A team of researchers headed by Professor Kay-Tee Khaw and Nita Forouhi from the University of Cambridge has found that consuming coconut oil daily for just four days in a week could considerably reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The researchers conducted the study on 94 people, all of them aged between 50 to 75, and none of them had the history of any cardiovascular disorders. After dividing the members into three groups, researchers asked them to consume 50 g or about 3 tbsp of either coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter for at least four days in a week.
Through this experiment, researchers aimed to figure out the effect of these fats on the cholesterol levels of an individual. During the study, the researchers found that people who consumed unsalted butter marked an increase in the levels of their LDL cholesterol by ten percent. It should be noted that LDL cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol, and it is responsible for triggering cardiac events in human beings.
Among people who consumed extra virgin olive oil, the LDL cholesterol level was reduced a bit, but the HDL cholesterol was increased up to five percent. HDL cholesterol (High-density lipoprotein) is known as good cholesterol, and an HDL count of 60 mg/dL or above is known for protecting people from heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.
Meanwhile, participants who consumed coconut oil marked a rise in HDL level by fifteen percent, while the LDL levels were also reduced considerably.
Apart from raising HDL levels, consuming coconut oil provides a number of other benefits to individuals. The short chain and medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil are very beneficial to combat weight gain.
Regular consumption of coconut oil is also effective in boosting the immune system. Coconut oil contains rich amount of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, and these ingredients possess anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
Coconut oil is also known for killing off certain types of cancer cells including colon cancer, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer.
The research was conducted as a part of the BBC2 series 'Trust me, I'm a doctor'.