Coconut oil: Does it really deserve the ‘superfood’ status, see details

Coconut oil is hailed as a superfood by many health aficionados today. But if you are not careful, you may end up putting yourself at risk of serious health complications.

Coconut oil, liver damage, allergies, heart disease, bad cholesterol, diet, saturated fat, cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary diseases, unhealthy food, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids

Coconut oil is rich in long-chain saturated fatty acids that are responsible for increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. © Shutterstock

Coconut oil is a popular cooking medium in many South East Asian countries including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Today many people hail it as a superfood because of its apparent health benefits. Many people believe that it comes with a range of benefits that extend from helping you lose weight to reducing your risk of many diseases to even slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, other than being good for health, popular belief says that this oil has immense beauty-enhancing properties.

But are there any truths behind these claims or is it just a hype whipped up by people in the coconut oil industry? There are many researches that claim that this oil is indeed good for health.

A research identifies coconut oil as being bad for your heart because of its saturated fat content. According to a study at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a molecular mechanism in the liver explains how consuming foods rich in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids cause elevated blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. This increases the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Researchers say that that the harmful effects of saturated and trans fats are set in motion by a biochemical switch, or co-activator, in liver cells known as PGC-1beta.

They add that saturated fats are found in fatty cuts of meat, whole-milk dairy products, butter, and palm and coconut oils. These foods increase your risk of coronary diseases. Healthier alternatives are polyunsaturated fats that remain liquid at room temperature, such as many kinds of vegetable oils. This was published in Cell.

HEALTH RISKS OF COCONUT OIL

All oils contain saturated, monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids in varying amounts. The oil that contains saturated fat in abundance is bad as it can lead to the clogging of arteries. This is the main cause behind cardiovascular diseases. Coconut oil contains around 90 per cent of saturated fat. This makes it bad for your heart.

Let us take a look at a few other harmful effects of coconut oil.

It Can Increase Bad Cholesterol Levels

Coconut oil contains long-chain saturated fatty acids. This increases the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. In fact, it contains more saturated fat than butter or lard. This is not good for your heart at all. On the contrary, it also contains lauric acid, which keeps cholesterol levels in check. But the risks outweigh the benefits here.

Coconut Oil Can Affect Heart Health

Maintaining your cholesterol level is the key to a healthy heart. And, coconut oil can increase it. So, if this oil is a part of your daily diet, you are surely at an increased risk of clogged arteries and heart diseases. Make sure you switch to a healthy alternative.

Some People May Be Sensitive To It

Some people may be allergic to coconut oil. In them, allergic symptoms may be nausea, rashes, eczema, hives, vomiting and even anaphylaxis. Other symptoms may include a rapid heart rate, facial swelling and a feeling of light-headedness. If you notice any of these symptoms, you must consult a doctor immediately to prevent complications.

It Can Cause Liver Damage

Coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids. If you consume too much of this oil, your liver may not be able to convert it to energy at the same rate. Over time, it can harm the liver and cause irreversible damage to it. People suffering from diabetes or any liver disorder must stay away from coconut oil.

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