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Ask Dr. Nandi: Coconut oil tied to decreased risk of stroke and heart disease

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 17:32:23-05

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding coconut oil over the past few years. Some people hail it as the ultimate superfood, while others claim it’s too high in calories and saturated fat.

So what’s the truth here? Should we find a way to sneak coconut oil into our diets, or should we do our best to avoid it altogether?

Well if you want to cut your risk of having a stroke or getting heart disease, you might want to try slipping a few spoonfuls into your food every day.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England found that people who consumed three tablespoons of coconut oil every day for four weeks significantly reduced their risk of having a stroke or heart attack. In just four weeks. That’s pretty impressive.

The researchers had folks eat three tablespoons a day of either butter, olive oil or coconut oil. They did this for four weeks in order to see how consuming these fats would affect cholesterol levels. What they found was surprising.

The butter-eaters had a ten percent rise in LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol.

Those who ate olive oil saw a slight reduction in bad cholesterol and a five percent increase in HDL cholesterol, which is the good kind.

But the coconut oil consumers saw the most significant improvements. Their HDL levels went up by an average of 15 percent, significantly cutting their risk for heart disease and stroke. 

So how can we get the same benefits these participants did? Here are my prescriptions. 

  1. Add some coconut oil to a smoothie. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. 
  2. People with sugar issues, especially, should try getting coconut fats into their diet since it’s known to reduce the symptoms of diabetes.
  3. Try using it for cooking. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of around 350 to 400 degrees. 
  4. Coconut oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and increase metabolism, so for maximum benefits try a couple spoonfuls in every day. 

Now I don’t know if coconuts are the ultimate health panacea — but I do know that research shows they’re one of the best ways to get good fats into your diet.

So swap the butter for coconut oil whenever you can, and reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke in the process.