Move over olive oil. Another oil is growing in popularity. It's coconut oil.
Turns out coconut oil may have some advantages over olive oil.
"It has a higher smoking point so it's safer to cook with. You don't have to worry about scorching the oil," said Charlie Rea of Nature's Outlet in Roanoke.
At Nature's Outlet several different types of coconut oil are on the shelves. Some are in solid form. Others are liquid.
Rae said coconut oil is also popular because it can boost your energy.
"Coconut oil actually burns as energy before your body can store it. It kind of stokes the metabolism. That's part of why it's popular," Rae said. "People like to drink it in the morning, put it in smoothies, cook eggs with it in the morning and get their engines going."
Some people are also doing an ancient practice, called oil pulling, which dates back thousands of years. They swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in their mouth for 20 minutes everyday. The acid in coconut oil is believed to kill bacteria in your mouth.
"It has antiseptic qualities to it. It has lauric acid and caprylic acid and some acids that will kill viruses and bacteria," Rea said.
Rae did warn people not to believe every claim they read online when it comes to oil pulling. "There are a lot of wild things on the Internet I don't subscribe to, the all over the map benefits of oil pulling," Rea said. "But if you're just trying to freshen you mouth and you have a bad breath issue it might be something to try."
Coconut oil, unlike olive oil, is a saturated fat. According to the Cleveland Clinic Web site, olive oil wins out as the healthier oil for your heart.
Most scientists agree that research must be done to determine the health benefits of coconut oil.