Coconut Oil for Heart Health – The Facts


Taking coconut oil for heart health may seem a little strange to some. After all, more than 90 percent of the total fat in the product is saturated fat, and that scares a lot of people. But why does “saturated fat” scare us? To understand this we have to go back to 1977. This was a time when the US changed their dietary guidelines in a major way and the rest of the world was quick to follow. By the end of this article, the way you view coconut oil, and other forms of natural saturated fats, will probably change forever.

Fat Phobia and the Obesity Epidemic

Fat phobia has gripped entire populations around the world since the late 1970s. When this happened, families removed dietary fat (the fat found naturally in food) from their cupboards and shelves. We did this with relentless urgency. We removed foods like coconut oil and saturated animal fats from the diet for good; demonizing them for generations to come. However, you can’t remove a major staple like natural fat from the diet without replacing it with something else. This is where health experts encouraged us to consume more fruits, vegetables and grains, a.k.a. carbohydrates [1].

We replaced real butter with low-fat alternatives like margarines and other chemical concoctions. Heavily processed foods became the new norm on the kitchen table. We also saw an increase in sugar-laden foods and snacking (eating between meals). In short, we stopped eating as much “real” food and began to consume lots of “food-like” products. There has been a devastating consequence to this major blunder. We’re now amid an unprecedented global obesity epidemic, something the world has never seen before. This all began around 1980; just three years after the US introduced their new dietary guidelines to the world. Coconut oil was out and vegetable oils were in. Butter was also out, replaced by plasticized margarines and other low-fat food alternatives [2].

The Scaremongering of 1977

Coconut oil was off the menu because of its high concentration of saturated fat (90%). Scientists told us, based on flawed research and casual assumptions, that a diet high in fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood. This, they said, clogs up the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. But they were wrong, so wrong, on every level. We listened to this advice and replaced coconut oil (along with other “natural” fats and oils) with “unnatural” killer liquids. They named these “vegetable oils,” even though they’re not vegetables at all, but seeds. They’re also unstable polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs), and high in omega-6 fats. These new replacement foods proved to be detrimental to human health [3].

Heavily processed oils are laden with trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oil). From a health perspective, moving from natural fats to seed oils was like swapping fresh air for traffic pollution. From a logical perspective it didn’t make any sense. After all, we rejected nature’s food sources for manmade creations, as if we knew better! Humans haven’t evolved to consume foods created in labs by men in white coats. And the evidence is now out there to prove how wrong we were to suggest otherwise.

The Heart of the Matter

To say it was a mistake to remove animal fats and coconut oil from the diet in place of vegetable oils is a gross understatement. In fact, some experts have now touted it as the biggest myth in medical history. Entire generations have lost out on the health benefits of natural coconut oil, and that’s nothing short of a tragedy. The good news is that a few brave scientists and medical experts have come forward to challenge this paradigm. Thanks to them, people are now starting to radically rethink their approach to diet and returning to food basics [4].

Here’s what we now know, the facts about saturated fat (plant or animal sources):

  • Fact: The science was wrong about the alleged harms of saturated fats
  • Fact: Dietary fat and cholesterol are not the villains in heart disease
  • Fact: Fat and cholesterol are good for you and essential to life itself
  • Fact: Eating fat does not make you fat, it’s fat-producing carbohydrates that do that
  • Fact: None of the fat theories have ever been proven scientifically
  • Fact: Decades of low fat diets and vegetable oils have ruined people’s health on a collosal scale
  • Fact: Heart attacks were almost unheard of in 1900, when people ate plenty of saturated fats

A lot of the diseases around today never used to exist until we changed our diet. Most of us stopped eating real food and replaced it with food-like meals. Obesity and obesity-related diseases are a direct result of poor diet. We now know that trans fats, not saturated fats, cause coronary heart disease (CHD), breast cancer and many other chronic diseases [5].

Coconut Oil and Heart Health

Coconut oil, and other saturated fats from plant and animal sources, is vital if the body is to function optimally. And yes, this includes hearth health. Coconuts are a food staple in many countries, including the Philippines and Thailand, both of which have lower incidences of heart disease than western nations. Regular consumption of coconut oil is heart healthy because of its ability to avert blood platelets from clumping. This alone helps to prevent serious conditions like arteriosclerosis and stroke. The oil also contains something called lauric acid (also present in human breast milk). Lauric acid helps to prevent or reduce high blood pressure and high levels of bad LDL cholesterol [6].

 

The whole range of health benefits of coconut oil consumption is vast. At http://coconuthealthrevolution.com we explore all the wonderful and miraculous reasons why coconuts are nature’s food gift to humans.

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About Coconut Health

Hi, my name is Susan and over the past few years, stories on health especially natural ways to heal have fascinated me. This site was set up to explore the research, stories and health possibilities of coconuts. Feel free to contact me if you have suggestions, questions or to tell me your story!