Is coconut oil really the superfood hero it’s made out to be? Registered dietician, Mayuri Bhawan weighs in…
Is coconut oil really that healthy? Coconut oil’s popularity continues to increase and as a result it’s been hailed as the number one superfood to promote weight loss. But is this really the truth? Not entirely, says registered dietician, Mayuri Bhawan. Coconut oil is extracted from the fruit of mature coconuts and is still regarded as a saturated fat, she says. This means that the fruit is high in lauric acid, a medium–chain fatty acid that raises both good and bad cholesterol levels. So it’s important that you practise portion control when it comes to cooking and baking with coconut oil. On the plus side, it has been found to improve digestion and aid the body in absorbing vitamins.
Should I cook with it? A small amount of research suggests that coconut oil is a better choice than butter for cholesterol levels, (not to mention, it’s much tastier to cook with) but as it stands, coconut oil can’t be recommended as a suitable alternative to non-hydrogenated vegetable oil, says Mayuri. She suggests using liquid plant oils such as cold-pressed olive, avocado or canola oil to cook with, rather than coconut oil.
What about it’s other health benefits? Thanks to its rich, creamy consistency, beauty experts around the world swear by coconut oil as a skin and hair moisturiser. It’s also been used as a gentle make-up remover and some people have even claimed that it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The bottom line… Coconut oil does have a multitude of health and beauty benefits, but when it comes to losing weight, the humble fruit should not be seen or used as a ‘magic’ weight loss tool. As the saying goes, “Everything in moderation.”
Mayuri Bhawan is a registered dietician working at Nutritional Solutions in Johannesburg. For more information, click here (www.nutritionalsolutions.co.za).