In case you haven’t heard or notice, coconut oil has been making its way to our supermarket shelves in recent years and has been dubbed as the “IT food”.
So before you start stocking them up in your pantry, lets understand this oil a little bit more. Is it as good as it seems?
Fats either comes from animals or plants and the former gives rise to the bad cholesterol, or LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) in the body. They are the ones who clog up your arteries and after prolonged consumption, may lead to nasty heart problems such as stroke, high blood pressure or even a nasty heart attack.
So coconut oil is a kind of plant oil, its should be safe right? Hmm, sadly to say, there are exceptions to this. Coconut oil and palm oil which are the ONLY plant sources of fats which give rise to LDL or bad cholesterol to our body.
But what is interesting about coconut oil is that, while it gives you LDL, it also gives the HDL levels a rise at the same time! Wow!
Other than this advantage, many food connoisseurs also love that wonderful, rich flavour of the coconut oil and since it is solid in room temperature, it makes it very versatile in cooking. They have been used to replace butter and vegetable shortening in the making of baked products which requires fats in solitary form. Many thai dishes also contains coconut oil as complements the rich, aromatic spices used in thai cooking.
Although it seems like there are many wonderful advantages to using coconut oil, one should still use coconut oil sparingly. This is because the benefits of coconut oil are based on short-term studies and many researchers are still looking at how coconut oil can affect the health on the long run.
However, one thing for sure, other plant oils such as olive oil and soya bean oil is able to lower the bad and increases the good cholesterol at the same time which coconut oil is unable to do so as it is ONLY able to increase the good cholesterol. It cannot bring down the bad ones.
The special HDL-rising effect just makes it “less evil” than the other kinds of saturated fats (think of poultry fats, butter and lard), but it is probably not the best kind if you want to use to reduce the risk of heart diseases.