One of the few vegetable oils that is highly saturated, coconut oil has been accused of raising cholesterol and contributing to heart disease. But coconut oil does not raise blood cholesterol in unhealthy ways. It does raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “the higher your HDL cholesterol level, the lower your chance of getting heart disease.”
In tropical countries where unrefined coconut oil is eaten liberally and the diet still consists of traditional foods, heart disease is rare. Coconut milk is also rich in lauric acid, the antiviral fatty acid found in breast milk (and required, by law, to be in infant formula), which gives newborns immunity.
Calories notwithstanding, coconut oil won’t make you fat. The body burns the short- and medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil first, before long-chain fatty acids such as those in vegetable oils and fish oil, which it prefers to store. Because it’s stable at high temperatures, coconut oil is excellent for cooking and baking.
Tropical Traditions sells unrefined, virgin coconut oil and a rich coconut cream from small organic farms in the Philippines. TropicalTraditions.com