When researchers in Brazil decided to measure how a popular vegetable oil could reduce blood pressure, they didn’t expect the remarkable results they discovered.
Scientists at the Biotechnology Center at the Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil wanted to learn how coconut oil and exercise could help drop high blood pressure, so they designed a set of lab tests that could analyze changes in oxidative stress and baroreflex sensitivity – a physiological process that moderates the stiffness of arteries.
The five-week study showed that while coconut oil on its own (added to food) can reduce blood pressure, combining it with an exercise program had the most beneficial effect. The researchers believe that this dietary and exercise change in lifestyle makes nerves in the blood vessels more sensitive to the need to reduce tightening of the endothelial lining of arteries. And when oxidative stress in the blood, heart and aorta are reduced at the same time, high blood pressure often returns to normal levels.
“This is an important finding as coconut oil is currently being considered a popular ‘superfood’ and it is being consumed by athletes and the general population who seek a healthy life style”, says researcher Valdir de Andrade Braga. “The possibility of using coconut oil as an adjuvant to treat hypertension adds to the long list of benefits associated with its consumption. Our next step is to start some clinical trials in order to verify whether we can reproduce those findings in hypertensive human patients.”