Short Answer: Coconut oil is controversial for arthritis. Because it has lauric acid, which may reduce inflammation, and saturated fat, which may increase inflammation and cholesterol.
Arthritis is a condition that affects your joints, which are the places where two bones meet.
In arthritis, your body’s immune system attacks the tissues that line and cushion your joints, causing inflammation, pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.
This can lead to various health problems, such as joint damage, bone loss, deformity, disability, and increased risk of heart disease.
One of the key factors in managing arthritis is diet.
What you consume can affect your inflammation levels, which can impact your arthritis symptoms and overall health.
To effectively manage arthritis, you should consume anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, and avoid pro-inflammatory foods like red meat, processed foods, sugar, refined grains, and vegetable oils.
Now, coconut oil is a plant-based oil made from pressing the meat inside coconuts.
It has some nutrients, such as lauric acid and vitamin E, but also high levels of saturated fat that can raise cholesterol and heart disease risk.
People usually use it for cooking, baking, skin care, hair care, and oral health.
Coconut oil is controversial for arthritis because it contains both good and bad ingredients.
On one hand, it has lauric acid, which is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
On the other hand, it has a lot of saturated fat, which is a long-chain triglyceride (LCT) that may increase inflammation and cholesterol levels.
One tablespoon of coconut oil can give you 14 grams of fat, of which 12 grams are saturated (60% of your daily needs), 0.8 grams are monounsaturated, and 0.2 grams are polyunsaturated.
It also provides 0.1 milligrams of vitamin E (0.5% of your daily needs).
Lauric acid can help reduce inflammation in arthritis by suppressing the production of inflammatory cytokines, which are chemical messengers that trigger inflammation.
It can also help fight infections that may worsen arthritis by killing harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Saturated fat can worsen inflammation in arthritis by increasing the levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), in the blood.
It can also raise the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol that can clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, coconut oil is a solid fat and solid fats are generally bad for arthritis.
Because, they tend to have more saturated and trans fats than liquid oils, which can increase inflammation and cholesterol levels.
That’s why I suggest you limit your coconut oil intake to avoid aggravating your arthritis symptoms and increasing your heart disease risk.
Stick to no more than one tablespoon per day to minimize the negative effects of saturated fat.
Also, you shouldn’t use coconut oil if you have high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease to prevent further complications.
Because, coconut oil can raise your LDL cholesterol levels and worsen your heart health.
You can buy fresh coconut oil in your local market or can order it from online.
Always choose virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil, which is the least refined and most healthful type of coconut oil.
Because, it has more antioxidants and nutrients than refined coconut oil, which may have been processed with high temperatures and harsh chemicals.
You can store it in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to two years.
Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management and essential medical care is key to managing arthritis effectively.
I always recommend my arthritis patients to follow an arthritis-friendly diet to improve their overall well-being, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.