Coconut Oil is ‘Not’ Bad

Shonali Sabherwal is a macrobiotic nutritionist, chef, and instructor

The American Heart Association recently proclaimed that coconut oil is ‘not’ healthy. I felt the need to clear the air since I have spoken of its benefits in my books: that coconut oil is in fact good for you.

The AHA draws attention on how coconut oil increases LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol known as the bad cholesterol. However, the fact that it can also raise good cholesterol, that is HDL (high-density lipoprotein), is not mentioned.

It’s important to understand and identify cellular damage leading to ‘inflammation’ (body’s coping mechanism against outside elements it can’t recognise or assimilate). Various factors such as consuming refined carbohydrates, and too much sugar and processed foods can trigger inflammation. Also, consumption of refined vegetable oils throw off the omega 3 and 6 ratio causing the body to release pro-inflammatory toxins and produce acidic blood.

Inflammation leads to oxidative stress (cell breakdown) and heart disease. So, what’s clogging those arteries: Just cholesterol or inflammation as well?

Indians consume one of the best saturated fats available: ghee. Incorporating coconut oil as another good quality saturated fat is only going to augment our diets. Cells need these saturated fats to support cell membranes.

Ayurveda talks about the nerves and spinal chord being made up of cholesterol. Consuming coconut oil to boost it will only help.

The AHA brings out the coconut oil debate viz-a-viz heart health. For heart health, you need to stop the abuse that refined foods cause to the body. Packaged foods, sugar, refined flours, simple carbohydrates, meats (excessive protein in the diet), alcohol, and drugs lead to weakening of the heart. As do greasy foods, late-night eating, and large dinners.

Instead, focus on consuming whole grains, especially amaranth, buckwheat, and include pungent foods like raddish, onions, mustard, and garlic. Also include magnesium-rich foods; they help alleviate the not so joyful state produced by heart weakness. In herbs, include dill (suha), basil, chamomile, and mint, and use ghee and coconut oil.

A recipe incorporating coconut oil

Green heaven smoothie

(Serves 1)


Ripe banana: 1, frozen

Leafy greens: 2 handfuls

Soy or almond milk: 1 ¼ cup

Avocado: ¼

Chia seeds: 1 tbsp

Cold pressed coconut oil: 1 tbsp

Dates: 3

Handful of ice


Blend ingredients until smooth and creamy, add almond or soy milk to thin it down.



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