Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad For Heart Health?
Coconut's Effects on Cholesterol & Health
Who doesn’t love the tantalizing aroma of a simmering coconut Thai curry, or the crunchy coconut flakes in a cookie or mithai, but is this divine fruit and its oil contributing to our raised cholesterol levels?
Coconut oil has been the most popular cooking medium in the coastal areas of Asia and the Pacific since generations. It has been described as having a "haunting, nutty, vanilla flavor" that also has a touch of sweetness that works well in baked goods, pastries, and sautés (Wikipedia). The medicinal value attributed to it, the economic factor, easy availability in many areas, heat stability and resistance to rancidity probably added to its widespread use.
Once accused as one of the worst cooking mediums for heart health, it is now being upheld by many as a valuable food for maintaining good health. This article evaluates both sides of the battle line.
What is coconut oil composed of?
Oils and fats are made up of different kinds of fatty acids- either saturated or unsaturated. Most animal fats (except some fish oils) contain saturated fatty acids, which are harmful for the arteries, since they cause their clogging and hardening. Most vegetable oils (except coconut & palm oil) contain unsaturated fatty acids which are considered heart friendly.
Coconut oil has a high percentage of saturated fats and is thus considered by many doctors to be bad for the heart.
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