Coconut oil—the magic potion. The all-in-one health giant. The super food. You’ve seen the headlines all over the place the past few years. Things like “90 Uses for Coconut Oil” or “The Best Moisturizer You Never Knew You Needed” or “The One Thing You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen.” But is coconut oil really all it’s cracked up to be or is just another hyped-up food trend? Let’s take a look!
The Versatile Nut
Made from the nut produced by the coconut palm, coconut oil has been used by many different, traditionally tropical cultures and countries across the globe for centuries. It’s well known for its versatility—in India, they call the coconut tree “Kalpravriksha” aka “The All-Giving Tree”—and that versatility is one of the things that makes it such a huge contender for the “Super food” title. But the question is: how super is it?
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
The thing that makes coconut oil special is its saturated fat content. And we know, we know: “Isn’t saturated fat bad for me?” Yes and no. Saturated fats aren’t all the same—those created naturally are of way more value than the artificial, hydrogenated kind. In fact, good saturated fats are quite healthy, especially the ones found in coconut oil. Why? Long story short: lauric acid. It’s a super rare fat that has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties once it’s in the body, and this fat makes up for about 50 percent of coconut oil’s makeup! As a result, coconut oil has the ability to provide immune system support, absorb vitamins and minerals to enhance energy and, of course, moisturize and restore.
Question the Hype
There are some benefits commonly associated with coconut oil that don’t quite pan out…yet. Some of these benefits are based on theoretical information and not research or studies—such as treating diabetes, improving heart health, preventing stroke, slowing down Alzheimer’s and encouraging weight loss. We just don’t have all the information yet to know for sure. Certainly, as studies move forward, we’ll likely be able to find more benefits! For now, like anything, use it in moderation and always select organic, virgin coconut oil. And beware of packaged foods that boast using coconut oil as if it makes their product better, because chances are? Probably not. It could be just as processed as the next packaged foodstuff. Always read the ingredients.
The Final Verdict (For Now)
While coconut oil definitely possesses healthy properties, it may not necessarily be the all-encompassing superfood the world wants it to be. Make sure you’re not depending on word-of-mouth food rumors to accomplish a health goal. And always remember that health and wellness are a process—it’s highly unlikely that a one-fix superfood has all the answers.