Coconut oil is used for two main purposes that include cooking and skin massage. It definitely has got many nutritional values for our body though its ill-effects cannot be ignored altogether.
Coconut oil has highest saturated fat of any oil. There are three categories of fats. Healthy fats are unsaturated fats that include vegetable oils, fish oils, and oils from nuts and seeds. These fats should be the primary fats in your diet because they are either neutral or raise good or HDL cholesterol but don't raise bad or LDL cholesterol. The less healthy saturated fats found in animal fats and oils including coconut oil used in large amounts raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. Last category of fat talks about Trans fats in processed foods. These are the worst fats, capable of lowering HDL and increasing LDL. It should be kept at minimum.
Coconut oil is very stable at high temperatures while many oils degrade at such temperatures. It is a blend of fatty acids like lauric (44%) and myristic (16.8%) acids. It is this unusual composition that offers some health benefits. The lauric acid (which is a known antimicrobial agent) in coconut oil helps fight infections. Coconut oil strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid. They have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. A study says that the fatty acids from coconut milk can protect against the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.
Coconut oil also provides an excellent massage for the skin. It is a natural moisturizer. When applied to the skin, it relieves dryness and reduces appearance of wrinkles. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. Thus they form the effective base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and moisturizing creams that are used for skin care.
Looking on the other side, coconut oil has the 90% saturated fat. It cannot be denied that saturated fats cause serious damage to your hearts. Unless more research and evidence are found to support the theory that coconut oil does not play havoc with your heart, its use should be limited in one’s diet. It is always better to switch to healthier option of using unsaturated fats by using vegetable oils.