Coconut Oil For Your Good Cholesterol and Heart Health
Contrary to what many people believe, coconut oil helps promote better heart health and good cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, coconut oil has been badly demonized by a lot of people claiming to be experts in food and nutrition. However, we did our homework and here is what we found out about coconut oil.
Coconut oil is one oil that could be added to your list of heart healthy foods. Coconut oil only becomes unhealthy when it is extracted from dried coconuts, according to Professor Tom Brenna of Cornell University. This kind of oil is unhealthy because right after the process of extracting it from dried coconuts, it is then chemically treated in several ways in order to get rid of the undesirable components left in the oil. This is when coconut oil is considered to be hydrogenated.
- Another term for hydrogenated oil is trans fats. This is the type of oil being referred to by many experts as the culprit for many cardiovascular diseases. Hydrogenated fat also means heart-stopping fat, which can lead to clogged arteries, blocked blood flow and heart attack. So it is good to follow a healthy diet.
Look for the ‘Virgin’ Label
Before purchasing a coconut oil, make sure to look for the label that says ‘virgin’. Virgin coconut oil is the healthiest one to choose as it is being extracted directly from fresh coconuts. It is first homogenized into very fine pulp before being exposed to gentle heat. This is when the oil is skimmed without the need of adding harmful treatments just to purify the oil.
- As a result, you have a virgin coconut oil that contains no harmful fats.
What Makes Coconut Oil Heart-Healthy?
A study conducted in India demonstrated the fact that virgin coconut oil contains active compounds such as polyphenols that greatly help in lowering the LDL cholesterol levels, triglycerides and phospholipids.
- It is also found to be effective in increasing good cholesterol levels in tissues and serum. This finding only proves that virgin coconut oil is good for the heart. Still not convinced?
Research has shown that countries who primarily use virgin coconut oil for cooking and preparing different kinds of foods, such as the people in India, Philippines and other Asian countries, are absent of many heart diseases. Plus these healthy people have leaner bodies compared to many people from Western countries that commonly use hydrogenated oil.
Food for thought, don’t you think?
Other Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Almost 50 per cent of virgin coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid is also referred to as the miracle compound because as our body converts it into monolaurin it will then possess some antibacterial, antiviral and antiprotozoa properties.
- Besides lauric acid, coconut oil also has MCTs or medium-chain fatty acids which are smaller compared to those LCTs or long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable oils. Since MCTs are smaller, it becomes easier for the liver to burn and convert it into a source of energy such as carbohydrates but without causing any insulin spikes.
- MCTs have also been proven to boost metabolism that could result in leaner bodies among virgin coconut oil users.
- Coconut oil is not only excellent for cooking.
- It can also be used as skin moisturizer and for treating damaged hair.
Although there are still many controversies about coconut oil, try to filter all the information so you don’t deprive yourself of the heart-healthy benefits of “virgin” coconut oil.