The Philippines is the second-largest producer of coconuts in the world. From the juice to the meat, all the way down to the coconut shell - Filipinos surely know that it is a versatile fruit with so many uses and benefits. Coconuts are one of the most important crops of the country. We can eat its fresh meat, drink the juice, and even use the husk for waxing our floors!
Today, we will be focusing on how coconut is used to make coconut oil. We will find out why it's so popular in the health food industry, what the different kinds are, and the many ways we can use it to our benefit. We also asked Samantha Morales, a nutritionist-dietitian, for some of her comments and tips. By the end of this article, you will understand why people go loco for the coco!
Samantha began her career in clinical nutrition and weight management at a tertiary hospital in Manila, Philippines. Her practice allowed her to give nutrition counseling and plan modified diets for patients with medical conditions. Presently, she does private practice to focus on true holistic wellness - an approach that believes in aligning one's mind, body, and spiritual well-being.
Coconut oil comes from pressing the kernels, meat, and milk of the coconut palm and fruit. It is widely used in food and beauty products because coconut oil is rich in heart-healthy fatty acids and contains no cholesterol.
The fatty acids found in coconut oil don't only encourage fat burning but also provides energy for both the body and brain! In beauty, coconut oil can even be used as a moisturizer to nourish the skin, hair, and nails. How amazing!
Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acid or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs are easily digested and converted to energy instead of being stored as fat in the liver. Most commercially made coconut oils are made from copra, the dried-up meat from coconuts.
A good quality coconut oil must not be refined, bleached, or deodorized. Producing coconut oil usually involves chemical solvents and bleaching agents that may destroy the nutrients and may create trans fats that may pose health risks.
Not all coconut oils are the same. You may encounter different varieties when shopping, and this can be a bit confusing if you're not that familiar with them. Don't worry though! We have the perfect guide to help you choose the best coconut oil.
To make sure that you get the best coconut oil that meets your needs and preferences, lets's decode what the labels mean.
We all know there's a clear distinction between "virgin" olive oil and "extra-virgin" olive oil. But with coconut oil, the labels "pure", "virgin" and "extra-virgin" oils actually mean the same thing. These are considered unrefined coconut oil because it has no added chemicals and flavor.
Virgin coconut oil is basically the essence of the coconut. It is extracted from the first pressing of fresh coconut meat - where it packs all the nutrients of the coconut - and boasts a strong scent and flavor. This type is good for cooking or baking in low temperatures, but it usually costs more than refined coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil is made without the use of heat. The fresh coconuts are cold-pressed and turned into an emulsion. The emulsion will then be placed in a centrifuge where the oil is separated from the water. This can be used for frying, sauteing, baking, as a skin moisturizer, for oil-pulling, or taken as is in coffee or smoothies.
Refined coconut oil is made from copra or dried coconut meat. It is pressed to release the oil, processed with the use of heat or steam, and sometimes added with chemical solvents. The refinement process bleaches the oil, removes impurities, and strips away some of the nutrients and flavor.
Some labels list their bottles as "RBD oil" which stands for “refined, bleached, and deodorized”. Compared to its unrefined counterpart, this type has a higher smoking point which makes it ideal for cooking in high temperatures, such as deep-frying.
Its shelf life is much longer, and it's easily available in the market with prices far cheaper than VCOs. This oil is also odorless and flavorless, so it's the healthier alternative to regular cooking oil.
Since refined coconut oil undergoes several processes that involve the use of harmful chemicals, bleaching agents, and hydrogenation processes, the nutritional quality of this oil is poor. It has no odor and coconut flavor in it. That's why it is mostly marketed as a neutral-flavored cooking oil in some dishes. Nutrition-wise, this is not healthy to consume.
MCT Oil is a refined version of coconut oil, which only contains MCT. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fat that is digested by the body easily. It's used to increase your energy, satiate your sugar cravings, and help with weight loss.
It is a supplement often added to dips, dressings, and drinks such as a healthy smoothie or a cup of coffee. What's the difference between regular coconut oil and MCT oil? Coconut oil contains MCT of about 54%, which is best used for your cooking needs and beauty regimen.
MCT oil, on the other hand, is concentrated with 100% MCT, which is best used for diets and energy production. Add MCT to your bulletproof coffee, and you get a day's worth of energy!
