Coconut oil has won the love of culinary specialists, cosmetologists, and fans of a healthy lifestyle.
Some experts consider coconut oil an indispensable product in any kitchen. Others argue that the saturated acids in their composition can significantly harm health. However, the truth is somewhere in between.
Negative attitudes towards coconut oil came after the mention in the news publications that Professor Karin Michaels of Harvard University called it “pure poison” in her public lecture.
However, many American nutritionists agree that coconut oil should not be made the leading food due to its saturation with fatty acids.
Therefore, combining coconut oil with other vegetable oils in food is recommended. Before using coconut oil, consider the following pros and cons.
Table of Contents
Pros of Coconut Oil
The benefits of Coconut oil are its moisturizing, nourishing, and protective properties. It also soothes the skin, normalizing the sebum production by the skin.
Speaking about the benefits of the product, we note the following beneficial properties:
1. Recommended by specialists for health
According to Dr. Mary Enig, editor of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and author of Eat Fat, Lose Fat: A Healthy Alternative to Trans Fat, coconut oil helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
The oil is rich in capric, myristic, stearic, caprylic, and lauric acids, capable of killing bacteria and viruses.
In a study by McGill University in 2017, coconut oil is also beneficial in subsiding the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by increasing ketone bodies.
Medium-chain triglycerides oil is the fats made from coconut and palm oil in the laboratory.
The health benefits of the medium chain triglycerides oil improve thyroid function, promotes bowel cleansing, and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular system diseases.
The World Health Organization has included coconut oil as a recommended food for preventing heart attack, strokes, and risk of heart disease.
2. Natural antidepressant
Recent studies have suggested that extra-virgin coconut oil reduces post-exercise stress and may act as a natural antidepressant.
The effect on the human psyche has not been studied, but doctors believe it can potentially be used as a mild antidepressant.
3. Fast satisfaction of feeling of hunger
A tablespoon of coconut oil taken on an empty stomach in a few minutes will create a feeling of fullness.
Taking this oil 10-15 minutes before meals will significantly reduce the size of the eaten portion (and, accordingly, the number of calories).
4. Metabolism optimization
Saturated fatty acids are critical for absorbing several minerals and vitamins. If you only eat low-fat animal products, you impair your metabolism.
Consumption of Coconut oil will change things for the better.
5. Inflammation treatment
The acids included in the composition of coconut oil have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Unlike many pharmaceutical products, they can help eliminate acne without overdrying the epidermis.
6. Antibacterial effect
Lauric acid, which accounts for about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil, is a medium-chain fatty acid and has been shown to have antibacterial effects against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Studies have shown that when given to mice, Candida in the stool is reduced, and it is expected to be effective in suppressing the growth of bacterial infections.
7. Antioxidant effect/immunity boosting effect
Lauric acid contained in coconut oil has an antioxidant effect and is said to have the power to boost immunity.
In addition to suppressing aging, organic extra-virgin coconut oil can be expected to prevent colds effectively.
8. Healthiest cooking oil
According to Dr. D. Mercola of the Coconut Research Center, coconut butter or oil is the healthiest choice for cooking food.
Both refined and unrefined coconut oil is suitable for cooking in medium heat as the oil is resistant to high temperatures.
You can fry, cook, and bake using both forms of coconut oil. As the oil solidifies below 24 degrees, it is perfect for making desserts.
Coconut products can protect the epidermis from the harmful effects of UV radiation and photoaging.
Thus, it is one of the ingredients in sunscreens and lotions. You can also use it in its pure form. But it is worth remembering that the value of SPF 6-8 is not enough for complete protection.
10. Improving the quality of skin and hair
Both internal and external use of coconut oil can positively affect the condition of the skin and hair health. That is why many creams contain coconut oil.
If the hair is damaged due to perm, frequent use of curling irons or flat irons, then using masks with coconut oil will help restore them.
After 2-3 procedures, the hair will become more “alive” and no longer seem dull and lifeless. In addition, you can use the oil after the holidays if the hair has become dry due to the action of the sun and saltwater.
Likewise, the complex action of the active ingredients in coconut oil aims to regenerate the skin, giving it elasticity and firmness.
As a result of the application, it is possible to achieve a fantastic effect: tighten the oval of the face, and refresh the color and general condition of the dermis.
11. Collagen production
This property is directly related to the launch of rejuvenation processes. Lauric acid in action is the starting point in activating collagen production, often referred to as the “elixir of youth.”
12. Beneficial for body and face
Numerous beauty products include coconut oil as one of their active ingredients. The oil promotes wound healing, softens and moisturizes the skin, promotes cell renewal rapidity, and acts as an antioxidant.
It is used to slow down wrinkles and as a mask for dry skin. However, coconut oil clogs pores and is not suitable for oily skin. In addition, it is absorbed for a long time, unlike the cream.
13. Constipation improvement
Medium-chain fatty acids contained in coconut oil have the effect of promoting intestinal peristalsis.
In addition, the lauric acid in coconut oil improves intestinal immunity and the intestinal environment.
From this, we can say that coconut oil effectively improves constipation.
14. Improvement of cholesterol level and prevention of diabetes
Coconut oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids that help raise good cholesterol levels.
There are bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and good cholesterol (HDL); the higher the good cholesterol, the healthier it is.
If you raise the good cholesterol level, you can reduce the bad cholesterol level. It is recommended for people suffering from cholesterol levels.
In addition, the medium-chain fatty acids effectively improve visceral fat-type obesity, which causes fat in the lower abdomen.
15. Control body odor
Coconut oil can control underarm odor. Its antibacterial action inhibits the growth of bacteria and thus controls terrible odor.
