Coconut oil and cholesterol control: Does it help or just a hype

Coconut oil has been used extensively since ancient times. But there has always been a conflict about whether its consumption is good for cholesterol levels or not.

Some organizations advise that the its consumption should be limited or avoided due to its high saturated fat level. Saturated fat plays a major role in raising cholesterol level of body. While others argue that it is healthy in a way as it does not contribute towards building up cholesterol in body.

Reports regarding consumption of coconut oil are still not definitive. Therefore it is difficult to decide whether or not adding it in your diet is useful for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of the matured coconut. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids as it contains nearly 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.8 gram of monounsaturated fat and 3.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat per tablespoon. It is also rich in vitamin E.

Experts suggest that that fat in it is not stored in tissue as it contains rich proportion of medium chain fatty acids as compared to long chain fatty acids. They also suggest that the saturated fatty acids present in it is healthy due to the presence of lauric acid. Lauric acid is beneficial for building up energy level in body than fat. Some research found that having coconut oil in diet helps you gain less weight than soybeans oil. Soybean oil contains very less amount of fatty acid as compared to coconut oil.

Irrespective of its weight loss benefits there are also some other major benefits like:

  • It is easily absorbed in the body and raises energy levels.
  • It is helpful for lowering blood pressure.

Cholesterol factor:

A Study compared the impacts of coconut oil, safflower oil and butter on cholesterol levels. It was found that coconut oil stands out in not only lowering “bad” LDL levels but also raising “good” HDL

Despite some studies claiming benefits of coconut oil for cholestrol levels, it is yet to be established. That is the reason why coconut oil isn’t so widely accepted for it’s cholesterol claims. The jury is still out on this matter.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommendations also points towards similar lines. It prioritizes other healthy oils over coconut oil, like olive oil.

However, newer studies are swiftly coming. Till now, it is well established that saturated fats are not heart friendly. Also, the highly processed oils are not good for your health as well.

Despite its numerous health benefits it is still not widely recommended over other oils like olive oil for cholesterol control. Hope this will give you a brief idea about whether you should add coconut oil or not in your diet.

 

Research sources: