I’ve been asked “how much cholesterol does coconut oil contain?” countless times. And I repeat here – there is no cholesterol in coconut oil. There’s no cholesterol in fresh coconut, dry coconut, tender coconut or any other coconut product! However, coconut oil has been maligned in the coronary circles because of its saturated fat content.
The latest thinking is that trans fats do more damage to the heart and blood vessels than saturated fat. Also, nutrition science has always allowed small amounts of saturated fat in the diet and perhaps this is one of the reasons why the usage of coconut oil has not completely died down in India.
On the positive side, coconut oil contains a type of fat that is found to be beneficial, particularly for those who cannot digest fats easily. Blenderised feeds given to patients in hospitals often use coconut oil because it can be digested and assimilated easily without causing any damage to health. Also for those who require high calories, coconut oil is a good source. Coconut oil oxidises slowly compared to the high PUFA oils. This results in lesser amount of free radicals.
Despite its positive effects, if you decide to switch to coconut oil for cooking, restrict the quantity. Remember that all oils must be taken in limited quantities.
Virgin coconut oil is now available in the market. A young Bangalorean, Kaavya Nag, has started to make 100% virgin coconut oil without using any enzymes, chemicals or heat. Completely natural, Coconess (that’s the brand name) coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconut milk in the traditional manner. Check it out if you wish.
Try to use coconut oil in your cooking once in a while……you might end up loving it!