Coconut oil has quickly become a favorite staple among households in the United States, but it’s better-for-you reputation has recently taken a turn for the worse. The final verdict remains in question: Is coconut oil the tropical replacement for lard and butter? Or is it less healthy than other cooking oils?
Let’s break it down:
In June 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a detailed report linking saturated fats and heart disease. They noted coconut oil is 82 percent saturated fat (a higher percentage than butter or lard), and that it increases bad cholesterol, which in turn connected it to heart disease. In fact, the AHA stated that they “advise against the use of coconut oil.”
That said, coconut oil won’t ruin your heart health as long as you consume in moderation. Cutting back on unhealthy foods and eliminating as much saturated fats, no matter the source, may help improve your health. Continue using vegetable oils for cooking, and save coconut oil for a new favorite recipe or for non-food uses like the ones below.
What are other uses for coconut oil?
Coconut oil is found in many beauty products, but is great to use right out the jar. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and can penetrate dry skin for optimal moisturizing.
Many store-bought makeup removers can leave your skin dry. Coconut oil not only keeps your skin soft, but it also easily removes dirt and makeup. It attracts the makeup on your skin, so when you wash off the oil, you wash off the makeup too.
If you have dry or chapped lips, coconut oil can help. It can easily hydrate your lips while leaving them glossy —and tasty!
Thanks to its richness in medium fatty chain acids, coconut oil applied directly to fine hair can support a stronger, shinier, more voluminous look. However, people with coarse or dry hair may experience breakage.
Just like skin, coconut oil can help moisturize your furniture. Combined with lemon juice, coconut oil serves as a great alternative to toxic furniture polish!
All in all, coconut oil isn’t bad, but it’s not the best ingredient in your diet. If you use coconut oil to cook with, remember to use it wisely and sparingly. Most importantly, try using coconut oil in non-traditional ways. If you find a helpful use for coconut oil, comment below!