Coconut Oil And Heart Disease
Essential knowledge about coconut oil
We are all know that saturated fat is very bad for your health but we also know that there are two types of saturated fat: saturated fat from animal source (fat in meat, butter, dairy fats that contains long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) and saturated fat from plant source – coconut oil that contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).
Due to chemical formulas of LCFAs and MCFAs these two types of saturated fat are totally different: saturated fat from animal source containing LCFAs are considered bad for your health, because these long chains fatty acids take longer and harder to digest, they enter the bloodstream before going to the liver and they require enzymes for digestion. In comparison, the chemical formula of MCFAs is small in size so the food gets digested faster, they rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract and go directly to the liver where they are quickly converted to energy therefore they do not require digestive enzymes to be broken down.
- Coconut oil contains essential fatty acids called Lauric acid. Lauric acid is also found in breast milk.
- The composition can differ depending on the production method and variety of the coconut tree from which the coconut came from.
- Virgin coconut oil must be colourless, sediment free, with a natural fresh coconut scent and free from rancid odours or taste.
- It has no cholesterol, no trans-fat and no hidden carbohydrates.
Essential knowledge about Heart Disease
Heart disease typically results from arteriosclerotic vascular disease (AVSD) which is a hardening or “furring” of the arteries. This hardening is caused by the formation of various plaques within the arteries and these plaques often follow an injury to the inner lining of the arterial wall. Injuries can result from a variety of things including infection, smoking, stress, poor diet, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the presence of toxins, viruses or bacteria. If whatever caused or is causing the injury is not dealt with, the amount of plaque and its attendant furring up of the arteries is likely to worsen.
Heart disease, stroke, and AVSD account for nearly half of all the deaths in the United States. Figures are broadly similar elsewhere in Western culture meaning it’s likely that every other person you know will die from one of these conditions.
Coconut Oil and Heart Disease
Coconut oil can reduce total and bad cholesterol. Virgin coconut oil contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are healthy fats that can lower cholesterol, in particular, our triglyceride levels. Virgin coconut oils also increase enzymes, such as lipoprotein lipase, that help break down fat. In addition, virgin coconut oil increases the production of bile, which aids in our body’s digestion of and removal of fats. In animals, this leads to a lowering of the bad cholesterols (LDL, VLDL), triglycerides, and total cholesterol count. There is a growing belief that the consumption of Coconut Oil, as part of your regular diet, can reduce your chances of getting heart disease or suffering a heart attack.
While heart disease accounts for nearly half of all the deaths in the U.S. and similar high numbers elsewhere in the West, this is not the case in those countries where Coconut forms (or formed) part of a regular diet. There, heart disease is much less frequent.
Neither the American Heart Association (AHA) nor the U.S. government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest that coconut oil is any better or preferable over other saturated fats. Coconut oil, like all saturated fats, should be limited to 7%-10% of calories because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the AHA and 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
Studies have consistently shown that coconut oil increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and improves the cholesterol ratio. While coconut oil does not reduce total cholesterol as effectively as polyunsaturated oils do, it has a greater effect on HDL. When HDL and cholesterol ratio values are evaluated, coconut oil reduces risk of heart disease more than soybean, canola, safflower, or any other vegetable oil typically recommended as “heart healthy.” Interestingly, most vegetable oils increase the cholesterol ratio thus increasing the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is definitely the best oil you can use to protect yourself from heart disease.
Even in the general Sri Lankan population, where the average person eats approximately 120 coconuts per year, heart disease is relatively uncommon (1 person out of 100,000 dies of heart disease each year).
How is Coconut Oil Thought to Reduce the Risks of Heart Disease?
In part, coconut oil’s impact on cardiovascular health can be attributed to the fact that it’s mainly comprised of medium chain triglycerides. These readily-digestible fat compounds are short enough to bypass normal fat absorption routes and head straight for your liver, where they are metabolized into bio-available energy in a matter of hours. Because medium chain triglycerides do not need to be stored in insoluble lipoproteins while awaiting digestion.
Since lipoproteins are one of the principle building blocks of an LDL cholesterol deposit, preventing their formation significantly reduces the risk of a clot forming, and allows coconut oil to significantly decrease your chances of developing a cardiovascular complaint.
In addition to repressing the production of LDL cholesterol, the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are also thought to reduce the risks of heart disease by contributing to the production of HDL, or healthy cholesterol in the bloodstream. According to the American Heart Foundation, HDL cholesterol is essentially the opposite of LDL cholesterol in that it carries damaging lipoproteins away from the arteries, and towards the liver for processing. Some experts also believe that HDL cholesterol can help to remove excess plaque from arterial deposits as it passes as well, meaning that it might actually help to widen your veins, and significantly reduce the chances of a dangerous clot forming.