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The reality on coconut oil

Ok, so let's get a reality check here. Coconut oil should not be used as a means of lowering cholesterol, increasing your metabolism or encouraging your body to burn fat...just a few of the many so called "health benefits" of coconut oil. Coconut does have some unique qualities that enthusiasts cite to explain its health benefits. But the truth is, the evidence to support those claims is very scarce. If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, coconut oil is not a good choice. Yes, due to its lauric acid content, which can raise the beneficial HDL cholesterol, studies also show that it also raises total and LDL cholesterol due to its high saturated fat content. Some studies that have been done in this area have looked at the Indigenous populations of India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Polynesia whose diets include copious amount of coconut. But, like all studies, we need to look deeper and see that the traditional diets of these populations include an abundance of healthy foods such as fish, fruits and vegetables unlike the Western diet. As always, if you want to take care of your heart health, where the wealth of data directs us is diets rich in unsaturated fat, especially olive oil. A landmark clinical trial from Spain found that people who ate a Mediterranean style diet enhanced with extra virgin olive oil had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease than people who followed a low fat diet.

Of course, there is no need to completely avoid coconut oil if you like it. But just be sure to consider it as an occasional fat to use in your cooking 😉

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