To keep yourself at your healthiest and happiest, it is important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Maintaining a healthy eating plan can seem a bit overwhelming. Maybe you know what to look for in the produce aisle or the dairy section, but you aren’t sure what to do with it when you get home. The way in which you prepare your meals is as important as the ingredients you select. Both butter and coconut oil are popular cooking substances, but which one is the healthier option? Vine Vera did a bit of research to help you decide whether you should be cooking with butter or with coconut oil.
In a one tablespoon serving, coconut oil has 117 calories, 14 grams of total fat and 12 grams of saturated fat. A one tablespoon serving of unsalted butter contains 102 calories, 12 grams of total fat and 7 grams of saturated fats. The percentage of fat from saturated fat in coconut oil is 86% whereas the percentage of fat from saturated fat in butter is 58%.
Based on the numbers alone, it appears that butter would be the healthier choice when it comes to cooking. However, there are more factors to consider when deciding on whether to cook with coconut oil or butter.
Benefits of Coconut Oil and Butter
Saturated fats are composed of building blocks known as saturated fatty acids. Lauric, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids are all types of saturated fatty acids. Some of the saturated fatty acids in both butter and coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids, which may be less likely to be stored in the body as fat tissue than other types of fatty acids. Because medium-chain fatty acids are broken down differently in the body, they may even help you lose weight when used in moderation.
The main saturated fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, which boosts level of HDL (the good) cholesterol and that may help neutralize the risk of having heart disease. Although lauric acid raises helpful HDL levels, it also does raise the levels of LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well.
The primary saturated fatty acid in butter palmitic acid, but it also contains a small amount conjugated linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is thought to help revitalize your metabolism and may have other health benefits. Butter also contains a good amount of vitamins A, D and K2. Vitamin K2 is a heart-friendly vitamin that is associated with a lower level of plaque buildup in the arteries.
Which One is Healthier for Cooking?
When it comes to whether one is better than the other for cooking, the answer is neither. While both coconut oil and butter have positive benefits and potentially negative aspects, neither are particularly harmful or helpful. Canola or olive oils are a healthier choice for cooking, but when used in moderation coconut oil and butter are tasty ways to prepare your foods.
As with all things, moderation really is the key. While neither butter nor coconut oil is particularly healthy as a cooking agent, neither of them are things to completely avoid in the kitchen. Use coconut oil in dishes with bold and exotic flavors, such as a Thai curry or use unsalted butter to make a tasty omelet for breakfast. Used sparingly, both coconut oil and butter can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet.