Coconut Oil: Uses, Benefits, and What to Look For

Coconut Oil: Uses, Benefits, and What to Look For

It seems like everyone is talking about coconut oil. In only a few short years, this versatile oil has taken the culinary, health, and beauty worlds by storm. Why? Because it’s natural, easy to cook with, and offers distinct health benefits.

Cooking Uses and Advantages

Coconut oil is a beneficial alternative to butter, margarine, and various other cooking oils because it:

  • Is non-hydrogenated
  • Lacks stabilizers, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, and solvents
  • Is shelf stable at room temperature
  • Is vegan friendly

The Health Benefits

Health Benefits

Coconut oil is a dietary staple of multiple healthy populations throughout the world [1]. Whether you’re supplementing your diet with a coconut oil supplement or incorporating the virgin variety into your meals, it’s a valuable source of nutrition that:

  • Includes medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) [2]
  • Supplies a form of energy that can be metabolized efficiently [3]
  • Includes beneficial fatty acids, polyphenols, and antioxidants

How to Shop for Coconut Oil

How to Shop For Coconut Oil

Ranging from baked goods and stir-fries to smoothies, this versatile oil can be used successfully in a variety of recipes. It adds a mild delicious flavor and an appealing texture to food. It’s also a stable oil that’s resistant to high-temperature cooking (i.e., has a high-smoke point).

When shopping for a high-quality oil, look for varieties that are:

  • Organic – to support your health and the environment
  • Virgin – extracted from fresh coconuts with minimal refining
  • Labelled as containing only 100% coconut oil

When consumed in moderation, a high-quality coconut oil is a wonderful addition to your pantry and your healthy diet.

References:

[1] Assuncao, Monica, Haroldo Ferreira, Aldenir dos Santos, et al. Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil on the Biochemical and Anthropometric Profiles of Women Presenting Abdominal Obesity. Lipids 44.7, 2009, 593-601. Print. 5 September 2016.

[2] Cardosa DA, AS Moreira, GM de Oliveira, et al. A Coconut Extra Virgin Oil-Rich Diet Increases HDL Cholesterol and Decreases Waist Circumference and Body Mass in Coronary Artery Disease Patients. Nutricion Hospitalaria 32.5, 2015, 2144-52.

[3] Liau, Kai, Yeong Lee, Chee Chen, et al. An Open-Label Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Virgin Coconut Oil in Reducing Visceral Adiposity. ISRN Pharmacology, Epub 2011 Mar 15. Web. 12 September 2016.