Does coconut oil deserve a place in your pantry? This has been hotly debated since the American Heart Association recently released a report advising against the use of coconut oil, blaming the high level of saturated fat and “no known offsetting favorable effects” — or so they say.1
Before you say goodbye to coconut oil for good, let’s dive a little deeper into the American Heart Association’s statements to find out the real truth…
AHA says: Saturated fats, including coconut oil, can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Full disclosure: Research shows that fats in coconut oil can actually decrease risk factors for heart attack and stroke.2-4
Coconut oil is abundant in medium chain triglycerides, also called MCTs. MCTs are saturated fats, which have long gotten a bad rap in the nutritional world.
However, research proves that MCT oils can prevent two of the primary risk factors for heart disease: obesity and arteriosclerosis.
Obesity is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular issues. Research proves the MCTs in coconut oil are well-known for promoting weight loss by speeding up your metabolism and reducing your appetite.5 When you need to drop extra pounds along with your risk of heart disease, you can count on coconut oil to help!6,7
But coconut oil has even more to offer for your heart. The main trigger of heart attack and stroke is arteriosclerosis — the thickening and hardening of the arteries. Studies prove that MCTs such as coconut oil help prevent the hardening of the arteries, as well as the fatty deposits that lead to heart attack and stroke.8,9
Exclude coconut oil from your plate, and you exclude healthy fats that can help lower significant risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
AHA says: Coconut oil raises LDL — your “bad” cholesterol.
Full disclosure: Not all LDL causes damage, and coconut oil can even help decrease levels of overall cholesterol and triglycerides.
The idea of “good” and “bad” cholesterol has been around for a long time. HDL has traditionally been the good guy, while LDL plays the villain. However, it turns out that LDL isn’t quite so straightforward.
New research demonstrates that LDL actually comes in two varieties, and that makes a huge difference.10
LDL can be small and dense or big and fluffy. It’s the small, dense particles of LDL that cause damage and increase your risk for stroke or heart attack.11 Translation: not all LDL is harmful!
On top of that, we now understand that less LDL is not always better. Current research shows that reducing your levels of large, fluffy LDL particles can cause an increased risk of heart disease.12
All things considered, there is absolutely no evidence that coconut oil leads to an increase in harmful LDL. In addition, studies prove that MCT oils can significantly reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels!13
AHA says: Coconut oil has no known benefits for your health.
Full disclosure: Coconut oil is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial that can also help combat disease and slow aging.
Coconut oil isn’t the new kid on the block — over twenty years of research has proven its worth, from aiding in weight loss and decreasing your risk of heart disease to protecting your brain and immune system!
So how do we make sense out of the American Heart Association saying otherwise? They must have overlooked numerous studies that show the ability of coconut oil to fight viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections.14,15
Not to mention that the MCTs in coconut oil support brain health and curb the molecular changes that lead to aging. For that reason, these mighty fats are being studied for the promise they show in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s and other serious neurological issues.16
All that, plus coconut oil helps skin wounds heal faster and strengthens your hair by stopping the loss of protein.17-19 I’d call those some pretty amazing health benefits!
Bottom line: There are multiple reasons why coconut oil is good for your health.
Coconut oil can help lower risk factors for heart attack and stroke, in addition to protecting your brain and immune system.
The American Heart Association relied on 50-year-old studies to state their case, so it’s no wonder their conclusions are outdated and inaccurate. The doubts that have surfaced about coconut oil are a great reminder of why it’s key to have current, fact-based information from trustworthy sources.