Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as other vegetable oils or solid forms as would butter.
It has various applications. Because of its high saturated fat content, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification. Gastronomy, cosmetics, traditional medicine, all value coconut oil. But is it coconut truly the answer for hearth health and fat burning?
While hair, skin, and teeth might truly benefit from the use of coconut oil, it is not the case with heart and weight loss. As for when it comes to helping with Alzheimer’s or seizures, there are no confirmed scientific data. They are just assumptions.
The Monolaurin From the Coconut Oil
Monolaurin is the substance that lauric acid decomposes into when coconut oil is ingested. Coconut oil is filled with lauric acid. Monolaurin has antibacterial, antiviral, and other antimicrobial effects in vitro, but its clinical usefulness has not been established.
Monolaurin has been studied to inactivate many pathogens including Herpes simplex virus and Chlamydia trachomatis. It also shows promising effects against bacteria (both gram-positive and gram-negative), yeast, fungi, and protozoa. Bacteria including E. Coli, yeast including Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), Giardia lamblia, Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), and other microbes have all been neutralized by monolaurin in scientific studies.
Monolaurin also presented antibacterial and anti-biofilm properties against the bacterium which causes Lyme Disease in humans. But again: the effects of coconut oil in cases of such infection are not scientifically determined.
Coconut Oil Might Boost Weight Gain
Coconut oil is rather a mystery than a miraculous remedy. While it is praised for its benefits, important health institutions advise that coconut oil consumption should be limited or avoided because of its high levels of saturated fat.
The World Health Organization, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Food and Drug Administration, American Heart Association, American Dietetic Association, British National Health Service, British Nutrition Foundation, and Dietitians of Canada – they all agree on the side effects of coconut oil.
Coconut oil is not healthy food. Studies have found that coconut oil consumption has health effects similar to those of other unhealthy fats, including butter, beef fat and palm oil. It contains a high amount of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises total blood cholesterol levels by increasing both the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Although lauric acid consumption may create a more favorable total blood cholesterol profile, this does not exclude the possibility that persistent consumption of coconut oil may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Consuming polyunsaturated fats instead of coconut oil would reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Because the majority of saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, coconut oil may be preferred over partially hydrogenated vegetable oil when solid fats are used in the diet. Due to its high content of saturated fat with corresponding high caloric burden, regular use of coconut oil in food preparation may promote weight gain. So, coconut oil doesn’t make you thin, either.