First you hear: eat all the coconut oil. Then you hear: don’t eat coconut oil at all. Then you start researching. Hopefully, your research has landed you here. In my opinion, you don’t need to totally ditch the natural extract. Read on to learn about its benefits compared with other oils, and how to take advantage of them.
Like some of our other healthy oil options, coconut oil is an amazing medium-chain fatty acid. Sure, it’s high in saturated fat, but not all saturated fats are created equal. In moderation, coconut oil can be a great choice.
This particular oil has many benefits that don’t require ingesting. It can also help with skin irritations (depending on the cause) and can be used for oral care to naturally cleanse your mouth. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties and can help treat some infections. It’s also anti-fungal, which saved us with one of our baby’s diaper rashes. Lauric acid is to thank for the effectiveness in treating some infections.
But let’s not forget another reason it gained so much popularity in the food industry. Since it’s saturated fat, it’s one of the best oils for high-temperature cooking and baking. Saturated fats retain their structures when heated at high temperatures. This is not the same for polyunsaturated fats, like those found in vegetable oils, which can be converted into harmful toxins when met with high heat. Another thing to remember about all healthy fats is that it’s important to mix them up.
To help you understand how to properly choose your oils in the kitchen, here are my basic rules of thumb:
– Coconut oil for baking: it adds moisture similar to butter and has such a mild flavor, so it’s the ideal substitute for non-dairy eaters. Though for holiday baking or celebrations, I tend to still use butter. (Editor’s note: Kourt uses coconut oil in her Rice Krispies treats instead of butter.)
– Avocado oil for stovetop cooking and roasting: another high-heat oil that is great for your hot cooking.
– Olive oil for cool recipes: this is what I use for salad dressings, toppings on already cooked veggies, and anything cold.
No matter how good something sounds, moderation is always key. Mix it up and don’t use coconut oil on everything.
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