Aside from coconut oil, there are many healthy oils to choose from such as olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, etc. All of them provides lots of benefits for the body and are a healthier alternative to common vegetable oils. However recent report suggests that among all the healthy oils available in the market, coconut oil seems to be the best choice for cooking.
According to Samara Felesky-Hunt, a health expert and registered dietitian, people should still be wary of their food choices, even if they are using healthy ingredients such as olive oil, canola oil and even coconut oil. It means that even if one uses healthy oils, it doesn’t mean that one can eat fried foods often. One oul get the best benefit from using healthy oils if it s sompelmemted by a balanced diet.
The health expert also said that some healthy oils are not suitable for frying and they are worried about the ill effects of heating oils at high temperature. Felesky Hunt explains that healthy oils such as flax, canola and olive oil loses its nutritional value when heated to their "smoke point." Aside from that, these oils become toxic and carcinogenic when heated.
Coconut oil is an exception on this matter because it has a higher smoke point and does not break down into harmful compounds.
She said, "This is why we're now seeing a movement back to coconut oil. It has a higher smoke point and because it's a medium-chain fatty acid, it's harder to break down. You can take it up to a higher temperature and you're not going to damage this fat."
"If you aren't frying your food, you could simply use extra-virgin oil olive all of the time, but if you're taking the temperature in a pan up high and you want that crispy chicken, you might want to look at coconut oil," she added.
Another benefit in using coconut oil is that very few people developed allergic reactions to it. It is also recommended for people who are vegetarians and don’t want to consume any animal products.
A naturopath in the Calgary Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Shaun Riddel said that he suggests virgin coconut oil (VCO) to his patients for cooking. He said, “A naturally occurring saturated fat, it comes in a solid form at room temperature, "looks like hard Crisco" and doesn't require refrigeration.”
Another good thing about coconut oil is that is it stays stable even in high heat so it is okay to use for frying. The naturopath just reminded consumers that virgin coconut oil is different from processed or partially hydrogenated coconut oil. The latter has trans fat so it should be avoided.