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How much miracle is there really in coconut oil?
A few years ago, coconut fat was only good enough to be heated as a tasteless plate fat in the pan or deep fryer. There were also coconut flakes for the home bakery and coconut milk, which was occasionally used for Asian dishes. Today coconut water, chips, flour, butter, coconut blossom syrup, sugar and coconut blossom vinegar are available. One or the other also in organic quality. You can find them in well-stocked retail stores, drugstores and of course in online shops. Extra virgin coconut oil - VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) for short - is very popular. Some food blogs even put it in the Olympus of superfoods and assign it all-round protective functions.
First of all: virgin coconut oil is nutritionally more valuable than the plate fat intended for frying / frying. But coconut oil also contains over 80 percent saturated fatty acids, i.e. just those fatty acids that official dietary recommendations should avoid. You are suspected of raising cholesterol levels and thereby harming the heart and blood vessels. Cardiological guidelines therefore recommend that less than ten percent of the energy consumed be obtained from saturated fats and instead prefer unsaturated fats from vegetable oils.
However, coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids, so-called MCT (medium chain triglycerides), mainly lauric acid. About 45 percent to 50 percent can be included. In contrast to the long-chain fatty acids that are predominantly found in food, they are digested more easily. The body can unlock them without bile acids and fat-splitting enzymes. It is thought to increase the level of vascular protective HDL cholesterol in the blood. Whether lauric acid only increases the desired HDL cholesterol or the less cheap LDL cholesterol has not yet been conclusively clarified. However, this has a decisive influence on the risk of heart attack. For regular use in the kitchen, high-quality vegetable oils such as olive, rapeseed and walnut oils are still the better alternative. Due to their high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, they reduce the risk of heart attack and supply the body with essential fatty acids.
But there is nothing to be said against the occasional use of coconut oil in the kitchen, for example for the preparation of tasty exotic dishes.Rüdiger Lobitz, www.bzfe.de