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Coconut oil and heart disease

In this last post we’re going to be examining the claimed benefits of coconut oil in relation to the prevention of heart disease.

This is perhaps the most widely contested area of debate in coconut oil research. The high amount of saturated fats in coconut oil would seem to indicate that it would have a negative impact on your health by creating more fatty tissues. However research into the chemical composition of these saturated fats has shown that they are primarily medium chain triglycerides, the least harmful, and most beneficial, form of saturated fats your body can use.

Worldwide cardiovascular disease causes over 12.5 million deaths a year whilst in the US over 60 million people suffer some form of cardiovascular (heart) disease. The most common form of this disease is coronary artery disease which results from the build-up of fat, plaque and scar tissue around the arteries.

The most common causes of cardiovascular disease are;

- High cholesterol
- Heredity
- Smoking
- Obesity
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes

This means that coconut oil would seem an unlikely candidate as a dietary supplement to decrease your risk of heart disease but it actually isn't.

This is all do with the type of saturated fats we ingest on a regular basis. Sri Lankan's for example have the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease in the world and their primary cooking oil comes from coconuts. This may seem incidental but there has been a marked increase in cardiovascular disease in Sri Lanka and India that fits with the increased use of vegetable oils which have replaced traditional cooking aids and consumables.

The saturated fats in most western diets are of a far worse kind. These are high chain triglycerides that the body cannot break down as efficiently as medium chains. This means that they build up as fatty deposits around your heart and arteries increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Replacing your oils and margarine with coconut oil therefore actually decreases your risk of heart disease and will help you lose weight.

Clearly then we can see that despite appearance coconut oil is actually a better alternative to other oils and should definitely be used as often as possible in order to improve your diet and reduce the risks of heart diseases.

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