The reduction in blood pressure might be explained by the improvement of the reduced baroreflex sensitivity and by the reduction in oxidative stress in the serum, heart and aorta - key factors regulating blood pressure, the researchers said.

"The possibility of using coconut oil as an adjuvant to treat hypertension adds to the long list of benefits associated with its consumption," said co-author Valdir de Andrade Braga from Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil.

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 during the five weeks of study.

"Our next step is to start some clinical trials in order to verify whether we can reproduce those findings in hypertensive human patients," Braga said.

"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," he added.

The study was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.


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