Healthy vs. unhealthy: the coconut oil debate

To keep or not to keep your coconut oil? Since recent health reports have said that coconut oil is unhealthy, many people tossed theirs away, while others hold on to it tightly. Well, you don't have to throw away your coconut oil, because it has plenty of benefits. The trick is to just use it on your body and not put it into your body all the time.

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a report this year advising against the use of coconut oil. It seems that coconut oil is not too different from beef fat, palm oil, or butter, which are oils high in saturated fat. Up to 82% of the fat found in coconut oil is saturated, which is more than the saturated fat found in beef fat (50%), pork lard (39%), and butter (63%).

Coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, which is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD). So it is advisable not to consume it if you want to promote good heart health. AHA recommends eating a maximum of 6% of saturated fat per day if you need lower cholesterol levels. However, healthy fats are necessary for your body's health and well-being. Coconut oil does have multiple health benefits, but consuming large amounts of this oil may damage your health. So it is best to consume it in moderation.




Since coconut oil has a debatable reputation, it's wise to take a look at the various pros and cons it comes with. At the end of the day, it's up to you whether you want to keep it in your diet or take advantage of its other multiple uses.

  • Bad cholesterol: Since it is high in saturated fat, coconut oil can have a negative impact on your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. This is directly linked to heart disease and for those who need lower LDL levels, coconut oil consumption might not be a great idea. The Cleveland Clinic proposes the use of olive oil instead of coconut oil because it does not raise LDL levels.
  • Weight-loss: Even though coconut oil contains 90% saturated fat, a large amount of this fat is made up of medium-chain triglycerides. These specific fatty acids are not found in most vegetable oils, but they are found in large quantities in coconut oil. A study found that eating up to 25g of medium-chain triglyceride oil per day, can help you lose more weight without increasing the risk for CVD.
  • Hair care: Coconut oil reduces protein loss which is effective for healthy hair. It promotes hair growth, it helps repair damaged hair, it is nourishing, and it is very easy to use. Sure, you can buy shampoo and conditioner that contain coconut oil, but you can also simply use coconut oil straight from the jar as a mask hours before you wash your hair.
  • Skin care: Using coconut oil as a moisturizer promotes skin anti-aging, helps prevent skin dryness, and it can help treat various skin problems, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. You can buy skin care products that contain coconut oil, or you can simply use it straight from the jar. Simply massage small amounts into your skin and enjoy its antioxidant properties.
  • Enhanced immunity: Coconut oil contains antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid, which have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Your body converts the lauric acid in coconut oil into monolaurin, which helps combat viruses and bacteria that can cause herpes, influenza, and even HIV.
  • Improved digestion: Coconut oil promotes better nutrient absorption and more. The saturated fats in coconut oil contain antimicrobial properties that deal with various parasites, bacteria, and fungi that can cause you indigestion.
  • Organ health: The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil help prevent liver disease and the accumulation of fat. They also help prevent gallbladder disease, kidney disease, and even help dissolve kidney stones. Additionally, it is suggested that coconut oil could help treat pancreatitis and promote pancreas health.



Coconut oil seems to have plenty of health benefits, so why did it receive a bad reputation this year? That is because it can be unhealthy if consumed in large amounts, especially for those with already high LDL levels. Saturated fats like coconut oil can be very problematic when they are consumed alongside other unhealthy foods such as refined grains and sugar.

This combination amplifies the negative impact of these compounds on your health. If you want to consume coconut oil, you must eat more fresh vegetables and avoid junk food with a high content of carbs and refined sugars. You should also control your portions of coconut oil. Instead of 1 or 2 tablespoons per meal, keep it at 1 or 2 tablespoons per day.

Coconut oil is still a health food, though with a risk of increasing your LDL levels. It's up to you to decide whether you should be consuming it or not. As long as you eat it in moderation and in healthy food combinations, you will reap the health benefits of coconut oil. If you decide it's not for you, don't throw away your coconut oil just yet. You can still reap the benefits of skin and hair care that coconut oil provide you with!


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