First of all, thank you to Stephanie for her patience as I took so long to answer her question, “Are the health benefits the same with coconut oil as they are with extra virgin olive oil?” This post is dedicated to you, Stephanie!
To answer the question simply, No, the health benefits are not the same.
Coconut oil and olive oil are both great choices, but they should not be used interchangeably. Let’s find out why…
Differences between Coconut Oil and Olive Oil
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and is liquid at room temp; coconut oil is saturated fat and semi-solid at room temperature. I would choose olive oil for salads instead of coconut oil due to the ease of flow. Although coconut oil is liquid when gently heated, a hot salad dressing doesn’t appeal to me
Both monounsaturated and saturated fats are antimicrobial and do not go rancid easily. But this is where the differences end.
Why I prefer to use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can withstand heat up to around 350° which is why it is the better choice for cooking with. Olive oil is best not heated (see: Oils Safe for Cooking and Frying).
Coconut oil is the best source of lauric acid, found also in mother’s milk and palm oil. Lauric acid enhances the immune system and due to its antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial nature, it protects against viruses, yeasts, parasites and other pathogens in the gut. When you add coconut oil to your food, the lauric acid in the coconut oil protects from bacteria and fungus in food.
Coconut oil is 92% saturated fat and absorbed for quick energy.
Coconut oil has a long shelf life. Quality coconut oil is stable at room temperature for two years or more.
Quality Coconut Oil
Tropical Traditions has the highest quality coconut oil that I have found. Nutiva coconut oil is also good.
How I Add Coconut Oil to our Diet
I could eat coconut oil right off the spoon My kids prefer it in their peanut butter (see: Make Your Own Peanut Butter).
You can use it when you saute vegetables and make stir-fry’s in moderate temperatures. If you are cooking on high heat or deep frying, however, you’ll want to use palm shortening.
Many nourishing sweets recipes, such as some in Smart Sweets, call for using coconut oil. Pumpkin Cookies (batch 4 baking now) calls for up to two cups of coconut oil (and boy are they soft! My kids will eat coconut bark as if they were eating a candy bar – and I smile to myself that they are gobbling nutrition, not junk food. I use coconut oil to replace butter in most recipes. Kim Wilson shares some great Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and even Brownies and Chocolate Cake in her book Good and Easy Eats.
Coconut cream is made when coconut meat is finely ground, with its available oil. I have been purchasing this at my local grocery store, but I am not thrilled that it comes in cans. I don’t know if there is BPA in the lining of the can, so I will be looking elsewhere. I like that Tropical Traditions coconut cream concentrate comes in glass jars, and will be purchasing some soon.
I use coconut cream and chicken stock to make dairy-free chowders, like Salmon Chowder.
When added to frozen peaches, it makes a great two-ingredient ice cream recipe that is my son’s favorite: Peachy Cream Ice Cream. You can replace the peaches with pineapple, strawberries, or any other frozen fruit.
No, I don’t mean the sugar-sweetened shredded coconut you can find in any grocery store. I am talking about straight unsweetened coconut meat. I roll Fruit and Nut Balls (from Healthy Snacks to Go) in the coconut flakes I buy. I purchased the 2.2 lb bag, and it was enough to fill a gallon! I split the bag between two 1/2 gallon mason jars (placing one in the fridge) and had a little to spare.. Next time I’ll grab the gallon pail for storage purposes. Coconut chips would be great to add to trail mixes or just for snacking straight out of the bag.
Coconut Oil for Healing
The health benefits of coconut oil could fill an entire book. For those with compromised immune systems, Nourishing Traditions recommends 20-25 grams of lauric acid daily. This converts to:
- 4 TBSP coconut oil
- 6 TBSP coconut cream
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut meat
Coconut Oil for Body Care
Another way to get the benefits of coconut oil is for your body to absorb it through your skin.
Read: Coconut Oil for Body Care.
|Lea Harris founded Nourishing Treasures in 2006. A mom passionate about her family's health and well-being, Lea believes education is power. Encouraging others to take baby steps in the right direction of health for their families, Lea's goal is to raise awareness of what goes into our mouths and on our bodies, providing natural alternative information that promotes health and prevents disease by using traditional foods and nature's medicine.|
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