A combination of daily coconut oil intake and physical exercise may help combat high blood pressure, a new study claims.
Researchers at the Biotechnology Centre at the Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil set out to test the hypothesis that a combination of daily coconut oil intake and exercise training would restore baroreflex sensitivity and reduce oxidative stress, resulting in reduction in blood pressure.
Their experiments were performed in spontaneously hypertensive rats.
They found that both coconut oil and exercise training were able to reduce weight gain compared to rats that were given saline and were not exposed to the exercise training protocol along the 5 weeks of study.
Either coconut oil supplementation or exercise training was shown to reduce blood pressure. However, only combined coconut oil and exercise training were able to bring the pressure back to normotensive values.
The reduction in blood pressure caused by the combination of coconut oil supplementation and exercise training might be explained by the improvement of the reduced baroreflex sensitivity and by the reduction in oxidative stress in the serum, heart and aorta.
"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," said Dr Valdir de Andrade Braga, co-author of the study.
"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," said Braga.
The study was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.