Quick Facts About Coconut Oil

Coconut oil with sliced coconut
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Coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid. It's one of the few saturated fats that comes from a plant source. Other saturated fats are found in animal products such as red meat, poultry, butter, and whole milk.

In alternative medicine, coconut oil has become popular as a natural remedy. Proponents of coconut oil say that it has the following benefits:

  • Coconut oil contains lauric acid and a derivative called monolaurin which may have some antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
  • Coconut oil also contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are not thought to be stored in the body like other oils and also may influence metabolism and promote weight loss.

Critics say, however, that coconut oil is a saturated fat, like butter, and should be avoided. There is also insufficient evidence from human studies showing that it is effective for any health purpose.

If you are going to use coconut oil, follow these tips:

  • Avoid hydrogenated coconut oil or oil that has been treated with solvents, bleach, or heat. A health food store is probably your best bet.
  • You will get the most lauric acid for your dollar with coconut oil rather than coconut milk. Three and a half tablespoons of coconut oil is equivalent to ten ounces of coconut milk. "Lite" coconut milk is low in fat and also low in lauric acid.
  • For more about coconut oil, please read the article: Coconut Oil - What You Need to Know.

    Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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