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Heart disease with coconut water, Macular hole

Created date

December 13th, 2018
Dr. Marcelis of Ann's Choice in Warminster, Pa

Dr. Marcelis has a bachelor’s in biochemistry from Temple U in Philadelphia. There he also earned his M.D. and completed his internship and residency. Board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics, Marcelis joined Ann’s Choice in Sept 2003

Q: I have heart disease and have been advised by my doctor to avoid coconuts and coconut milk, but is it okay to drink coconut water?

A: Coconut water is the clear liquid in immature (green) coconuts. As a coconut grows, the water is replaced by the meat. Coconut milk is derived directly from the meat of a mature coconut. Both the milk and the meat contain coconut oil, which is a saturated fat and thus associated with an increased risk of high blood cholesterol and heart disease. Coconut water, on the other hand, has no fat and from a heart disease perspective is fine for most people. The water does contain carbohydrates and potassium, so many people drink it instead of sports drinks. Some people believe that it can enhance exercise performance, lower blood pressure, or treat psoriasis, but not enough scientific evidence exists to show that it helps for any of these purposes. Overall, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, coconut water is considered to be safe when ingested in moderate amounts. The potassium content, however, could be harmful for people with conditions that affect mineral balance in the body, such as kidney disease.

Q: I was diagnosed with a macular hole. Is that the same as macular degeneration?

A: Although the main symptom for both conditions is similar—a loss of central vision—they are not the same medical condition. A macular hole is a small break in the area of the retina called the macula. The reason for the occurrence of most macular holes is the aging process, but they can develop because of injury or another medical condition. Most macular holes can be treated with surgery. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a gradual deterioration of the macula due to protein-like compounds deposited on the retina or an overgrowth of blood vessels in the area. The underlying cause of AMD is unknown, although people who smoke or have high blood pressure are at increased risk. There is no cure for AMD, but some treatments can help slow the disease’s progression.

Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. Dr. Marcelis received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. It was there he also earned his medical degree and completed his internship and residency. He is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. Marcelis joined Ann’s Choice in September 2003.