Not long ago, I overheard some of my staff in the conference room talking about the American Heart Association’s latest dire warning about the “dangers of coconut oil.”
I got up from my desk and joined them. This kind of misinformation makes me furious… Especially coming from an organization that sells itself on looking out for the public’s heart health.
Once again, the AHA is twisting the facts because of their ignorance of the science.
And then the mainstream media jumps on the bandwagon and publishes headlines like these:
- “Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy. It’s Never Been Healthy” — USA Today
- “Nutrition Experts Warn Coconut Oil Is On Par With Beef Fat, Butter” — Chicago Tribune
- “This Popular Health Food Is Worse For You Than Pork Lard” — Daily Star
It turns out that the latest bad advice comes courtesy of a Presidential Advisory published in the AHA journal. In it, they recommend that everyone avoid coconut oil because it’s high in saturated faT and leads to high cholesterol levels.
I’ve been shattering the fat and cholesterol myth for almost as long as I’ve been practicing medicine. Of course, the AHA still believe this is what causes heart disease.
The research doesn’t back it up.
In fact, it finds just the opposite.
Weigh The Evidence On Coconut Oil
As you know, I’ve told you before how cholesterol and fat can benefit your heart. I’ve also written to you many times about the heart-health benefits of coconut oil.
And in just the last few months, I’ve seen some very powerful research that backs up what I’ve been saying.
A recent study from the University of Cambridge in England found that coconut oil can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke when consumed every day for a month.
In the study, researchers followed 94 volunteers between the ages of 50 and 75. None of them had a histOry of heart disease.
After four weeks of eating three tablespoons of coconut oil a day, participants had a 15% rise in healthy HDL levels, leading the scientists to report that this superfood can lower your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.1
Another study looked at diabetes risk. It found that the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil significantly improve blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.2 And lowering your risk of diabetes greatly improves your chance of avoiding a heart attack.
Further studies have shown that coconut oil:
- Boosts brain function in people with Alzheimer’s disease3
- Reduces inflammation and arthritis4
- Prevents osteoporosis5
- Protects the liver6
- Improves body composition and weight in women7
All in all, there have been more than 1,500 studies proving coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods on eArth.
3 Ways to Get More Coconut Oil in Your Foods
I recommend my patients use coconut oil every day. Here are three ways you can get more of it in your meal plan.
- Fry with it. Coconut oil has a high smoke point. That means that it won’t degrade at high temperatures — leaving all the fatty acids intact. It’s especially great for pan searing. If you do cook with it, consider getting it without flavor. This is known as “expeller-pressed” coconut oil.
- Make a smoothie. Scoop a healthy serving of coconut oil (it’ll probably be solid, but that’s okay) into the blender. Mix in your favorite fresh fruits. Maybe even add some protein powder. Add organic milk and a little ice. Blend it all and enjoy a tasty, heart-healthy smoothie.
- Take it to go. This deliciouS and healthy trail mix is great for people on the go. It will give you the steady, long-lasting energy you need.
Make My Favorite Coconut Trail Mix Recipe
- 2 cups almonds
- 2 cups cashews
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 cup coconut shreds
- 2 tsp. coconut oil (melted)
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss together until fully combined.
- Place mix on a large baking sheeT and spread out in one layer evenly.
- Bake trail mix for 10 minutes, toss and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- Let cool and dry out completely before serving and storing.
- Oven temperatures will vary so check your trail mix every 5 minutes.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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Sources & References
1. Khaw KT, et al. “Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women.” BMJ Open. 2018;(8)3:e020167.
2. Han JR, et al. “Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects.” Metabolism. 2007;56(7):985-991.
3. De la Rubia Orti JE, et al. “Improvement of main cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease after treatment with coconut-oil enriched Mediterranean diet: A pilot study.” J Alzheimers Dis. July 20, 2018.
4. Vysakh A, et al. “Polyphenolics isolated from virgin coconut oil inhibits adjuvant induced arthritis in rats through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.” Int Immunopharmacol. 2014;20(1):124-130.
5.Hayatullina Z, et al. “ Virgin coconut oil supplementation prevents bone loss in osteoporosis rat model.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:237236.
6. Otuechere CA, et al. “Virgin coconut oil protects against liver damage in albino rats challenged with the anti-folate combination, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.”.J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2014;25(2):249-253.
7. Oliveira-de-Lira L, et al. “Supplementation-dependent effects of vegetable oils with varying fatty acid compositions on anthropometric and biochemical parameters in obese women.” Nutrients. 2018;10(7):932.