Of course, its effectiveness is less than that of an antiperspirant with aluminum salts. But much healthier, so it’s worth seeing who best adapts to this alternative with coconut oil.
Despite reducing the proliferation of bacteria, coconut oil does not decrease sweat production. Therefore, in this case, its benefits may vary for each person.
Another positive point of our beloved coconut oil is its effect on physical training.
For example, if its consumption is combined with a cup of coffee, there is still a stimulus to the central nervous system, improving alertness. This combination turns into an even more powerful pre-workout thermogenic.
16. Reduce seizure
Ketogenic diets are the targets of studies by scientists who seek to discover their effects on treating diseases.
In some instances of epilepsy, when seizures occur even after medication use, the doctor may suggest a change in diet.
One of the edges of coconut oil is the high concentration of fatty acids, a substance that stimulates the ketogenic process.
Some research indicates that it can be introduced into the diet of patients who suffer from seizures even using medication.
However, you need to always consult a doctor about changes in diet, especially if you already have a specific health condition.
Cons of Coconut Oil
Like almost any other oil, coconut oil also has its drawbacks. Some people have individual intolerance to the oil components, so they need to do a test before use.
Here are the drawbacks of coconut oil.
1. Risk of health
Vegetable fats usually consist mainly of unsaturated fatty acids. Not so with coconut oil: It contains more than 90 percent saturated fats, like those found in animal products.
This fat in coconut oil has been considered a risk factor for arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases for a long time.
It is now disputed how harmful saturated fatty acids are. However, nutritional societies advise choosing primarily vegetable fats with unsaturated fatty acids – such as rapeseed oil.
2. Coconut oil is bad for the environment
Coconut palms grow in tropical areas. One of the main growing areas is the Philippines.
When the coconut is imported into any country, it already travels thousands of kilometers; the environmental balance is correspondingly poor.
The strong demand for coconut oil has led to an over-exploitation of coconut palm crops.
Stanford University says coconut palms are grown in “predominantly very small-scale structures.” The use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers should be correspondingly low.
However, an estimated 60 percent of coconut farmers in the Philippines live below the poverty line. Supportive measures are urgently needed here, according to CNN.
3. Unsuitable for oily skin
Despite all the unique properties of coconut oil, you should not get too carried away with it, especially regarding facial skincare.
Coconut oil has an increased comedogenicity – the ability to clog pores and cause disruption of the sebaceous glands.
Therefore, coconut oil is more suitable for dry skin types and is not recommended for oily or acne-prone skin.
In addition, like any natural ingredient, coconut oil can cause allergic reactions.
It is necessary to test for individual sensitivity and intolerance before use – apply a little oil on the inner surface of the elbow and wait 15 minutes.
4. Messy to work with
The disadvantage of coconut oil is that greasy stains remain when it gets on clothes; therefore, for application, it is recommended to use either old clothes, a towel, or a plastic cape.
Even though coconut oil is reputed to make hair softer, there are some cases when the result of its regular use is stiffness and heaviness of the hair, oily sheen, and a tendency to accumulate static electricity.
Such cases are individual and rare, but they may happen. To wash off the oil from the head, you need to repeat the wash several times.
5. Coconut oil contains hardly any vitamins
Contrary to what is often claimed, coconut oil is not a vitamin miracle. In particular, the industrially processed coconut fat, often used for frying, contains hardly any nutrients worth mentioning.
There is just one milligram of calcium and some vitamin E for every 100 grams. For comparison: the same amount of butter contains 13 milligrams of calcium, magnesium, iron, and numerous carotenoids.
6. Other vegetable oils are beneficial regarding the supply of fats
Coconut oil contains 90 percent saturated fatty acids considered harmful for health and only a few unsaturated fatty acids beneficial for health. A balanced diet should contain as many unsaturated fatty acids as possible.
However, coconut oil contains many medium-chain fatty acids, which are easily digestible and may not be stored by the body.
But this doesn’t suggest that coconut oil works miracles for weight loss, and there are no long-term studies regarding this function of coconut oil.
Canola, walnut, and olive oil provide more healthy fats than coconut oil and are relatively cheaper.
7. There are contraindications
Coconut oil is still fat, and, although we welcome the oil in a ketogenic diet, in “normal” eating habits, its caloric intake could be pretty heavy, affecting daily calories if not taken with caution.
It is also difficult to digest, especially for some people who may feel heavy using it often if they have a more delicate stomach.
People with chronic bowel disease should always use it cautiously, like all other types of fats.
While not an absolute contraindication, coconut oil does not contain vitamins, except some vitamin E, so saturated fat intake alone is limited and can be considered a poor food in terms of nutritional value.
At a glance (Pros and Cons of Coconut Oil)
|Beneficial for dry and normal skin
|Contain saturated fats satiate hunger
|Use in cosmetology and cooking
|Numerous health benefits
|Good for hair, skin, nail, and teeth health
|Not recommended for oily skin
|High calorieResult in extra weight gain in overconsumption
|Relatively expensive causes long transport routes
|Contains 90% saturated fatty acid, which is not beneficial for heart health
|If used excessively, hair can be too drySkin pores may get clogged.
Coconut oil is beneficial for health if consumed in moderate quantity, but it cannot replace olive oil and its benefits.
Consuming coconut oil in moderate quantities as part of a balanced diet can have some scientifically proven benefits, especially in people with intestinal malabsorption.
As for culinary delight, you can include coconut oil n Asian diets if you like the taste and aroma but remember not to use it in your daily diet.
(Last Updated on August 24, 2022)