Coconut oil is one great source of MCT. MCTs, a form of saturated fatty acids, are directly transported to the liver then used as a clean-burning fuel for the entire body and brain. It is a good source of fat that can be added to smoothies, salad dressings, or even coffee since it's tasteless and odorless.
Fractionated coconut oil is basically the non-edible version of MCT oil. Both contain the same medium-chain-triglycerides, although MCT oil is purer and safer to eat. Fractionated coconut oil is flavorless and odorless, but not edible - so its main purpose is to moisturize your skin.
Massage therapists love using this oil because it has a very light nature and it's easily absorbed by the skin. Unlike most MCT oils, it contains lauric acid which is a powerful germ-killer. Fractionated coconut oil can also improve dry skin and even reduce the symptoms of eczema - a wonderful addition to your skincare routine!
Fractionated coconut oil is processed through hydrolysis or steam distillation to remove the long-chain fatty acids. At lower temperatures, fractionated coconut oil stays liquid in form compared to virgin coconut oil, which solidifies at low temperatures. Fractionated coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin, so it is a preferred carrier of essential oils for skin application.
There are basically three types of oil extraction methods: cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, and centrifuged. When taking your pick, go for cold-pressed coconut oil. The cold-pressed type uses a temperature-controlled environment during the entire extraction process. This process helps maintain its nutritional value.
Since coconut oil has nutrients with antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties - you would want to get the type that keeps all of them. Cold-pressed coconut oil can be taken as a daily health supplement when added to your drinks or meals, or you can apply it to your skin, hair, and nails for that extra nourishment.
Cold-pressed coconut oil is made using a cold-press technology that involves pressing the coconut meat at a low temperature. This is one of the most effective ways to retain the nutritional qualities of the oil. Since it's unrefined, there is a distinct coconutty smell, delicious taste, and aroma. The process of extraction is tedious, which is why the price is a bit higher.
Here are our Top 10 picks for the best coconut oils available online. Now that we have decoded the labels, we believe choosing the best fit won't be a problem. Take a look at our comparison table as well to easily determine the different types and prices.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Features||FDA approved, Organic, Vegan-Friendly, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, 65% MCT|
|Features||Organic, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, GMO Free, Gluten-Free, Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Silicone-Free, Scent-Free, Baby Safe|
|Features||Organic, Vegan-friendly, Keto-friendly, BPA-free, Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Palm-free, Non-GMO|
|Features||Organic, Unflavored, Odorless|
|Features||Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Aperient, Diuretic|
|Features||USDA-certified, Organic, Vegan-friendly, Cruelty-free, No harmful chemicals|
|Features||All-natural, Neutral flavor and smell, High smoking point, Zero trans-fat, USDA-certified|
|Extraction Process||Mechanically Pressed|
|Features||Organic, Vegan-friendly, Non-GMO, Trans-fat-free, High smoking point|
GreenLife Home of Coconut Products
GreenLife of Home Coconut Products
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
100% Coco MCT Oil
Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Pure Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Premium Coconut Cooking Oil
Organic Pure Coconut Cooking Oil
Organic VCO of Superior Quality
100% Pure and Unadulterated VCO
Coconut Goodness Preserved in a Jar
Miracle in a Bottle
Elixir for the Keto Diet
Food-Grade Virgin Coconut Oil
Thick and Sweet with a Distinct Flavor and Aroma
Revive Damaged Hair and Soothe Dry Skin
Organic Coconut Oil for Deep Frying
Healthy Cooking With Pure Organic Coconut Oil
|Price Starts at||₱130||₱195||₱180||₱800||₱700||₱169||₱550||₱319.75||₱142||₱335|
|Type||Virgin, Unrefined||Virgin, Unrefined||Virgin, Unrefined||MCT||MCT||Virgin, Unrefined||Virgin, Unrefined||Virgin, Unrefined||Refined||Refined|
|Amount||250 ml||265 ml||10 oz||500 ml||250 ml||250 ml||1000 ml||200 ml||1 L||2 L|
|Extraction Process||Cold-Pressed||Cold-Pressed||Cold-Pressed||-||-||Cold-Pressed||Cold-Pressed||Cold-Pressed||-||Mechanically Pressed|
|Features||FDA approved, Organic, Vegan-Friendly, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, 65% MCT||Organic, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, GMO Free, Gluten-Free, Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Silicone-Free, Scent-Free, Baby Safe||Organic||Organic, Vegan-friendly, Keto-friendly, BPA-free, Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Palm-free, Non-GMO||Organic, Unflavored, Odorless||Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Aperient, Diuretic||Organic||USDA-certified, Organic, Vegan-friendly, Cruelty-free, No harmful chemicals||All-natural, Neutral flavor and smell, High smoking point, Zero trans-fat, USDA-certified||Organic, Vegan-friendly, Non-GMO, Trans-fat-free, High smoking point|
Here are some ways you can use your coconut oil to its full potential. Read the first part for storage tips and the second part for more ways you can use coconut oil.
