The use of alternative cooking oils has been touted for years to offset the traditional vegetable oils for their fatty contents. Coconut oil and olive oil are both touted for their unique cooking qualities, while offering excellent health and beauty benefits.
Coconut Oil Benefits
Coconut oil comes from a milk emulsion pressed from a coconut, containing about 40% oil. This type of oil is from a medium chain fatty acid, making it absorbed for quick energy throughout the body. While still considered a saturated fat, it is touted for its positive health benefits.
Many research studies have reported that coconut oil lowered cholesterol and stimulated thyroid function. In a study by the JAMA, it was noted that 7% of patients with heart disease that were fed coconut oil daily showed improved results. It has also shown benefits related to high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, bone strength, and certain cancers.
Virgin coconut oil has several types of fatty acids, including lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. These carry various properties that are antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal and more. All of these aid in digestion, immunity, and healing. Coconut oil has also been touted by athletes for its weight loss abilities, as it has been proven to increase metabolism through its easy digestion. Because of this, it removes stress from the pancreas, burning more energy and helping remove excess weight.
Coconut oil also aids in calcium absorption throughout the body, making is essential to our bones and teeth. This leads to stronger bones and resistance to tooth decay. Women that are prone to osteoporosis are often recommended coconut oil as a way to ward it off.
In addition to all the good coconut oil does on the inside, it is also recommended in beauty treatments on the outside. Massaging the oil into your hair and scalp creates not only healthy shine, but keeps away dandruff and lice. It is also a fantastic conditioner to the hair follicles.
Used on the skin, it is thought to prevent wrinkles and dehydration, and is in various creams and lotions. Coconut oil is also recommended in treating eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. It is also used as a massage oil to reduce stress.
With all of the great benefits for your health, it cannot be forgotten that is beneficial cooking oil. The oil does have a slight coconut taste and aroma, making it a better fit for baked goods. It also meshes well with Indian and Thai foods that develop a sort of coastal flavor using various spices and seasonings. The subtle sweetness that it adds juxtaposes the rich mix of flavors. Coconut oil does not mesh well with Italian or other Mediterranean flavors.
“Once I became used to the subtle coconut sweetness in my baked goods, I couldn’t wait to try it elsewhere,” states Kimi Harris of The Nourishing Gourmet. She recommends starting with a small jar of it to be certain the taste is right for you.
The Benefits of Olive Oil
The healthy benefits of Mediterranean diet have long been attributed to the use of extra-virgin olive oil. Derived from the pressings of olives, this is considered the highest quality of olive oil, packed with the majority of its healthy attributes and richest flavor.
This monounsaturated fat is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E. It has been proven to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks. Some studies have shown olive oil to inhibit certain cancers. In the January 2005 issue of Annals of Oncology, a study published identified that oleic acid, found in olive oil, had the “ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene.” This is a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell. Olive oil is also shown to protect cells from carcinogens, often associated with colon cancer.
There are anti-inflammatory benefits from olive oil that are shown to reduce symptoms of arthritis and asthma. Like coconut oil, olive oil is also touted for its weight loss results. The Mediterranean Diet is recommended not only for its heart healthy benefits, but for the use of olive oil with fruits and vegetables for a healthier way of life.
Olive oil is also recommended as a skin moisturizer in small amounts, to prevent dry spots and wrinkles. It is also thought to build stronger nails when rubbed into the nail bed, as well as a fantastic hair conditioner.
The healthy fats of olive oil make it ideal for cooking. The subtle flavor complements a variety of beef, chicken, and seafood dishes, especially when used in marinades. Extra virgin olive oil is the most flavorful, bringing out the nuances of vegetables such as tomatoes, onion, garlic, and more. The finest olive oils are perfect for salad dressings and bread dipping, where you can indulge directly with the taste.
“The taste of a dish for which you need olive oil will be as good or as ordinary as the oil you use. A sublime one can lift even modest ingredients to eminent heights of flavor; a dreary oil will pull the best ingredients down to its own level. Partial clues to the quality of the olive oil you are buying are supplied by the label and the price, but ultimately, the only way to determine which one, among those available, is right for you is to taste and compare,” states Marcella Harzan, a well known chef and cookbook author. Olive oil does not fare well with baked goods, as the taste does not mesh well with sweeter ingredients and baking essentials.
What is better coconut oil or olive oil?
What it boils down to between the two oils is that they are both highly beneficial to your health. Coconut oil is much better suited to baking and for its direct beauty benefits. Olive oil is the better choice for cooking and the ingested benefits it provides. The two have very distinct taste differences, and need to be sampled to determine which fits your palette better.