Olive oil vs coconut oil: Which is better for your health?

Olive oil vs coconut oil: Which is better for your health?congerdesign / Pixabay

We have grown increasingly health conscious when cooking at home, even though we continue to consume processed, packaged, and junk food almost every day. The kind of cooking oil you use to bake, saute, or drizzle with plays an essential role in your overall health and well-being. The cooking oil becomes even more important if you are try to lose weight. Maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to lose weight and get in shape. There are a number of cooking oils you can choose from. Olive oil is widely used while coconut oil has been marketed as a superfood. In this olive oil vs coconut oil comparison, let’s find out which is better for your health.

The oil you use also depends on what food you are cooking. But here we are looking at only two – olive oil and coconut oil – and how good they are for your health.

Olive oil

It is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been rated the healthiest diet in the world by health experts. Olive oil is rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Health experts recommend it to people interested in staying fit and healthy. But olive oil is great if it’s extra virgin.

The extra virgin olive oil is not refined or overly processed. All the extra virgin olive oil sold in the US i of reliable quality and authenticity. According to a study published in the Journal of American Oil Chemists’ Society, the USFDA tested 88 extra virgin olive oil samples from the Washington D.C. area, and found no confirmed adulteration in any of them.

One tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil contains:

  • 120 calories
  • 14g total fat
  • 10g monounsaturated fat
  • 2g saturated fat
  • 1.5g polyunsaturated fat
  • Zero cholesterol

Olive oil has a smoke point of 350-410 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s perfectly suitable for cooking at low-heat as well as high-heat. According to a study published in ACTA Scientific Nutritional Healththe extra virgin olive oil was “the most stable when heated.”

Coconut oil

Some people love coconut oil while others have questioned its health benefits. Some past studies have linked lauric acid – a type of saturated fatty acid – found in coconut oil with increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The HDL cholesterol is also called “good cholesterol.” It removes other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.

Scientists have found that lauric acid doesn’t increase the risk of heart diseases as much as some saturated fatty acids found in other foods. The primary reason health experts don’t recommend it for regular use is because of its high saturated fat content. It’s not going to make you sick immediately, but it’s not as good a superfood as advertised.

One tablespoon of virgin coconut oil contains:

  • 120 calories
  • 14g total fat
  • 13g saturated fatty acids
  • 1g monounsaturated fatty acids
  • Zero polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Zero cholesterol

Which is better?

Olive oil is rich is monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, both of which are considered heart-friendly fats. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil also help reduce ‘bad cholesterol’ levels in your body. It is also rich in antioxidants, which reduce high blood pressure and minimize oxidative damage to your DNA.

Coconut oil contains about six times as much saturated fat as olive oil. According to the American Heart Association, an average adult should take maximum 13g of saturated fat daily. A single tablespoon of coconut oil meets that daily limit.

Saturated fat has a bad reputation. It’s often termed as ‘bad fat.’ It’s not all bad, though. Several studies have suggested that it helps raise the good cholesterol level. Health experts advise people to consume saturated fat only in moderation.

Coconut oil also contains some antioxidants. But it’s not as beneficial as the ones found in olive oil. The extra virgin coconut oil contains phytochemicals that act as healthful antioxidants. However, coconut oil sold in markets is refined, meaning it has little phytochemicals left.

In olive oil vs coconut oil comparison, the former is much better for your health. The high unsaturated fat content in olive oil can help prevent heart disease. However, depending on the type of food you are preparing, you can use both.



About the Author

Vikas Shukla
Vikas Shukla has a strong interest in business, finance, and technology. He writes regularly on these topics. - He can be contacted by email at vshukla@valuewalk.com