You may ask yourself, "Why are some coconut oils in liquid form, and why do some look like a frozen block?" Depending on the environment and temperature, coconut oil may take a solid or liquid form.
Don't worry if your oil looks different from the pictures; it doesn't mean it's gone bad. However, do keep in mind that constant temperature changes may affect its shelf-life. Coconut oil naturally has a long shelf-life that can go up to 2 years - but there are chances that it can go rancid if not stored properly.
Although it isn't necessary, you may opt to keep your coconut oil in the refrigerator or tightly seal it in a container and have it stored in a cool, dry place. Note that exposure to oxygen can break down the oil and make it spoil faster!
Coconut oil can be stored for up to 2 years in the pantry as long as it's in an air-tight container. There's no need to refrigerate. Naturally, coconut oil solidifies at low temperatures. It easily melts at 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coconut oil is extremely versatile and is filled with a lot of goodness and benefits. Many manufacturers suggest taking it as a dietary supplement as a health booster or applying it topically to keep yourself moisturized. Yet, the uses of coconut oil do not end there! Here are other ways of using it:
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy that claims to improve dental health and hygiene such as teeth whitening and freshening of the breath. It involves using the oil as a mouthwash, swishing it around the mouth. Since coconut oil has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it's a great choice!
What You'll Need:
Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice. It simply uses oil (preferably coconut oil) to be swished around the teeth and gums for about 20 minutes. Based on studies, it reduces plaque, improves gum health, and improves bad breath.
If you don't want to spend on body scrubs, you can make a DIY version at home. Exfoliating your skin regularly removes dead skin cells, improves skin texture, and combats the aging process. Combine that with the moisturizing benefits of coconut oil, and your skin will thank you! Here is an easy and all-natural 2-ingredient recipe that will leave your skin smooth and moisturized:
What You'll Need:
Since coconut oil offers anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, it can moisturize and make the skin fresh. You can create a simple body scrub recipe by combining about 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1 tablespoon raw honey, then add 4-5 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil.
Make sure the essential oils you will be using are certified pure and therapeutic-grade since these will be directly absorbed through your skin, to your bloodstream, then to your organs.
Coconut oil is a safe, all-natural, and effective insect repellent. Some studies show that it is more effective than DEET, an active ingredient found in commercially available synthetic insect repellents. Not only will you keep the insects away, but you'll get to nourish your skin during the process as coconut oil is nature's moisturizer.
What You'll Need:
According to research, coconut oil's extracted compounds have been found to be an effective insect repellent than DEET (a compound that is present in commercial insect sprays). Coconut oil is comprised of fatty acids namely lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have been found to be more effective than the harmful DEET.
Still have some unanswered questions on your mind? Let this article's expert, Samantha Morales, answer them for you!
The answer is about 1 to 2 tablespoons a day. When taking virgin coconut oil, I suggest trying 1 to 2 teaspoons, then gradually increase up to 1 to 2 tablespoons per day over a period of 1 to 2 weeks.
Coconut oil is stable enough to be used for cooking. Aside from being a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that help boost your metabolism, it also contains lauric acid, which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut oil can go bad if it gets contaminated due to improper storage. The best way to store it is away from heat (away from the stove) and inside the pantry. It usually lasts for 2 years when kept in an air-tight container.
Here is a nutritionist-dietician-approved coconut oil recommended by Samantha Morales and why she recommends it!
Need more oils to incorporate in your daily routine? They sure do pack a punch with their uses and benefits. Check out the best oils that go well for cooking, as well as the best oils that nourish the body and hair!
Coconut oil can do wonders for your overall health, wellness, and beauty! The uses for it are endless as it contains numerous benefits. Keep in mind that it is always best to go for cold-pressed VCOs in order to get all the nutrients it has to offer. Proper storage is also important so that your oil won't get rancid and go to waste.
Author: Issa Honda
Reviewed by: Samantha Morales, RND
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