About Coconut Oil

There are always new food trends, but coconut oil is one that has continued to hang on. I recently had a client ask me: “is coconut oil best to put on your body, or is also good to put in your body?” Although it made me smile, this is a completely valid question! When it comes to coconut oil, people seem to use it for anything and everything.

What is Coconut Oil?

It is literally oil made from pressed coconut. There are 2 types:

  • Unrefined or “virgin” coconut oil is less processed and has a stronger flavour.
  • Refined coconut oil is more processed and is generally used when cooking with high temperatures.

What Are the Benefits?

  • The true benefit of coconut oil is that it has a higher smoke point, so it works better when frying foods. It can also give a nutty flavour in cooking and baking.
  • Coconut oil has been thought to have health benefits because it contains “medium chain triglycerides”. Studies have investigated this, but there are no concrete findings at this time. Of course, more research is needed!

 

To Use or Not to Use?

Simply put, more research is needed to determine whether or not there are any health benefits of coconut oil. The best way to decide is to figure out whether or not you enjoy the taste. If you like the nutty flavour in baking or when heating things at higher temperatures, don’t be afraid to use it. At the same time, don’t use it in place of other fats and oils, like olive oil, avocado oil or butter. When it comes to fat, simply aim for a variety and use it in small amounts if it fits the dish you are making.

By Kalin Herbach, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist