illnesses like Alzheimer's, arthritis and diabetes, and even help you lose weight.
People are using it in everything from hair oils, cosmetics, food items and even more. But, does it make a good choice when taking into account of the saturated fat content it holds? Here's the fact.
Coconut oil is made by pressing the fat from the white "meat" inside the nut. About 84% of its calories come from saturated fat.
Like butter, coconut oil is solid at room temperature with a long shelf life and can withstand high cooking temperatures. It's the reason why coconut oil has a bad rapport from many health officials.
But coconut oil has a saving reason for this. The saturated fat in coconut is made up mostly of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. Some people say your body handles them differently than the longer-chain fats in liquid vegetable oils, dairy, and fatty meats.
The American Heart Association says to limit saturated fat to no more than 13 grams a day. That's the amount found in about one tablespoon of coconut oil.
Studies on coconut oil suggest that the MCT-saturated fat in coconut can boost your HDL or "good" cholesterol. This makes it less bad for your heart health than the saturated fat in animal-based foods like cheese and steak or products containing trans-fats.
But, it's not known if the rise in beneficial cholesterol outweighs any rise in harmful cholesterol.