The benefits of coconut oil vs olive oil are widely discussed nowadays. Their nutritional values are almost the same – about 120 calories in 1 tablespoon of oil with 13.5 and 13.6 total fat. Both of these oils are widely used in cooking and personal care, however their health benefits are not the same. Olive oil has always been recognized as generally healthier than coconut oil, though there are a lot of researches nowadays on the topic of coconut oil health benefits. Some even claim that coconut oil can prevent heart disease and help to lose weight, though they are mostly scientifically unproven and questionable. Nevertheless, as coconut oil a good source of fat and we need fat for our body, there is nothing wrong in taking it in moderation.
Coconut oil vs olive oil as dietary fats
Coconut and olive oils are both dietary fats and they contain more than just one type of fat. The majority of fats contained in coconut oil, more than 85%, are saturated. This type of fat has always been regarded as “bad”. Many health-conscious people avoid using coconut oil for this reason. However, according to Wikipedia, recent researches in this area show that lauric acid, which is the main type of saturated fat in coconut oil, is not that bad and is similar to the fat contained in human breast’s milk. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it beneficial for people’s health.
Olive oil contains a great amount of monounsaturated fats (more than a quarter). These fats are considered to be healthy and heart-friendly. They lower LDL cholesterol level in our blood, thus helping to prevent heart diseases. Vitamin E contained in extra virgin olive oil is an antioxidant and it improves immune system and protects us from systemic inflammation.
Smoke and melting points
If comparing extra virgin coconut oil vs olive oil according to their smoke points, they are approximately equal. It is 350 degrees Fahrenheit for extra virgin coconut oil and 375 degrees Fahrenheit for extra virgin olive oil, as Wkipedia’s table shows. It’s worth mentioning that heating both of these oils is undesirable as they become to produce free radicals which are harmful and so lose their health values. When stored in room temperature, olive oil is liquid and it gets solid if kept in the refrigerator. Coconut oil has the melting point of about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so at room temperature it can be either liquid or solid.
Both coconut oil and olive oil are good for cooking at low temperatures. It is preferable to use extra virgin olive oil mostly for seasoning as it loses some if its beneficial properties when heated. Coconut oil is good for frying and seasoning as well as for baking due to its pleasant and mild flavor. In general, you can simply replace one oil with another depending on the type of dish and your taste preferences. Coconut and olive oils are great sources of all types of fat we require for our body and more research is needed to finally claim which one of them is better.