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Coconut oil is a member of the family of tropical oils, which also include palm, palm kernel, cocoa, and shea nut oils. These oils have been used for centuries in the traditional diets of people living in tropical regions such as the Polynesian islands. Because these populations experience less of the diseases, such as heart disease, that are common in Western countries, some people believe that tropical oils such as coconut oil, especially in their natural state, can be part of a healthful diet.1, 2 Currently, these oils are used in Western countries in small amounts, primarily in the production of processed foods.
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