Trendy Food Topic: Coconut Oil

Hey, Wildcat! This week we are talking about coconut oil, a food that has become more and more popular in the U.S. Coconut oil is a white solid fat that comes from the meat and milk of the coconut fruit. Although coconut oil is called an oil, it is solid at room temperature. It has become increasingly popular in cooking, baking, and cosmetic use. Unlike other sources of fat, coconut oil may actually contribute a fruity, tropical flavor to your dish. This fruity flavor makes coconut oil great for baking!

 There are claims that coconut oil is a healthy replacement for fat when cooking, particularly to promote heart health. However, many studies show conflicting results on coconut oil for heart health. What we do know is that coconut oil is almost entirely saturated fat, the type of fat that is related to an increase in LDL cholesterol and the development of heart disease. On the other hand, some studies show an increase in HDL cholesterol, the cholesterol associated with decreasing risk for atherosclerosis. Additional studies are needed with larger groups of more diverse people to get a better idea of the impact of coconut oil on health.

Currently, the USDA recommends eating less saturated fats, like those in coconut oils, butter, whole milk, and cheese, and choosing foods with mostly unsaturated fats, when possible, like those in olive oil, nuts, avocado, and salmon. Coconut oil should be moderately enjoyed in the diet, alongside a variety of oils and foods that have mainly unsaturated fats.

If you are looking for other ways to use coconut oil, it can be used as a moisturizer to help make your skin and hair silky smooth! Let us know if you like coconut oil or have tried it in our blog comments!


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