Coconut oil is getting a lot of buzz. It is being tooted as the cure all for many different maladies but what do you really know about this new health option? While coconut oil does offer plenty of pros there are some cons that you should be aware of.
Coconut oil is derived from the coconut. It is a plant fat that is all natural. It has a very long shelf life and is just about solid at room temperature after processing. There is quite a bit of debate about this oil because of its high fat content but it really depends on who you are listening to as to whether the high saturated fat is bad for your body or not.
The Pros of Coconut Oil
1. There are some very real pros to using coconut oil. There are some proven effects that coconut oil has for beauty purposes. It is always a really good idea to buy virgin, unrefined, organic coconut oil so you know that you are getting the purest form of the oil before you use it for any of the applications.
2. It can be used as a great hair repair serum. Just pop about 3 tablespoons in the microwave and heat it up for about 25 seconds and apply to your hair. Wrap your head in a towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes and than wash it out. You will have soft shiny hair. Of course any oil can help dry damaged hair but coconut oil has other properties that other oils do not that actually feed your hair. It can also be used as an excellent moisturizer as well.
3. On a more serious note coconut oil pulling is a new trend that requires you to swish around about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and pull it through your teeth to help rid your body of harmful toxins that can cause a bevvy or conditions and illnesses. According to those that are using this technique their skin is clearer, their bowel movements are more regular and they generally feel much better.
4. It has been shown to raise basal body temperatures which can help with sluggish thyroids. It is also been shown to raise metabolism and help with weight loss. It is an all natural anti fungal, anti viral, anti bacterial compound that can help to keep viruses and infections at bay.
5. In support of the idea that it makes an excellent replacement of butters and oils in cooking is the fact that the fats in coconut oil are made up from medium chain fatty acids similar to those found in breast milk.
6. To get the most out of coconut oil it is suggested that you opt for expellar pressed, unflavored brands.
The Cons of Coconut Oil
1. Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat content. There is almost 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. This can be a big problem for anyone that has high cholesterol or heart disease. The American Heart Association sites saturated fat as one of the dietary causes for high cholesterol.
2. The one tablespoon serving of coconut oil almost meets the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat according to the American Heart Association. 1 tablespoon of coconut oil contains a high amount of calories as well so if you are dieting this may not be the best option. At 120 calories per tablespoon the calorie content can thwart your diet.
3. Coconut generally speaking is dense calorically so it should be consumed in moderation if you are trying to lose weight. Some experts recommend eating the coconut as a whole instead of using its parts so that along with the calories you would get the fiber as well which is filling.
4. The debate about coconut oil being a healthy saturated fat continues. Some experts feel that not all saturated fats are bad fats. It is true that our bodies need a certain amount of fat to function at optimum ability but the jury is still out on whether coconut oil is that “acceptable fat”.
5. Everyone does agree however that any coconut oil that has been “partially hydrogenated” is a bad choice and should be avoided because then it is a trans fat.
There are plenty of proponents of this type of oil that make claims about healing powers and point to the longevity and overall good health of native populations that have been using the oil for generations but none of the claims have been formally evaluated through the FDA (food and drug administration). As a matter of fact most of the testing that has been done up to this point has been financed by the coconut growers and manufacturers.