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Kerala to launch Aggressive Campaign to counter “smear” campaign that has taken sheen away from Coconut Oil

The smear campaign against coconut oil began about two decades ago with reports that the regular use of it could lead to developing heart disease

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Coconut Tree, Pixabay
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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2, 2016: An aggressive campaign based on scientific studies will be launched to counter a smear campaign that has taken the sheen away from coconut oil, a Kerala Minister said on Friday.

State Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of an agriculture fair being held here that there was a systematic and organised campaign — involving a section of medical professionals also — against edible coconut oil.

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“We are going to immediately organise a sustained campaign with the help of solid scientific studies proving that coconut oil is the best oil for cooking. In the past, a smear campaign against our own coconut oil affected it so much and many thought it was not healthy and stopped using it,” Sunil Kumar said.

He said the campaign will be part of the policy document which will come out soon.

“In countries like Indonesia, coconut oil is being used to prepare salads and even poured into coffee and tea. We have lost so badly and hence various other cooking oils have penetrated into our kitchen,” said Sunil Kumar.

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The smear campaign against coconut oil began about two decades ago with reports that the regular use of it could lead to developing heart disease.

“The Americans who wanted to promote their soybean oil were behind this campaign along with some medical professionals here and today virgin coconut oil is the most sought after oil in the US,” the Minister added.

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Meanwhile, with the production and productivity of coconut in Kerala declining, newer varieties of coconuts have been developed and will be sold in large numbers across the state, he said.

“We will promote coconut clusters in villages where land will be pooled and the most modern scientific methods of farming will be introduced. There will be a number of agro-processing food parks which will be set up with the sole aim of producing value-added agriculture products from coconut, jackfruit, bananas and other products,” the Minister said. (IANS)

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Exposure to Arsenic, Lead May Spike up Risk of Heart Disease

Since metals are associated with cardiovascular disease even at relatively low levels of exposure, "population-wide strategies to minimise exposure will further contribute to overall cardiovascular prevention efforts," the researchers concluded

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Heart Disease
Even low exposure to arsenic, lead may up heart disease risk. Pixabay

Even low levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment like arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium pose a significant risk to cardiovascular health, finds a study, led by one of an Indian-origin.

Although often naturally occurring, these contaminants have made their way into water supplies and, via irrigation, into the food chain.

Concern has often focused on the toxicity or carcinogenic properties of the metals, particularly at high doses.

However, the findings, published by The BMJ, showed there is increasing evidence to suggest that heavy metals may have other adverse effects on health – including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke – even at lower levels of exposure, the researchers said.

“It’s clear from our analysis that there’s a possible link between exposure to heavy metals or metalloids and risk of conditions such as heart disease, even at low doses – and the greater the exposure, the greater the risk,” said lead author Rajiv Chowdhury, from Britain’s University of Cambridge.

Heart Disease
Concern has often focused on the toxicity or carcinogenic properties of the metals, particularly at high doses. Pixabay

“While people shouldn’t be overly worried about any immediate health risk, it should send a message to policymakers that we need to take action to reduce people’s exposure.”

The study “reinforces the (often under-recognised) importance of environmental toxic metals in enhancing global cardiovascular risk, beyond the roles of conventional behavioural risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity,” the researchers said.

For the study, the team conducted a meta-analysis of 37 studies involving almost 350,000 participants.

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Chowdhury noted that the study highlighted the potential need for additional worldwide efforts and strategies “to reduce human exposures even in settings where there is a relatively lower average level of exposure.”

Since metals are associated with cardiovascular disease even at relatively low levels of exposure, “population-wide strategies to minimise exposure will further contribute to overall cardiovascular prevention efforts,” the researchers concluded. (IANS)