It’s no secret, we love – I mean REALLY – love coconut oil. But we aren’t the only ones. Experts – from dietitians to physicians – are joining us in educating people about the many benefits of the tropical oil. So don’t just take our word for it, take theirs too!
Charlotte Mapes, RD, LDN, author of eathappynutrition.com, says extra virgin coconut oil in moderation is a great addition to your diet especially in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
“Coconut oil can be a great substitute for butter in a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. However, just like butter, coconut oil is a saturated fat and should be used in moderation. A healthy diet contains about 25% calories from fat, with 10% or less of those calories from saturated fats.
What does 10% look like? If you were consuming an 1800-2000 calorie diet, 10% would be 20-22 grams of saturated fat per day. One Tbsp of coconut oil contains about 14 grams of saturated fat – over half of your daily saturated fat requirements. However, even the uber healthy olive oil contains some saturated fat. The main message is to practice moderation, because all fats contain 9 calories per gram and are very calorically dense.
Cooking with coconut oil can add a sweet, nutty taste, or tropical flare to many dishes. It also has a higher smoke point than other oils, so it can be preferable to use on high heat stove cooking. Just remember, scientific research supporting coconut oil is new, very culturally specific, and tough to generalize for the average person. As with many things in the nutrition world, moderation really is key!”
Timothy J. Smith, M.D., talks about how coconut oil may help prevent endothelial damage. This is the cellular lining of the body’s blood vessels. To get really scientific, you can read more from the Harvard Medical School.
“Exercise every day, for an hour if possible. I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. Keeping your blood vessels strong and healthy through exercise is arguably the most important single thing you can do to protect your endothelium from damage. Eat a low-carbohydrate diet: too much sugar and processed carbohydrates are very damaging. Eat organic whenever possible. Keep animal fat at a minimum, because it increases free radical burden. Instead, use moderate amounts of vegetable fat (like coconut, olive, flaxseed, and soy bean oils) along with small servings of very lean meat. Load up on phytonutrient-rich fruit and vegetables.”
Until then – have a healthy weekend!