Posted on Mon, 1 Feb 16
A relatively small amount of raw extra virgin coconut oil daily may help improve heart health and lower body weight, according to a new study from Brazil.
Raw virgin coconut oil has a unique nutritional composition, being rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), lauric acid, and polyphenols with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Previous research has found that virgin coconut oil might help with weight loss but its cardiovascular effects are less clear.
To study the effects of virgin coconut oil, a research team from the Nutrition Institute of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, conducted a study in which a group of adults with heart disease underwent a healthy dietary intervention for 3-months, and then were assigned to either virgin coconut oil (13 ml, about a tablespoon, alone or added to fruit so raw and not cooked), or no coconut oil.
After 3-months of adding coconut oil to their diets there was significantly greater reduction of body mass (body mass index and waist circumference) and a significant increase in good cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations.
The discovery that coconut oil increases good HDL cholesterol is in accordance with a previous study that found no increase in heart disease risk in people who traditionally consume coconut oil despite it being a saturated fat, pointed out the study authors. “Dietary interventions that contribute to the increase of HDL concentrations are rare; therefore, our findings were highly significant and unprecedented in this group of patients with chronic coronary disease,” they commented.
Cardoso DA, Moreira AS, De Oliveira GM, Raggio Luiz R, Rosa G. A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients. Nutr Hosp. 2015 Nov 1;32(n05):2144-2152.