Cholesterol is one of the most mainly used metrics for determining your health. The reason is because cholesterol can be measured easily and it’s number also can be easily understood. Another is because high levels of bad cholesterol also pose a risk for your circulatory disorders. So, if your cholesterol level is high, you tend to be exposed to diseases easily.
Cholesterol level is affected by what kind of foods you eat. So the best way to avoid increased level of cholesterol is by understanding what type of foods which will increase the cholesterol level. One of the examples is coconut milk.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a white waxy substance that can be found in all healthy cell membranes and vital for the production of various hormones. Most of the cholesterol in your body is produced by the liver. The cholesterol level in the blood is highly affected by what type of food you consume.
Types of cholesterol
Mainly, cholesterol can be categorized to be two type, the bad cholesterol for your health and the good cholesterol for your health. The bad one is LDL or low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol that tends to lump in your blood stream and restricting your blood flow. It can also increase your chance of having heart disease, high blood pressure, and more other circulatory problems. The good one is HDL or high-density protein. HDL can clean your bloodstream of harmful substances like LDL and triglycerides, meaning HDL actually provide benefit for your circulatory health. HDL also considered as a heart-protective cholesterol.
As it’s name stated, coconut milk is originated from the coconut. It comes from the fluids that occur in a coconut. You know that coconut contains full of coconut water inside it. Manufacturers mixing coconut meat (the white flesh inside the husk) and coconut water to produce coconut milk.
Does Coconut Milk Raise Cholesterol Level?
Coconut milk contains a lot of saturated fat, which is a bad news for cholesterol. According to American Heart Association, a cup of coconut milk contains 2 ½ times the amount of saturated fat that you should consume in one day. The recommended allowance of saturated fat intake to consume in a day is 16 grams, so a cup of coconut milk contains about 50 grams of saturated fat. With that much of saturated fat, it should be clear that coconut milk will only bring harm to your health if you look at it from the cholesterol standpoint. But is it really the case?
Do not forget that we have two types of cholesterol, LDL, and HDL. The balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol is necessary for determining the level of cholesterol. It is true that coconut milk contains a lot of saturated fat, which is known to increase the cholesterol level in blood. But the question is what type of cholesterol that coconut milk raise? Is it the bad cholesterol LDL or the good cholesterol HDL?
Not all saturated fat is same!
The interesting thing is, the saturated fat contained in coconut milk actually structurally different than commonly saturated fat contained in animal products. Saturated fat in coconut milk consists mainly of theistic acid and lauric acid, leaving the palmitic acid to be the lesser amount. The palmitic acid is the most dominant in beef, which is known as a bad choice for cholesterol.
In coconut milk case, saturated fat will at some point raise your LDL. But, it also raises your HDL at some considerable amount. With HDL increased, it will certainly result in the increasing of your total cholesterol. This is what makes many people confused when they check their cholesterol level and shocked to find their cholesterol level increased. But rest assured, your total cholesterol may be high, but you do not know which cholesterol is raised, HDL or LDL. There is no need to be concerned if HDL makes the most percentage of total cholesterol. In this case, since coconut milk also raises your HDL, it is safe to say that coconut milk is not necessarily a bad choice to consume for an occasional treat. But for those who already suffering from high cholesterol level, it may be for the best to avoid any risk that may increase your cholesterol level.