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Q: Is coconut oil good for you?

It depends. Coconut oil has been promoted in popular culture as a kind of all-natural health product. But while it might be a good moisturizer for your skin or hair, the truth is that it can do a lot of long-term damage to your heart. That’s because coconut oil is very high in saturated fat, the same kind of “bad” fat found in red meat, bacon, and butter. Saturated fat has been linked as a key element in cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, and strokes.

The American Heart Association has recommended reducing or eliminating saturated fats from your diet. However, reducing saturated fat is not enough. Because if you substitute in refined sugars, simple carbohydrates, trans fat or monounsaturated fat in its place, there has been no long-term benefit. In order to reap the benefits and reduce your risk of heart disease, you need to replace fats like coconut oil and butter with healthy oils. Healthy oils are high in polyunsaturated fats, which boost your “good” cholesterol and actually have a protective effect on your heart and blood vessels. The chemical composition can change depending on how the oil was processed, making it very important to read the nutrition labels and choose brands that have a higher ratio of polyunsaturated fats to total fats. Visit your local cardiologist or speak to your primary care doctor for more information.

So, keep using coconut oil in beauty products, but switch to healthier oils in the kitchen.

Anil Punjabi, MD


Ohana Heart
Ohana Heart
85 Maui Lani Parkway
Wailuku, HI 96793