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Olive oil vs. Coconut Oil

How to Choose the Healthier Oil: Olive vs. Coconut

Olive oil has a reputation for being one of the healthiest oils to eat and cook with, but recently, coconut oil is gaining the same support within the health community. With each having their own benefits in the kitchen, here's a guide on deciding which oil is best for your healthy cooking needs.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp. coconut oil
Calories 120 120
Total fat (g) 14 14
Saturated fat (g) 1 12
Cholesterol (mg) 0 0

When compared nutritionally, both coconut and olive oil contain 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per one-tablespoon serving; the significant difference being that coconut oil contains more saturated fat, primarily lauric acid. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting daily fat intake to 25 to 35 percent of total calories consumed, and saturated fat to less than seven percent. If you're going to eat saturated fat (especially if you have a history of heart issues or high cholesterol), limit your intake, and choose sources like dairy products or meat that also offer protein, calcium, and iron.

Wait a second — what about all the claims that coconut oil can cure obesity, cancer, and thyroid disease, lower your cholesterol, and boost your immune system? That's just it, these amazing health benefits are just claims. Presently, there have been no large studies to support the benefits associated with using coconut oil in meals, and the health and medical communities remain divided. Until more evidence comes out, you may want to wait before cooking everything with coconut oil (but because of its higher smoke point, it might work well in certain instances). When possible, choose a bottle of heart-healthy olive oil. The main type of fat found in all types of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which offer proven health benefits including lowering cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

If you're vegan, coconut oil does make a great substitution for butter since it gives baked goods that same flaky, rich consistency and taste. But since it contains slightly more calories (20 more per tablespoon), it doesn't exactly give you the go-ahead to devour an entire plate of just-baked vegan cookies.

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