It’s hard to know what to believe about coconut oil. Over the years, it has vacillated between healthy and unhealthy based on various studies. In recent years, coconut oil re-emerged as a superfood with claims it can improve digestion, moisturize skin, prevent cancer and even help with weight loss. Now, coconut oil is being questioned again with an advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) saying it can put people at risk for heart disease.
Coconut oil is 82 percent saturated fat, with one tablespoon containing more than 11 grams of saturated fat, according to the federal National Nutrient Database. Despite its nutritional makeup of mostly saturated fat, the general public seems to think much more favorably of coconut oil than scientists and nutritionists.
Scientific studies don’t back up the coconut oil health claims. Scientists are not pushing the coconut oil agenda. Other experts, however, say virgin coconut oil’s saturated fats can be a good thing: for example, they can help fight bacteria and parasites that cause indigestion.
The bottom line is food studies are everywhere these days, and they can have conflicting conclusions. If you’re concerned about the saturated fat levels in coconut oil, you can choose to eat it in moderation (or not at all) and add more healthy fats to your diet.
Oils with healthy fats include peanut, canola, sunflower, walnut and olive. You can also add nuts and avocados to your diet, as they are a great source of monounsaturated fats. The AHA suggests replacing saturated fats with healthier, polyunsaturated fats to lower cardiovascular risk and limiting saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
Recipe of the Week:
The creaminess of the roasted potatoes nicely balances the hearty texture of the kale in this Roasted Potato and Kale Hash with Eggs sheet-pan hash. The dish will work for breakfast or dinner. If you are not a big fan of kale, spinach is an easy substitute.
Quote of the Week:
“Being rich is living life on your own terms – according to your possibilities, not your limitations.”
- Paul McKenna