Coconut oil has been a topic of discussion since a study came out in June of 2017 questioning its safety. The study comes as a shock to people who have regarded coconut oil as a healthy alternative.
Given its high saturated fat content, it’s no wonder why the American Heart Association warns against it. However, recent research shows that saturated fat may not be as bad for your heart as once perceived. Additionally, coconut oil has many other incredible benefits that may benefit people everywhere.
Coconut Oil versus Vegetable Oil
According to an advisory report by the American Heart Association, replacing foods that are high in saturated fat, such as coconut oil, with foods that contain less saturated fat could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers of the report studied hundreds of papers that had been published since the 1950s. They found enough evidence to suggest that saturated fat intake should be no more than 10 percent of total calories. The study also stated that saturated fat intake raises LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which is a leading cause of atherosclerosis. The study went on to state that cardiovascular disease was lowered by 30 percent when people replaced coconut oil with vegetable oil. The switch was also said to lower the risk of death from all causes. According to the study, coconut oil contains 82 percent saturated fat and may raise bad cholesterol as much as foods such as beef fat or butter while canola oil only has seven percent saturated fat. But this information is misleading to most of the health community who understand that vegetable oil is highly inflammatory and should be avoided at all costs. Vegetable oil is perceived as a healthy option because it has the word “vegetable” in it, so it must be good for you, right? Wrong. Vegetable oils contain high amounts of omega six fatty acids, which are highly inflammatory and can be harmful when eaten in access. Omega six fatty acids have also been shown to cause structural changes in the body’s fat storages as well as in cell membranes, which may lead to DNA damage. Finally, vegetable oils, such as canola and soybean, are high in trans fats, which have been associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Vegetable oils have also been associated with various other diseases.One study showed that an increased amount of omega six fatty acids in breast milk was associated with eczema and asthma in children later in life. Human and animal studies alike have shown that an increased intake of omega six fatty acids was associated with cancer. Another study linked the consumption of high omega six fatty acid intakes with homicide. Lastly, having more omega six fatty acids in the blood than omega three’s is associated with an increased risk of developing severe depression
Research Disproves The Theory That Saturated Fat Is Bad For You
Recent research disproves the theory that saturated fat is as bad as people say it is. According to a 2010 study, the theory that saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol and clogs arteries has never been proven.
When referring to cholesterol, it is important to know where it comes from. Cholesterol can either be VLDL, or very low density lipoprotein, LDL, or low density lipoprotein, or HDL, or high density lipoprotein, but these terms do not actually apply to the cholesterol itself. Lipoproteins are a form of protein that carry cholesterol, fat, phospholipids, and fat-soluble vitamins in the bloodstream. Elevated levels of lipoproteins in the blood are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, but this does not necessarily mean that cholesterol causes heart disease. It means that people who have a lot of blood cholesterol are more likely to develop a heart condition.
The type of cholesterol you eat matters. Despite numerous studies, such as the one mentioned in this article that suggest saturated fats are bad, there has been no clear link to determine that saturated fats raise cholesterol levels. In fact, saturated fat may not raise cholesterol levels that much at all. Several studies have found that the effect of saturated fat on cholesterol levels is inconsistent and weak, and many reports show that studies who found a connection have flaws. Furthermore, many studies defend saturated fat by saying there is no association between saturated fat and cholesterol at all.
This theory is backed by the evidence that some of the healthiest populations in the world eat a diet that is high in saturated fat. Studies of these populations point to refined sugar, and not saturated fat intake, as being the basis for the majority of disease that the Westernized culture follows. Studies even show that eating a low-fat diet may increase your risk of certain diseases by making your blood lipid profile worse and not better. Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate and high fat diets reduced the size of LDL particles in the bloodstream, whereas high-carbohydrate and low fat diets increase them.
Some studies even show that saturated fat may be good for you and there is in fact no association between dietary saturated fat and an increased risk of heart disease. One study shows that saturated fat may lower your risk of stroke, or, worst case scenario, it has no effect on stroke whatsoever. The evidence is clear: it’s time to debunk the fact that saturated fat is bad because most foods that are lower in fat are higher in sugar, which is the real enemy. Coconut oil has a wide variety of health benefits that would be foolish to remove from the diet.
Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has many health benefits that far exceed those of vegetable oil. Unlike vegetable oil, coconut oil is high in medium-chain fatty acids, which are comprised of a unique blend of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oil, medium chain fatty acids are easier to digest, have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and are not readily stored as fat. They are also smaller in size, which makes them able to enter into cells easier where they can immediately be utilized for energy. Finally, they are processed by the liver, meaning they are immediately converted into energy as opposed to being stored as fat.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
Research shows that coconut oil helps keep the brain healthy. People with Alzheimer’s disease lose the ability to create insulin. New research shows that the brain can create its own insulin to power brain cells and process glucose. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil create ketones in the liver, which is readily accessible in the brain to be utilized as energy to help repair and restore brain function. A 2004 study showed that the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil may also be able to improve memory.
- Protects The Liver And Heals Urinary Tract Infections
The medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil contain natural antibiotic properties to kill bacteria that can heal urinary tract infections and also protect the liver from damage. Coconut water may also be able to help clear up kidney stones.
- Reduces Inflammation
Coconut oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to help put disease into remission. One study found that coconut oil worked better at reducing inflammation and treating arthritis than prescription medications.
- Prevent Disease And Boost The Immune System
Coconut oil contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that have been shown to boost the immune system and keep disease away. In particular, coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has been shown to fight bacteria caused by candida.
- Improves Digestion
Coconut oil works to improve digestion in several ways. First, it is high in anti-inflammatory properties that may be able to heal digestive disorders such as irritable bowel disease. It also enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Because of its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties, it can be used to kill bacteria in the gut that causes a disruption in the digestive process. Additionally, the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are easy to digest and they don’t require pancreatic enzymes to be broken down, which helps improves gallbladder and pancreas health.
- Aid In Fat Loss
Medium chain fatty acids have a unique fat-burning ability that can assist with weight loss. A 2004 study indicated that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil mimicked the characteristics of fasting by reserving energy most effectively and speeding up the breakdown of fat reserves that were piling up.
- Balance Hormones and Reverse The Effects of Aging
Coconut oil contains antioxidants that may be able to slow down the aging process by reducing stress on the liver as well as reducing oxidative stress. Coconut oil can also be used to regulate hormone levels due to its positive effect on estrogen, especially during menopause.
With it’s creamy coconut flavour and it’s array of health benefits it’s hard not to love the humble coconut!