How can coconut oil help improve heart health?

Extensive research shows that coconut oil increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. That's the “bad cholesterol” that clogs your arteries and creates all kinds of heart problems. So what does all of this mean for your heart? Cori Russell, M, D. Cori Russell is a cardiologist and cares for patients at Henry Ford Medical Center — Pierson Clinic in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Since the fats in coconut oil contain 65% MCT, it may have fat-burning properties similar to those of pure MCT oil (. The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood ketone concentrations, which may help reduce the frequency of seizures. Studies show that coconut oil can increase the moisture content of dry skin. It can also improve skin function, help prevent excessive water loss, and protect it from external factors, such as infectious agents, chemicals, and allergens (16, 17, 18, 1).

Coconut oil is a good source of antioxidants, which provide anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and brain-protective effects. Coconut oil is also very well suited to a plant-based diet as an alternative to butter, lard, or beef tallow. The antioxidants in coconut oil give it potential anti-inflammatory and brain-protective effects (1, 35, 3). In addition, the lauric acid in coconut oil reacts with saliva to form a soap-like substance that prevents tooth decay and helps reduce plaque buildup and gum inflammation (28, 2).

Often touted as seemingly better for your health, coconut oil is a common ingredient in healthy foods. Compared to vegetable fats, coconut oil increases LDL (bad) and total cholesterol levels to a greater extent. While MCTs can increase the amount of calories you burn, keep in mind that coconut oil is very high in calories and can easily cause weight gain if you consume it in large quantities. Coconut oil has become one of the most popular cooking oils around the world in recent years.

The American Heart Association report also included a review of seven clinical trials that examined the relationship between coconut oil and heart disease. Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil, plus some special considerations to keep in mind if you want to include it in your diet. Basically, that puts coconut oil on a par with bacon fat, which has never been exactly considered a heart-healthy option. According to a report from the American Heart Association, it turns out that coconut oil is actually worse than lard or butter.

Similarly, another study found that coconut oil nourishes hair strands and reduces breakage, making hair even stronger (2). An increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels actually reduces the risk of heart disease, so you might think that the increase in HDL caused by coconut oil could be beneficial.

Darrin Balbas
Darrin Balbas

Hipster-friendly tv lover. Hardcore music fanatic. Hardcore troublemaker. Incurable beer evangelist. General zombie evangelist. Passionate bacon guru.

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