Coconut Oil and Heart Disease: A Love–Hate Relationship

Coconut oil and heart disease share a love–hate relationship that continues to this day. There is evidence that the saturated fats contained in coconut oil could lead to plaque build-up in the arteries which, then, lead to heart disease. Still, the opposing view that coconut oil is good for the heart also has its own sets of evidence. Who is more correct?

coconut oil and heart disease

Coconut is BAD for the Heart

Scientific research has long proven that excessive consumption of saturated fats can lead to hypertension and heart disease. It is claimed that coconut oil is comprised of more than 90% of saturated fat, more than enough to sound warning bells to anyone who cares to listen.

Still, even when these proponents bash the other group who they claim can’t produce hard evidence to support their case neither can they prove with finality that coconut oil can directly cause heart diseases!

For many years now, we have always been informed that coconut oil and heart disease are closely linked. Yet if these people do not have a lot of definite evidence, were they just ruining the reputation of the coconut oil for nothing? Or maybe this is just one of those urban myths that have been going around for so long that you eventually wonder if they were true or not?

Coconut is GOOD for the Heart

Proponents who believe that coconut oil is good for the heart often cite its individual components, refusing to recognize that it is full of saturated fats. The oil is comprised of myristic acid (16.8%), lauric acid (44%), and other forms of fatty acids. This unique blend of short- and medium-chain fatty acids is thought to be the main reason why coconut oil is believed to have healing properties.

Evidence points to lauric acid being able to increase the levels of HDLs, the so-called “good cholesterols” in the body. This particular increase would mean a better ratio between good and bad cholesterols in the blood.

Is it possible that coconut oil and heart disease may just have a bad reputation but could actually make a good combination in reality? A study shows how a coconut-eating population in Sri Lanka is shown to have no incidence of coronary heart disease. Still, the opposing group could easily argue that there could be other factors that prevented them from developing the ailment.

Another reason why coconut oil and heart disease seem to go on a nicer note is that proponents believe that the oil has the ability to help convert cholesterol to pregnenolone. The conversion removes excess cholesterol from the blood, thereby lowering its levels in the body.

Confusing Messages

The confusing messages between these two groups are often punctuated by the possibility that they might not even be talking about the exact same thing! There is such a thing as hydrogenated coconut oil and virgin coconut oil. It is the hydrogenated version that has been proven in studies to cause heart disease while the virgin version is evidenced to help fight heart disease!

The quest for evidence of the true relationship between coconut oil and heart disease has a long way to go for both sides to be able to produce a satisfying and concrete result to support their stand. It just might really help if they distinguish what type of coconut oil they are talking about so that the public can truly have the answers that have long evaded us.


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