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Coconut Oil Ingredients

author image Chad Bjorklund
Chris Bjorklund has been writing professionally since 2004 and has been primarily featured in peer-reviewed scientific journals such as "Nucleic Acids Research" and "Biochemistry." He has also been anonymously published as a content freelancer for several websites. He completed his doctoral degree in biochemistry at Washington State University in 2006.
Coconut Oil Ingredients
Coconut oil contains several types of fat. Photo Credit: rozmarina/iStock/Getty Images

Coconut oil is extracted from the fruit of coconut palm trees. The oil has many different applications, including medicinal, industrial and food preparation. People use coconut oil for cooking and nutritional fat in tropical climates where palm trees and coconuts are indigenous. Coconut oil is composed of several types of fats, both bad and good.

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Saturated Fats

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Coconut oil is extracted from unrefined coconut milk, and is primarily composed of saturated fats. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats are unhealthy fats that are commonly found in animal-based products like fatty meats and dairy products. Diets high in saturated fats can cause elevated cholesterol levels, which increase the risks related to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Lauric Acid

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One of the primary saturated fats in coconut oils is a fatty acid called lauric acid. According to a review of the scientific literature published in the January 2010 edition of “Lipids,” Dr. Renata Micha states that a significant correlation exists between lauric acid consumption and total cholesterol reduction.

Linoleic Acid

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While it is not a large component, one of the ingredients of coconut oil is a fatty acid called linoleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid, and not a saturated fat. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that has inflammatory properties. However, the body can convert linoleic acid into gamma-linoleic acid, which reduces inflammation and promotes healthy brain function, metabolism and reproductive and bone health.

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