Because coconut oil is whoa about 50 per cent saturated fat, it's solid at room temperature and perfect for baked goods. It can also be used as a vegan butter substitute, says Cording. It has a mellow, slightly coconut-y flavour that works with a variety of other flavours, sweet and savory alike. And while it's super-high in saturated fat, coconut oil is high in lauric acid, too, a medium-chain triglyceride that is metabolized differently from the long-chain triglycerides in most other oils. MCTs are more likely to be burned off as fuel, and some research shows coconut oil may slightly boost the metabolism rate, supporting modest weight loss, says Cording. That said, it's important to keep in mind that it's still high in calories and needs to fit into your daily calorie needs.
Pro tip: Do. Not. OD. Because the jury is still not out on the impact of saturated fat on cardiac health, you may want to be conservative in the amount you use compared to sources of unsaturated fat if you are concerned about heart disease, Cording says.
Other uses: Coconut oil is a multi-use miracle product. Use it as a make-up remover, a moisturizer, or even a way to clean teeth by swirling the oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes or so before spitting out. (It's called pulling, if you're curious.)