Cracking The Coconut Oil Craze
- By , Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
If you Google coconut oil, youll see a slew of stories touting the alleged health benefits of this solid white fat, which is easy to find in supermarkets these days. But how can something thats chock-full of saturated fat a known culprit in raising heart disease risk be good for you?
Coconut does have some unique qualities that enthusiasts cite to explain its alleged health benefits. But the evidence to support those claims is very thin, says Dr. Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, coconut oil is not a good choice, he says. Its true that more than other fats do, possibly because coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid that the body processes slightly differently than it does other saturated fats.
The Health Benefits Of Coconut Water
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Coconut water burst onto the scene and into the fridge a couple of years ago, touted as an all-round miracle drink. But is there any science to back up the health claims? Nutritionist Jo Lewin explains
Quit Smoking And Boozing It Up
Lighting up a cigarette raises LDL levels and lowers HDL levels, Dr. Steinbaum stresses. The good news is once you quit, you’ll see results fairly rapidly: HDL levels rose by up to 30 percent within just three weeks of quitting, a September 2013 review in the journal Biomarker Research found.
Want more incentive? Within a year, your risk of developing heart disease will have dropped to about half that of a smoker’s, according to the World Health Organization.
You may have also heard that a glass of red wine is good for your heart, but the key here is moderation, Dr. Steinbaum clarifies. An April 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that moderate drinking a half to a full drink a day for women and one to two drinks daily for men was associated with a drop in HDL levels.
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What Does The Evidence Say
Research on MCTs cannot be applied to coconut oil
Research on medium-chain triglycerides is widely quoted as supporting use of coconut oil. However, coconut oil only contains a very small amount of medium-chain fatty acids. The main fatty acid is lauric acid, which acts like a long-chain fatty acid in the body.
Evidence in humans is lacking
Research in animals is also widely quoted. This type of research can help build theories , but these must be tested in humans before we can draw any meaningful conclusions. There are only a small number of research trials on coconut oil in humans. Overall, they show that coconut oil raises all types of cholesterol in the blood.
Coconut oil is not typically eaten in the Pacific
Epidemiological research from the Pacific Islands is widely quoted as supporting use of coconut oil. However, this research is on squeezed coconut milk/cream rather than coconut oil. Coconut oil was typically used as a hair conditioner or moisturiser rather than eaten. Furthermore, the traditional Pacific diet was far different to that in New Zealand, based largely on fresh vegetables and fruit, seafood, and with no processed or junk foods.
Does Coconut Oil Deserve Its Health Halo
Its been known for a long time that coconut oil raises blood levels of artery-damaging LDL cholesterol, one expert said.
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Coconut oil continues to be widely touted as a miracle food. Proponents, including a slew of celebrities, claim it promotes weight loss, lowers blood pressure and blood glucose, protects against heart disease, increases energy, reduces inflammation, erases wrinkles and even counters Alzheimers disease. Plus it tastes great, so what could be bad? And if you believe all that, Ill offer to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.
When I see a product with a long list of things its supposed to fix, I know it cant possibly be true, said Marion Nestle, a New York University specialist on nutrition and food policy. Coconut oil has acquired a healthful aura as a superfood and lots of people believe its true. Theyre guilty of magical thinking and need to stop and think, Theyre trying to sell me something. Nonetheless, a survey conducted in 2016 found that 72 percent of Americans viewed coconut oil as a healthy food.
The time is long overdue to relieve coconut oil of a halo that scientific evidence shows it doesnt deserve and instead give consumers a chance to use the $40 they may spend on a 32-ounce jar of coconut oil to invest in foods that can actually enhance their health.
Nor is coconut oil a diet food. Like other vegetable oils, a tablespoon of coconut oil supplies 117 calories, 15 more than a tablespoon of butter.
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How Can You Tell A Good Coconut
When you pick a coconut, you should pick one that doesnt have any cracks in it and feels heavy and full. Put it up to your ear and shake it. It should sound like theres water in it. A browner coconut will have more white meat on the inside, while a green coconut will be filled with more electrolyte-filled juice.
