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Is coconut oil healthy for you?

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Hi there and thank you for your question!

Coconut oil can be part of a healthy eating pattern (and can also be used as a moisturizer for our skin and hair). However, coconut oil is high in saturated fat, which is a type of fat that can be okay to have in moderate amounts but can be harmful to our blood cholesterol levels if we have too much (1). Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products, such as meat, milk and cheese, but can also be found in tropical plants such as coconut oil or palm oil. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association recommend we replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, which are considered beneficial fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation (2). Unsaturated fats are mostly found in plants, such as avocados, nuts and seeds and vegetable oils. 

Does that mean we should avoid all foods that contain saturated fats? No! What is more important is to consider the overall quality of our food and eating pattern rather than nutrients alone. Check out our Lifestyle page and learn more about a balanced plate and healthy fats

Hope this helps!

 

Cheers,

Anna

 

Reference: 

1. “Coconut Oil.” Harvard School of Public Health, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coconut-oil/

2. "Types of Fat." Harvard School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/

 

Anna NgRegistered Dietitian