CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) -
1. I hear coconut oil is good for you. Isn't it high in saturated fat?
When I was in grad school, coconut oil was considered bad for you because it is high in saturated fat. Plus most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil.
New studies with virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, show it may have health benefits and that not all saturated fats are created equal.
The main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid; that is different from butter and lard. Lauric acid increases levels of good HDL cholesterol as well as the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood. Because both go up, experts think coconut oil's effect on overall cholesterol is neutral.
Many health claims have been made for lauric acid. You may hear it can combat H.I.V., clear up acne and speed up your metabolism but experts at the University of California Davis say there is no concrete scientific evidence to support these claims right now. And remember, coconut oil does have 120 calories per level tablespoon.
So how would we use coconut oil? Use it to replace butter in recipes, since unlike most other oils, coconut oil is hard at room temperature.
Try it for roasting or sauteing vegetables or shrimp. Add a dab to oatmeal, pop your popcorn, or with the holidays around the corner, use it to make a healthier flaky pie crust or any baked good.
2. Can I trust that a plastic bottle that says "BPA Free" is safe?
Unfortunately, a BPA free plastic bottle may not be safe. It may contain a chemical that is similar to BPA called BPS which is equally toxic.
A recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found BPS in the urine of 97 percent of the study participants. So avoid plastic.
You can see when you put something red like tomato sauce in plastic that there is an exchange of chemicals and the plastic turns red.
As much as you possibly can, use glass, porcelain and stainless steel containers.