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Yes, coconut oil has health benefits. It contains medium chain triglycerides such as caprylic acid, lauric acid and capric acid, which have proven medicinal qualities. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties. But overconsumption is not doing our planet any favours, and some coconut oils are not much healthier than margarine.

Coconut oil has been a fairly new trend in Western society. It was probably only about ten years ago that people “on the fringe” started to be aware of its benefits. And it is really in the last few years that the benefits of coconut oil have become well known to the general public, resulting in significantly increased demand.

As with all things, when demand goes up exponentially, we can start to run into trouble.

As demand for coconut oil has skyrocketed, mangroves are being cleared for coconut monocropping, which is destroying coastal ecosystems.. Monocrops decrease biodiversity, deplete the soil, and require intensive input of fertilizer.

And if you are consuming anything other than virgin cold pressed or expeller pressed coconut oil, you probably aren’t doing your body any favours either. Refined coconut oil has usually been extracted using solvents, and is then bleached and deodorised.

Instead of overdosing on coconut oil, choose from a range of healthy oils. Use some virgin organic coconut oil for your curries, or frying, or for roasting vegetables. Use olive oil on salads or for low heat cooking. Include oily fish, avocados and nuts in your diet, and experiment with other oils such as walnut, pumpkin seed and hemp. Our bodies were designed to eat a wide variety of foods, and our planet was designed to host a wide variety of plants. Use some common sense and your body and the planet will thank you for it.