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Is coconut bad for the heart?

Q: I had an transient ischaemic attack about a year back and I am under blood thinning and cholesterol reducing drugs since them. The cholesterol level has come to normal now and I am informed that I may have to take these drugs throughout my life (I am 65 years). At present I am taking Stanlio 160 (1), Ceruvin 75 (1), Pantodac 40 (1), Cobamet 500 (1), Folvit 5 (1) and Persantin 100 (1+1+1). I am now taking 100% fat free diet. I have been informed by many that coconut contains huge quantity of saturated fat. Though coconut forms a part of our daily diet, I have stopped taking coconut for the last 2 years. Strangely I read an article in the Outlook (January 19 issue) which states that fibre from coconut kernel has significant cholesterol lowering action. Coconut oil does not elevate blood total cholesterol, increases blood HDL cholesterol, consumed along with kernel lowers blood cholesterol, does not elevate LDL cholesterol and decreases serum triglycerides. Please enlighten me on this point.

A:Coconut is very high in cholesterol, there is no doubt about it. In my opinion the report in Outlook is not correct. In this connection I would like to quote a study by Dr. Enas A Enas, who studied 40,000 Indian doctors settled in USA. The study went on for 10 years. The conclusions of the study were: The prevalence of coronary artery disease is very high in South Asians. Amongst Indians, people from Kerela have the highest prevalence, probably because of high consumption of coconut in various forms in their diet. The next highest is Gujarat. The medicines you are taking are correct and should be continued lifelong.

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