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Matti Narkia

WHFoods: What are your thoughts on coconut oil? - 0 views

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    "Coconut oil is a staple food in many parts of the world. You can travel to Thailand, the Caribbean, parts of Brazil, countries in Africa, and the vast southern half of India and find this oil on center stage when it comes to delicious and healthy cuisine. The popularity of this oil is partly due to its stability, ease of use in cooking, and taste.

    Like all foods, the quality of coconut oil has a lot to do with its potential health benefits. Refined coconut oil that has been heavily processed, bleached, and deodorized is not going to provide you with the same desirable balance of fatty acids, or the same beneficial polyphenol content, as either virgin coconut oil or less extensively refined coconut oil (sometimes called "naturally refined" by the product manufacturers). Choosing organic coconut oil is a good way to assure you of higher quality in this regard.

    However, at the same time, there is such a long track record of coconut oil use in many cultures and their food traditions that I will be surprised if the research doesn't eventually show some key health benefits. Some of these health benefits are likely to be related to the unusual fatty acid composition of coconut oil, and other benefits are likely to be associated with the special polyphenols found in this oil (when virgin or very lightly refined). Also, it's the natural pattern of fats found in coconut oil that seems especially important to me, in addition to the blend of fats in the overall diet that results from the inclusion of coconut oil. If you decide to include coconut oil in your diet, I therefore recommend that you continue to use other high-quality oils (like extra virgin olive oil) as well.

    One of the practical benefits of coconut oil is that it has a higher smoke point than many other oils, so that you can cook with it at normal stovetop temperatures and have less concern about oxidation. The smoke point for lightly refined coconut oil is about 450ºF (232ºC) while the smoke point for unrefi
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