Generally, saturated fats are classified as harmful to our health and can cause an increase to blood cholesterol levels and serious heart disease. However, coconut defenders say that the research done on coconut oil a few decades ago was inconsistent and faulty. This leads to differing opinions and the general public left to decide on their on. The question remains, “is coconut oil bad for you?”
Coconut Oil Side Effects: The Controversy
Saturated fatty acids are typically bad for our health. The fats can accumulate in our bodies, causing blockages within the arteries. These fats can stick to our arterial walls, causing the blood passageway to be smaller, leading to high blood pressure. Plus, since the blood flow is now sluggish, this can result in blood clots that can potentially clog up arteries in the heart, causing the dreaded heart attack.
Here’s where the controversy steps in. Coconut oil contains 92% of saturated fatty acids. Those levels are extremely high once compared to other cooking oils that only contain about 13-18% of saturated fats. Now, if coconut oil is filled with so much of the bad stuff, then why do some people say that it’s the healthiest oil on earth?
The answer lies in the fatty acid’s chain. Most fats present in food are long chain fatty acids. These can be harder to metabolize and digest. Coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids, which is rare among foods. These MCFA’s are easily metabolized and converted into energy, that they don’t accumulate within the artery walls causing no reason to fear the occurrence of a heart attack. Plus, coconut oil is said to lower bad cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol.
Other Coconut Oil Side Effects:
Putting the heart controversy aside, coconut oil does have other side effects. One of these is the allergic reaction it can possibly trigger. Although rare, coconut oil can possibly cause serious anaphylaxis. This is a sudden, sever, and whole-body allergic reaction which can be potentially life threatening. Patients who have allergies to hazelnuts may develop a cross reactivity to coconuts. This type of side effect only attacks those who are hypersensitive to the fruit, and it is quite a rare phenomenon.
Another side effect that coconut oil potentially has is what Dr. Bruce Fife, Ph.D., would call as the “die-off” effect. When coconut oil is used to treat fungal infections, a “die-off” phenomenon may occur. This is when the anti-fungal compounds of the coconut oil kill of large numbers of fungal organisms, releasing toxins to the blood stream. These toxins can cause flu-like symptoms which will disappear after a few days.
According to Dr. Fife, the “die-off” effect actually shows the effectiveness of coconut oil in killing fungus, and these symptoms are said to disappear in a matter of a few days.
How To Avoid Coconut Oil Side Effects:
For those who are allergic to other foods, especially nuts, take a small portion of coconut oil to test whether sensitive to it or not. Also, it is advised to only take the amount that is recommended. Finally, steer clear from taking in coconut oil that is unrefined and are processed with hydrogenation. The hydrogenation method can cause the appearance of trans fats, which are definitely bad for the health.
Go for coconut oils with the certified seal of approval from the United States Department of agriculture for organic production, and purchase only either organic or virgin coconut oil to minimize, if not eliminate, coconut oil side effects.
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