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Coconut Oil vs. Rice Bran Oil for Health

author image Tracey Roizman, D.C.
Tracey Roizman, DC is a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care and a practicing chiropractor. She also holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry.
Coconut Oil vs. Rice Bran Oil for Health
Coconuts hanging on a tree. Photo Credit: iMSVietnam/iStock/Getty Images

Coconut and rice bran oils are specialty oils used for cooking and for their purported health benefits. Coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fat, a fact that remains controversial among nutrition and health experts. Rice bran oil contains 42.5 percent oleic acid -- the same fatty acid in olive oil -- and 39 percent linoleic acid -- an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Though high in calories -- both oils provide roughly 120 calories for tablespoon -- coconut and rice bran oils have demonstrated health benefits.

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Coconut Oil Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Coconut oil reduces pain and inflammation, according to a study on laboratory animals published in the 2011 issue of the journal "Medical Principals and Practice." Scientists compared the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of two types of coconut oil produced by different methods: one by standard drying and one by fermentation. The researchers used morphine and aspirin as analgesic and anti-inflammatory standards and found that each of the oils significantly relieved pain and inflammation. Both coconut oils were found to be effective at relieving acute but not chronic inflammation.

Coconut Oil Antimicrobial Properties

Coconut oil helps speed recovery from pneumonia in children, according to a study published in the journal "Chest," October 2008. In the study, 40 children with pneumonia took 2 mL per 1 kg body weight of coconut oil, along with intravenous antibiotic therapy, for three days and showed faster return to normal respiratory rates compared to a group that did not receive coconut oil. Respiratory congestion was also more rapidly resolved in the coconut oil, as determined by fewer sounds, called crackles, on physical examination. The researchers concluded that coconut oil is an effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of pneumonia in children.

Rice Bran and Coconut Oils and Cholesterol

Rice bran oil lowers low-density lipoprotein, the bad form of cholesterol, according to a study published in the November 2010 issue of the "Journal of Indian Medicine." Study participants, all with elevated cholesterol, used a blend of 80 percent rice bran oil and 20 percent safflower oil for three months. Rice bran oil reduced LDL levels significantly. Coconut oil also benefits your cholesterol levels because it increases the level of good, HDL cholesterol in your bloodstream, explains Harvard Medical School.

Combined Effects

A combination of coconut oil combined with rice bran oil provides blood thinning properties, according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the journal "Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids." The study compared coconut, rice bran and sesame oils alone and in various combinations and found the most effective results, with 37 percent reduction in clot formation, were obtained with coconut and rice bran oil combined.

Serving Tips

Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, while rice bran oil has a smoke point of 490 F, making it more stable for cooking at high temperatures. Use either oil to saute or stir fry vegetables and meats, and use coconut oil in homemade granola and baked goods. Because it's liquid at room temperature, rice bran oil combines well with vinegar for a homemade dressing.

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