Nutritional Facts of Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon of coconut oil contains:1
- 121 calories
- 0g of protein
- 13.5g of fats (11.2g is saturated)
- 0 mg of cholesterol
- Contains vitamin E, but no fiber and negligible other vitamins and minerals.
- Close to 100% of fats, most of which is saturated.
- High in MCT (Medium-chain triglycerides), which is easier to burn off compared to normal long-chain triglycerides.
How Does It Benefit Us?
Studies suggest that coconut oil can:
- Increase number of calories burned by our body
- Reduce appetite, due to quickly absorbed form of MCT that promotes satiety and prevents fat storage 2
- Raises HDL (good cholesterol), which is linked to improved metabolic health and lower risk of heart disease
- Local application can work as skin moisturizer, protecting against skin damage
Cooking Coconut Oil And Beyond
Ideal for cooking as 90% of its fatty acids are saturated, making it extremely stable at high temperature.
Can be substituted for oil or butter in 1:1 ratio in most recipes
- Sauteing or stir-frying, use 1-2 tablespoon of this oil to cook vegetables, eggs, meat or fish
- Popcorn, drizzle melted coconut oil on popcorn
- Baking, use it to coat poultry or meat before rubbing with seasonings
Coconut oil shines as a beauty product, especially extra-virgin coconut oil.
It is often used topically to:
- Moisturize skin for atopic dermatitis or eczema patient
- As an antifungal and antiviral agent against skin infections
Extra-virgin vs refined coconut oil 1
1.Extra virgin coconut oil:
- Comes from fruit of fresh, mature coconuts.
- Processing does not involve high temperature or added chemicals.
2. Refined coconut oil:
- Goes through more processing, leads to more neutral smell and flavour.
TIPS: To avoid nausea and loose stools that may occur with high intake of coconut oil, it is advisable to take 1 teaspoon per day and gradually increase to 2 tablespoons per day over 1-2 weeks. 3
Enough of The Good, What’s Bad?
Coconut oil contains a majority of saturated fat and this contributes to cardiovascular disease as it can increase plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL, commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’) concentration.
In culinary practice, it is advisable to replace coconut oil with non-tropical unsaturated vegetable oils such as avocado oil, especially for people who have cardiovascular risk. As for local applications, coconut oil appears to be safe.
- Coconut oil: Benefits, uses, and controversy [Internet]. Medicalnewstoday.com. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282857#the_bottom_line
- Coconut Oil [Internet]. The Nutrition Source. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coconut-oil/
- How to Eat Coconut Oil, and How Much Per Day? [Internet]. Healthline. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-eat-coconut-oil#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5
- Migala J, Kelly Kennedy R. Coconut Oil: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, Uses, and More | Everyday Health [Internet]. EverydayHealth.com. 2019. Available from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/coconut-oil-health-benefits-nutrition-facts-uses-more/
- Sacks F. Coconut Oil and Heart Health. Circulation. 2020;141(10):815-817.