I use cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil less than I used to. I didn’t taste much difference between that and a light olive oil in stir-frying. My knowledge of coconut oil in the past was that it wasn’t very good for you so my curiosity in why that ‘claim’ is different today, is no surprise. I decided to dig in, learn more about the pros and cons about coconut oil and decide for myself based on my nutritional training. I’ll share what I have learned but first let me state that I research like crazy before I decide on just about everything and I use references with highly accredited credentials.
In and before the 1980’s the use of coconut oil was ‘bad’ due to it being a saturated fat which raise bad cholesterol levels and so the use of hydrogenated oils became the norm. Findings later decided that hydrogenated oils were worse for us that coconut oil so up rose coconut oil fame again because of its minimal processing. In fact, everywhere you read there are claims that coconut oil is a ‘miracle oil’ and will fix just about any ailment you have including your squeaky gate…or gait.
What I have found in my recent research project is that the goodness of coconut oil depends on what oils you are replacing with coconut oil and how the coconut oil has been processed. Depending on what it’s replacing it can either raise good cholesterol as in replacing hydrogenated vegetable oils, have a neutral affect as in replacing butter and lard and it can have a questionable effect regarding heart health. Most of studies were done in countries where diet and exercise lifestyles were far different from here in the U.S. and other countries.
I just bought a new jar of coconut oil basically because of all the claims that we are all bombarded with. I now wish I had done this research ‘before’ I bought more but now I have a full jar of organic, unrefined coconut oil to use up. I’ll use it sparingly as I did the first jar but I might use it more externally than internally though I’m not afraid of it, I just choose to lighten up on it a bit. There is no evidence that it is down-right unhealthy for you but there are also no fantastic studies proving that it IS a miracle oil.
Everyone has their right to an opinion and a choice so I will practice mine based on the findings of my research. I’ll use up the jar I have but, in the future, I think I will stick with using the small amounts of extra virgin olive oils and various nut oils (and sometimes I even use a pat of butter-eeek!) that I am a fan of. I don’t use a lot of oil in a day and I don’t eat packaged snacks much if at all and my blood work had always been great so I feel confident in what I typically use for cooking.
If you do choose to use coconut oil in your cooking, choose the best product. Make sure the coconut oil you buy is organic, virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed; it will be in the purest form possible while conveniently put into a jar.
What are your thoughts on coconut oil? Have you used it and has it performed miracles for you? If so, what else has changed in your habits when you switched to using coconut oil? I’d love to hear your thoughts so drop me an email!
After thought: Coconut oil is pretty great on your skin, especially those overworked hairstylist hands, gardening hands, cooking hands, mechanic hands and all hands (and feet) in-between!