What Else Can It Do?
There’s a claim that coconut oil can reduce the mental losses from Alzheimer’s disease by providing an alternate energy source for your brain. But right now the evidence is mostly word-of-mouth and not from research.
Coconut oil does have antioxidants, compounds that may help reduce the risk of disease. But Young says you’ll likely get a bigger antioxidant bang for your buck from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
You may also see coconut butter -- coconut flesh that’s been pureed into a creamy spread. It has more fiber than the oil. Coconut flour is another higher-fiber option that you can use when baking.
What’s the Bottom Line?
While coconut oil shouldn’t be considered off-limits, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype, either.
“This is another case of it if sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Young says. It’s fine to add small amounts to your diet. But keep the focus on healthier fat sources along with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins.
If you want a product with the most flavor, look for jars labeled virgin. That means it’s made with a process that will help it keep more of its tropical taste.