Adyar Gopal Parivar
The Coconut-Cholesterol Relation
By Dr. Mohan Shenoy

      Cholesterol is formed in the liver from fats absorbed from intestines. There is need for bile
acids to be formed from cholesterol to send them back to the intestines to facilitate digestion
of food substances. This is done by the liver which by degrading cholesterol converts them
into bile acids. Cholesterol esters are also formed in the liver and travel to various parts of
the body.

Now the cholesterol level in the serum is estimated by a chemical reaction. Blood is
collected from a vein in the forearm. Serum is obtained after allowing the blood to clot and
separating the clot to obtain what is left, i.e. serum. This serum is subjected to enzyme
reaction and development of a colour. The intensity of the colour is measured. If the
cholesterol level is high then the colour is dark; if low, light. This is the total cholesterol
estimation.

After total cholesterol, we have to give attention to the two kinds of cholesterol viz. the High
Density cholesterol (heavy cholesterol, HDL) and Low Density cholesterol (light cholesterol,
LDL). The HDL does not rush itself to form plaques in the arteries while the LDL does. The
plaque formation is easy with LDL. More the LDL, the quicker the plaque formation. Plaques
harden the arteries and thickens the wall of the arteries leading to a block in the blood-flow.
If the coronary arteries of the heart get blocked the patient may die. Therefore it is better to
have enough HDL and low levels of LDL.

The coconuts are an important part of the diet of the Gowda Saraswath Brahmins (GSBs).
The GSBs also use coconut oil for cooking. In the western countries the GSBs have a high
incidence of heart attack because of coronary artery disease. The GSBs were eating quite a
lot of coconuts and using quite an amount of coconut oil. Some one said that there is a
relation between the coconuts and the cholesterol, the C-C relation. They suggested that
the use of coconuts and coconut oils should be stopped to reduce the incidence of heart
attack among the GSBs.

However, the research done by Indian scientists at the University of Kerala has revealed
why the GSBs in India do not have a higher incidence of heart attack than the average
population. The scientists, Padmakumaran, Rajamohan and Kurup have discovered that the
coconut kernel contains a good protein that reduces formation of fat in the liver and in the
intestines. If the coconut kernel is not consumed and only the coconut oil is consumed then
there is an adverse effect. There will be increase in cholesterol level in blood. But if the
coconut kernel is also consumed then there is a significant decrease in the total cholesterol
level, increase in the HDL and decrease in LDL; there is also decrease in the level of
Triglycerides according to the Kerala scientists. Coconut kernel causes increase in the
cholesterol degradation in the liver to produce bile acids. Esterification of cholesterol is
decreased also. Coconut kernel fed to rats reduced the serum levels of cholesterol,
phospholipids and triglycerides. High levels of cholesterol, phospholipids and triglycerides
are not desirable in humans because it leads to atherosclerosis and later to heart disease
and stroke.
   
The coconut kernel is rich in fibres and provides an ideal dietary constituent for man and
therefore GSBs who consume plenty of coconut kernels are benefited. Those GSBs who
live in the coastal regions of south India use a lot of coconut in their cooking. Coconut
provides good health to these people with its properties of reducing the cholesterol level in
blood and acting as roughage in the intestines. The coconut-cholesterol (C-C) relation is
good for all people if they consume limited quantity of coconut oil and plenty of coconut
kernel. The benefits of coconut kernel are always there whether coconut oil is consumed at
the same time or not. But if the oil is consumed then it is likely that it might increase the level
of cholesterol unless coconut kernel is also consumed along with the oil. Regular
consumption of Coconut kernel keeps the cholesterol level down in those people who
otherwise have raised levels of cholesterol. The rise in cholesterol could be due to intake of
either coconut oil or any other fatty diet. In all cases the coconut kernel reduces the
cholesterol levels to normal.
      
Coconut kernel is best used as a masala ingredient. When we use any masala powder to
make any side-dish, then we add the powder directly to the dish either in the beginning or at
the end of the cooking. But if we grind the masala powder with twice or thrice the quantity of
coconut kernel, then the mixture gives a thickness and consistency to the dish that is
indescribable. Add this mixture to the dish instead of the masala alone. This is one of the
ways to use coconut kernel in our cooking. Coconut milk obtained by grinding the coconut
shreds and then straining it through a cloth is deficient in the fibres but rich enough in kernel
protein.

Concluded.
The C-C Relation
By Dr. Mohan Shenoy, August 10th, 2008
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CONVERSION
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KNOWLEDGE
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LIFE AND DEATH
MULAGENI
YOUR CHOICE
ADULT ALL-IN-ONE
ANIMAL SACRIFICE
C-C RELATION
CHILD LABOUR
The C-C Relation
By Dr. Mohan Shenoy
August 10th, 2008
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