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Can coconut oil improve your health?

From the island idyll, way up upon a palm, the simple coconut may be hard to reach, harder to open, but offers so much to so many.

There is the meat, which is tasty all by itself, or great shredded in desserts and mixed drinks. There is the milk, staple of dishes from Thailand and other regions where the coconut is plentiful.

Then there is the oil. Coconut oil may be the most valuable part of this hard, husky tropical seed. It helps kill germs. It does wonders for a wide array of skin woes. And there are those who say it can help treat more serious maladies, ranging from heartburn to pneumonia. It may even help to heal the planet. An environmentally friendly individual has rigged up vehicles so that a fleet of automobiles can run on coconut oil, which proponents say offers far more miles per gallon and less engine wear than the ethanol we now get from corn.

All these wondrous tales of coconut oil? Well, they are true. But they don't present the whole story. Overusing coconut oil for medicinal purposes may have some very bad side effects, including raised levels of cholesterol and blood lipids. As with many claims for many products, there needs to be more research on coconut oil.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.