Choose Fish In Water Not Oil
Fish is a heart healthy food, but read the label carefully when you buy canned fish. Doctors recommend that you watch your intake of fat when you have high triglycerides, especially saturated and trans fats. It is a better idea to buy canned fish that is packed in water. You will get all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in fish without the downside of additional fats that may contribute to high triglyceride levels. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week. Fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna.
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Is Coconut Good For You
There are a lot of claims being made about coconut oil. In relation to heart health, the claims are not convincing, and there is little evidence to support coconut oil being called a ‘superfood’.
The research suggests coconut oil is better than butter for cholesterol levels, but not as good as other plant oils that are lower in saturated fat.
What Is Coconut Water
Coconut water is not the milky fluid you get when you crack open a whole coconut. The sort you purchase at the supermarket is a mature coconut, brown and hard with dry brown fibers across its rough surface inside there is a thick layer of coconut meat that can be eaten fresh or dried. Coconut water is extracted from young, green coconuts, long before they have reached maturity and the grocery store shelves. They are the fruit of the coconut palm tree, and are grown in most places that boast a tropical climate.
Naturally sterile from being housed in the fruit, coconut water is often drunk where grown by inserting a straw into a hole in the shell. In America, we can purchase coconut water in glass bottles, cans, Tetra-Paks and plastic bottles, and it has almost invariably been pasteurized. But are all the claimed benefits genuine?
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Ask The Doctor: Coconut Oil And Health
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Q. I have started noticing more coconut oil at the grocery store and have heard it is better for you than a lot of other oils. Is that true?
A. I’ve also noticed that coconut oil seems to be catching on these days. Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter , beef fat , or even lard . Too much saturated fat in the diet is unhealthy because it raises “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. So it would seem that coconut oil would be bad news for our hearts.
But what’s interesting about coconut oil is that it also gives “good” HDL cholesterol a boost. Fat in the diet, whether it’s saturated or unsaturated, tends to nudge HDL levels up, but coconut oil seems to be especially potent at doing so.
Coconut is a wonderful flavor and there’s no problem using coconut oil occasionally. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so cooks are experimenting with using it instead of butter or vegetable shortening to make pie crust and other baked goods that require a solid source of fat. And if you’re preparing a Thai dish, cooking with coconut oil may be essential.
Is Coconut Full Of Cholesterol
Dr. Bruce Fife explains the benefits of cholesterol and cardiovascular health when taking coconut oil.
Video taken from the channel: iHealthTube.com
Video taken from the channel: Health is Wealth
Video taken from the channel: Dr. Eric Berg DC
Video taken from the channel: Lee Health
Coconuts contain lecithin, arginine which is meant to reduce cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced only in the liverhuman and animals liver is capable to produce cholesterol, but not coconut tree because it doesnt have liver, so dont worry about eating coconuts if you have cholesterol
Video taken from the channel: Yuva Naturopathy
Video taken from the channel:
Coconut is naturally free of cholesterol, whether you have raw coconut meat, coconut milk, coconut water or coconut oil. The controversy behind the link of coconut and cholesterol, however, lies in its saturated fat content. Unlike most other plant foods, coconut is very high in saturated fat, which, in turn, could have an effect on your blood cholesterol levels.It doesnt contain cholesterol.
Its high in vitamin E and polyphenols. According to the Mayo Clinic, the oil from fresh coconuts contains a high proportion of medium chain fatty acids. These.
A study conducted in animals revealed that the liquid is effective for reducing total cholesterol by about 26 percent, and increasing good cholesterol to as high as 46 percent. Coconut Milk. This milk is prepared by grating coconut meat, and treating it with hot water .
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May Have Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals are unstable molecules produced in your cells during metabolism. Their production increases in response to stress or injury.
When there are too many free radicals, your body enters a state of oxidative stress, which can damage your cells and increase disease risk .
Research on animals has shown that coconut water contains antioxidants that may help modify free radicals so they no longer cause harm .
In one 2012 study, insulin-resistant rats on a high fructose diet were treated with coconut water. Free radical activity decreased, as did blood pressure, triglycerides, and insulin levels .
