Is coconut oil good or bad to your heart?
There has been a lot of speculation around the use and benefits of coconut oil. Though there has not much of a research and studies made yet to prove some of the claims that coconut oil can do. Coconut oil was blamed for few years back as a cause of an increased cholesterol which leads to heart diseases.
There have been studies made regarding the saturated fat that is said to be beneficial to human body which some had made claims regarding its aid to weight loss. Coconut oil has been used by many for skin care and beauty regimen, as well as in exchange to other cooking oils.
The million-dollar question is – Can it cause heart disease?
In CNN’s Expert Q&A, Physician Nutrition Specialist Dr. Melina Jampolis was asked how good coconut oil is and she explained the high saturated fat content of coconut oil which is more than 90%, compared with animal-based butter at 64%. She also added that there has been research involved stating that coconut oil can help raise good cholesterol or what is called as HDL.
HDL helps remove LDL, which is a bad cholesterol that helps in forming plaques that block the arteries. According to one of the nutritionists, it doesn’t mean that the increase of total cholesterol can cause heart diseases.
How much coconut oil to avoid a negative impact?
According to the American Heart Association, you have to limit the intake of saturated fat and that should not be more than 13 grams daily. In line to this, it has been found out that one tablespoon of coconut oil has that amount that your body needs to avoid any negative impact to your health.
According to research, the saturated fat in coconut oil does indeed increase the total cholesterol but those amounts do not increase the possibility of you getting heart attack or stroke. One good thing about it is, researchers concluded that its overall effect raises HDL while it lowers small LDL cholesterols and triglycerides, which is definitely a good thing.
Additional studies have shown that 2 tablespoons or 30 ml of dosage seems to be an effective amount of coconut oil to consume. It has been shown the following benefits:
- Benefit weight
- Reduce belly fat
- Improve other health markers
- Increase metabolic rate
Important note is to gradually increase the amount of coconut oil from 1 tablespoon per day to 2 tablespoons in 1-2 weeks. This is to avoid loose stools or nausea which might occur when consuming high amount.
Research about coconut oil on heart disease
People who used coconut oil a lot even pointed out that the people from Sri Lanka and Polynesia consume a lot of coconut products yet don’t seem to have high numbers of heart disease. A nutritionist also pointed out that those people might have also been exposed to other factors like their physical activity.
In an extensive research made by the head of Food Technology at the one of the Institutes in Sri Lanka, Dr. Janaki Gooneratne, it has been concluded that the consumption of coconut fat at 16.4% of the total energy daily has no cardiovascular disease risk. This research has been made in the Gampha District in Sri Lanka as this place is known to be the “Coconut Triangle” because of the large amount of consumption of coconut products.
Researchers have also identified and showed others that dietary saturated fats do not increase dangerous blood saturated fats but refined carbs and sugars do. It has also been found out that people who have high saturated fat diet had a lower level of oxidative stress and also lower level of inflammation. It has also been identified that these people have better cholesterol profile.
Other studies have shown that carbs worsen the saturated fats which can cause heart diseases. The carbs mentioned are the ones that help in creating more fat in the blood which the process is called lipogenesis. This process is triggered by soda, alcohol, sugar sweetened drinks, sugars and starches.
What made coconut oil an anti-heart disease?
Aside from its saturated fat content that helps increase HDL which fights against LDL, coconut oil also has an ability to lower insulin levels, which means it can aid against heart diseases. This is based on the predominant fatty acid that can be found in coconut oil named lauric acid which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial benefits.
The total cholesterol is not an ultimate predictor of stroke or any heart diseases, inflammation is the major cause of most diseases. Coconut oil is highly anti-inflammatory which can provide health benefits.
There are other benefits of coconut oil that you might want to check to be aware of the great things that it can bring to your health, not only for your heart but for your skin and body as well.
Here are the following facts about coconut oil in reference to cardiovascular diseases:
- Prevents Heart Diseases
The initial claim that coconut oil as a saturated fat is the cause of heart diseases is not true. Prevention from heart diseases can start from consuming the right amount of an excellent quality of saturated fat as found in virgin coconut oil.
- Regulates Blood Cholesterol
Coconut oil aids in lowering the risk of heart diseases because it regulates blood cholesterol levels including triglycerides.
- Prevents Cholesterol Oxidization and Atherosclerosis
It has been shown in studies that coconut oil prevents oxidization of cholesterol, which is the major cause of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries which puts the blood flow at risk. It is sometimes the cause of strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Lowers Lipoprotein Levels
Measuring the level of Lipoprotein is a much more accurate in indicating the proneness to Coronary Heart Diseases. Coconut oil is one of the best oil-based diets that can lower Lipoprotein levels. The prevention from these diseases start by normalizing the body functions which the virgin coconut oil does.
- Eliminates Viral and Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections such as antibiotic resistant strains can be treated with coconut oil intake as it has an antimicrobial effect in the body. It also eliminates the viral or bacterial lesions found on the artery walls which serves as a main role in heart diseases prevention.
What people have to say about coconut oil versus heart diseases?
According to Roderick in one of the forums about coconut diet, he had a mild heart attack way back which he was advised to take a lot of medicines. To his surprise it did not help at all and worsen his condition. A couple of months after, he was then able to come across the use of virgin oil which eventually helped his condition a lot and increased his HDL.
Gayle from the same coconut diet forum mentioned that she too, had a problem with her cholesterol and by consuming coconut oil daily, it improved her total cholesterol, decreased LDL and increased HDL. Not only that, she also noticed that her skin became smooth and soft.
Final saying about coconut oil is…
Coconut oil is good for heart health. Studies and researches have proven the once called myth, of coconut oil as a culprit for heart diseases as a wrong assumption.
Based on the saturated fats content of coconut oil which helps increase the HDL cholesterol and decreases the LDL cholesterol, it aids the body not to store bad fat. The fact that the people who have been using virgin coconut oil for few months, some even years, have proven their claims that this oil is beneficial in avoiding heart diseases.
Know what you take or drink, better to be educated with the right diet for better body and health. And to conclude everything that has been mentioned, coconut oil, with the right consumption, does not cause health diseases. It does otherwise, which helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
You can also check on our review on 10 best coconut oil brands to buy.