Coconut Oil

What is Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is extracted from fresh or dried coconut kernel or meat (the white flesh of the coconut) through the use of different methods such as cold pressed or expeller-pressed, boiling, fermentation, mechanical press or centrifuge. There are two types of Coconut Oil:

    1. Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)
    2. Refined, Bleached and Deodorised (RBD) Oil

The term 'virgin' is used to signify that the oil is pure and unadulterated, essentially the way nature made it, with as little processing as possible. Virgin coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconuts. To avoid contamination or poor quality, only the highest quality and freshest coconuts are used. Generally little or no heat is involved and absolutely no chemicals are used. The oil is as close as possible to the way nature made it with all its nutrients intact. As a consequence, virgin coconut oil maintains a mild coconut aroma and flavour. Since the oil is extracted from the white (colourless) meat of the coconut, good quality virgin coconut oil will be colourless. This is considered the highest quality and healthiest form of coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil that has been heated to excessive temperatures, as some are, will have a slight yellow appearance and perhaps a stronger flavour.

RBD oil, as the name implies, has undergone extensive refining, bleaching and deodorising. Unlike virgin coconut oil, RBD oil is made from copra. Copra is dried whole coconut. The quality of the coconut used to make copra varies. Fresh and old, damaged and undamaged nuts alike are used. Coconuts are cracked open and the meat is dried, usually by the sun, although ovens may be used. Open coconuts are left in the sun exposed to the elements for days and even weeks before they are processed further. Consequently, the copra contains an appreciable amount of bacteria and mould. During the refining process the oil is sterilised and the contaminants are removed. Sometimes chemical agents are used in order to extract the greatest amount of oil from the meat and remove all contaminants. In the process everything is removed from the oil including all colour, taste and smell. The result is a colourless, tasteless, odourless oil.

As VCO has gone through minimal processing, it retains most of the phytonutrients that are naturally found in the raw unprocessed coconut oil. This includes antioxidants and phytosterols which are known to have heart protective, anticancer and other health promoting properties. These phytonutrients have been stripped from RBD coconut oil during processing.

- Virgin Coconut Oil -

Although Coconut Oil is high in saturated fat, which was mistakenly believed to be unhealthy, it is now gaining long overdue recognition as the healthiest oil on earth! Coconut Oil is the least vulnerable of all the dietary oils to oxidation and free-radical formation, which is why it is referred to as the safest cooking oil. The saturated fatty acids are primarily composed of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), it is unlike Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFAs) such as 98% of all vegetable oils we are consuming, which raise blood cholesterol levels! Once you consume MCFAs they are sent directly to your liver unlike other oils which circulate your bloodstream. Here the MCFAs are immediately converted into energy just like a carbohydrate, however unlike carbohydrates, MCFAs do not raise blood sugar which is why coconut oil is safe for diabetics. MCFAs are very different from LCFAs as they do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and actually helps to protect against heart disease! MCFAs are quickly absorbed by your body and are converted to energy instantaneously unlike LCFAs which linger in your body and eventually turn to fat cells.

Coconut oil changes between liquid to solid as the temperature changes. For example coconut oil will turn pure solid white when the temperature is below 25 degrees (approx) and it will liquefy and look clear like water when the temperature is above 25 degrees (approx). The nutritional value does not change if the coconut oil is liquid or solid.

Storage: Store your Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in a cool dark place. Even once you have opened your Coconut oil you don't need to worry about the oil going rancid. If you like you can store it in the fridge and it will solidify.