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Is Coconut Oil Really That Bad for You?

September 18, 2018

Coconut Oil has been touted as a superfood by fitness enthusiasts for quite some time now. However, a Harvard professor – Karin Michels, threatens to burst their bubble with her take on this exotic-tasting oil. Does this mean you have to stop consuming coconut oil right away? Has years of coconut oil consumption made you vulnerable to heart disease? Read on to find answers to all these questions.

Karin Michels, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, delivered a controversial lecture on the ill effects of consuming too much coconut oil and went as far as to say that this so-called health food is in fact ‘pure poison’! As her lecture went viral on social media sites, fitness aficionados all around the world began considering purging their coconut oil supplies. While there is no need for you to take such a drastic stand, it is still essential to understand what made Prof. Michels put a check on the rising popularity of coconut oil.

This aromatic oil, that reminds you of a Caribbean beach with sun and sand, consists of 90% saturated fat, which is the main reason behind Dr. Michel’s warning against it. Saturated fat is bad for heart health as it raises the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, in the body. However, it is also known that half of the saturated fat present in coconut oil is of the 12-carbon kind, also known as lauric acid, which is not the case with many other oils. As a result, while coconut oil might cause LDL levels to go up, it is also responsible for raising the level of ‘good’ cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol. Besides, since coconut oil is a plant-based, it also contains antioxidants that are very beneficial for maintaining excellent overall health. So, what should one do to take advantage of all the health benefits offered by coconut oil, yet steer clear of the adverse side effects?

Here are some useful tips to help you with that:

  1. Opt for Virgin Coconut Oil – Virgin coconut oil is made by using cold-press techniques that ensure that the oil extracted from the coconut flesh is unadulterated and pure. Using this kind of oil is much better than using the regular refined version which is, more often than not, chemically treated.

  2. Use Sparingly – Instead of using coconut oil in everything you cook, try including it in occasional recipes like pies, cookies, bread, and other baked delights that you do not consume often.

  3. Avoid Manufactured Coconut Oil Products – Stay away from edibles that are processed or packaged and contain partially hydrogenated coconut oil. This variant of coconut oil has a higher quantity of saturated fats as compared to natural coconut oil and can, therefore, be much more harmful.

  4. Store Coconut Oil Properly – To prevent virgin coconut oil from spoiling quickly, make sure that you store it in a cool and dry place.  You can also pour it in an ice tray and use one cube at a time when cooking. This method helps you store the oil correctly and saves time.

Even though Prof. Michel’s harsh viewpoint concerning coconut oil may be a tad bit frightening, it does not warrant banning this flavourful oil from your kitchen pantry entirely. Enjoy coconut oil in moderation and gain from all its health benefits.

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