Topics to impress this week.

1. Just a health gimmick?

Health experts now say coconut oil is as unhealthy as beef fat and butter. It is full of saturated fat, which can raise "bad" cholesterol, the American Heart Association (AHA) says in updated advice.

Health nuts have made coconut oil their magic elixir, using it for cooking and baking, as a skin moisturiser, to heal cuts and scraps, and to add sheen to a carefully groomed beard. However, the AHA says there are no good studies to support claims that it is better than other saturated fats.

The disconnect between the views of nutritionists and the public about the oil could be entirely attributed to marketing.

2. Looking for life

This artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Picture: AFP PHOTO/NASA/JPL-CALTECH/ T PYLE
This artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Picture: AFP PHOTO/NASA/JPL-CALTECH/ T PYLE

Nasa astronomers have added 219 planets to their growing list, and 10 of them may be about the same size and temperature as Earth, boosting their chances of hosting life. They are the right distances from their parent stars for water, if it exists there, to pool on the surface.

Scientists found the planets using Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, through which they observed 200,000 stars in the constellation Cygnus.

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