Another study from 2014 found that damaged rat livers showed significant improvement in oxidative stress when treated with coconut water compared with livers that received no treatment .
A third study from 2016 highlighted the benefits of coconut water extract on rats fed a high fat diet. Not only did the coconut water help decrease cholesterol markers, but it also showed antioxidant potency .
While these studies are interesting, its important to note that no studies involving humans and the antioxidant power of coconut water have been done to date, and each of the animal studies used different dosages and parameters.
Coconut water contains antioxidants that have shown to be beneficial in research involving rats and mice, but human studies are lacking.
More studies are needed to confirm these effects in humans.
Beneficial After Prolonged Exercise
Coconut water may be the perfect beverage for restoring hydration and replenishing electrolytes lost during exercise.
Because coconut water contains electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, several studies have found that it may be more beneficial than water for rehydration after exercise .
In fact, one small 2014 study out of Brazil found that coconut water improved exercise capacity better than water or a sports drink during a very hot day .
Coconut water is effective at replenishing fluids and electrolytes after exercise. Its comparable to other sports beverages.
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Swap Fatty Meats For Lean Cuts
Fatty meats are not good for you if you are trying to get lower triglycerides. Saturated fat in meat increases bad LDL cholesterol and contributes to high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Switch to lean cuts of meat if you do indulge. Avoid processed meats including cold cuts, bacon, ham, and sausage as these contribute to an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Fatty fish is a better protein choice as it supplies healthy fats that boost heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and tuna boost heart health and may help reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.
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The Truth About Coconut Water
Low in calories, naturally free of fat and cholesterol, more potassium than four bananas, and super hydrating — these are just a few of the many benefits ascribed to Americaâs latest health craze: coconut water.
Dubbed “Mother Natureâs sports drink” by marketers, the demand is skyrocketing, propelled by celebrity and athlete endorsements and promises to hydrate the body and help with a whole host of conditions, from hangovers to cancer and kidney stones.
But is coconut water capable of delivering on all the promises, or is all of this hype?
Replace Saturated Fats With Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat and dairy as well as tropical oils .
While these foods may be tasty, the AHA advises that people who need to lower their cholesterol cut their daily saturated fat intake to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. So if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, that totals to around 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat.
“Any type of healthy fat, whether it’s nuts, vegetable oils, oily seafood or avocados can all increase HDL levels and lower triglycerides compared to carbohydrates.”
What’s more, including more foods high in unsaturated fats in your diet is linked to lowering cholesterol. When overweight people who able to incorporate a daily avocado into their diet, they were observed to have fewer small, dense LDL particles, according to an October 2019 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
And while all LDL particles are bad, these smaller ones are especially harmful because they encourage even more plaque buildup in the arteries.
Try mashing half an avocado over your whole-wheat toast in the morning or making a healthy guacamole veggie dip.
What’s more, people who ate a handful of almonds daily for six weeks were observed to have higher HDL cholesterol levels than a control group who munched on a muffin instead, according to an August 2017 Penn State study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
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Some Athletes Swear By It
Professional tennis player John Isner credits coconut water with keeping him on his feet for his epic 11-hour marathon Wimbledon tennis win. âIt is super hydrating and has kept me going in long matches and prevented me from cramping even in the hottest and most humid conditions,â he says.
He drinks a mixture of coconut water and water the night before a match in difficult heat conditions he routinely mixes a cocktail of coconut water and sea salt for on-court hydration and he mixes it with protein powder for post-match recovery.
Coconut water may be better at replacing lost fluids than a sports drink or water — as long as you enjoy the taste. A study recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that coconut water replenishes body fluids as well as a sports drink and better than water, but athletes preferred the taste of sports drinks.
Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, says coconut water wonât rehydrate the body unless you can drink plenty of it. If you enjoy the taste and can tolerate large amounts, it could help keep you hydrated.
A 2007 study shows coconut water enhanced with sodium was as good as drinking a commercial sports drink for post-exercise rehydration with better fluid tolerance. Another study reported that coconut water caused less nausea, fullness, and stomach upset and was easier to consume in large amounts during rehydration.