Is Coconut Oil Healthy, How Do I Know I’m Using The Right Kind?
Over the last week, I have been asked about “Coconut Oil” by a handful of people. Some unknowing what coconut is, and others thinking all coconut oils are created equally.
Have no fear, I am here to help you
Coconut Oil comes from none other than the coconut.
Here are a few facts. The average coconut palm produces 100 to 120 coconuts a year. In addition, it takes 12 months for a coconut to harvest. However, some growers pick coconuts when they are only 9 months old.
The growers use highly toxic chemicals to extract the coconut meat.
If you have ever tried coconut oil you will know that some have a stronger coconut flavor, while others have more of a bitter bland flavor. This is due to the quality of coconuts used, and the methods used to extract the coconut meat.
Therefore, not all coconut oils are created equally.
Now, lets get to the Nitty- Gritty. Coconut oil comes from the meat of the coconut. This is also called the Kernel. It is white in color, and also used to make coconut milk.
There are 2 types of coconut oils: Copra Refined Coconut Oil and Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil.
Now lets break down the difference.
Copra Refined Coconut
This is what you call “dried coconut kernel”. The majority of large scale companies use this method to produce coconut oil. Copra is also the cheapest way of making coconut oil.
Copra is usually made from the unripe coconuts that I referenced earlier. The coconuts are harvested early and then chemically processed to extract the meat early.
Once the coconuts are harvested, and is meat is removed, it is then dried using a commercialized drier. This process takes about 3 -5 days. What are you left with is “Copra”. The Copra is then bagged up and sent off to oil mills for extracting. A lot of the time the mills used are overseas. Therefore, The copra is left in transit for months at a time. This make for rancid, moldy Copra. YUM!!!!! Once the Copra arrives at the mill, it is further heated to extract the oil. The heat can be as hot a 194F.
The copra coconut oil that is produced is a brown color. Due to the rancid, moldy, uneatable content of the oil, it will have to under go more processing and be Refined, Bleached, and De-Odorized. This is the only way it will be fit for human consumption. Side note: I find this to be extremely funny but at the same time extremely scary. In order to “refine” a product the product must under go highly toxic chemicals. Such chemicals as “Caustic Soda“. This chemical is also used in oven and stove cleaners, cellophane, pulp, paper, soaps, biodiesel production, and much more. So human consumption? I think not.. Anyways back to the coconut oil.
Copra Coconut Oil has often been called the “ Poor Man’s Oil” or Dirty Oil”
Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil
Virgin and Extra Virgin have the same meaning as Unrefined.
Organic, unrefined coconut oil comes from the kernel of the coconut. The coconut is harvested at full maturity and extracted in just a few hrs of being harvested.
If you ever read the label of a jar of coconut oil you may see the f below statements listed, this indicates what methods used to produce the oil.
- Expeller Cold Pressed
- Direct Mico Expelling or DME
Basically, what this means, is that the coconut oil is made after the kernel has been made into coconut milk. The Coconut kernel is grated, soaked in hot water to make coconut milk. Naturally the cream of the coconut rises to the top of the water and coconut. The cream is removed, and the hot water and coconut are then drained and squeezed into a cheesecloth. The white liquid is what we know as coconut milk. The milk is now poured into a centrifuge. (A centrifuge us kind of like a juicer, but made to separate liquids.) The Oil is then separated and bottled.
This process also uses the technique of pulling the oil from the coconut milk. Once the kernel is made into the milk, it is heated for 2 to 3 days. It is then let to sit, by sitting the oil and milk separate overnight. The Oil is then removed from the top and filtered to make coconut oil.
Expeller Cold Pressed
In this process the coconut meat or the” kernel” is derived from fully matured coconuts. The kernels are ground up (kind of like coconut shavings). Then, the shavings are dried for a few hours. Fact: in order for this coconut to still be concerted “Raw” the temperature for heating can not rise above 113F. After a few hours has passed, the dried ground kernels are then placed into a cold press expeller. This expeller actually squeezes the coconut so hard that the oil is released. Note: not all cold press expellers are “Raw”. Once all the coconut has passed through the expeller, the oil is then filtered to remove any pulp, and there you have it coconut oil.
Direct Mico Expelling or DME
Once again, fully mature coconuts are used in this process. First the husks of the coconut are removed, and the meat of the coconut is grated and dried for about a half an hr. This process uses a flat-top drier made from stainless steal. The drier is fueled with coconut shells. Pretty cool huh. Once the coconut meat has been dried, it is then manually placed into a stainless tube and handed pressed. The coconut oil is then separated from the coconut. This process is a smaller scale process that uses only batches of less than 20 coconuts at a time.
So to recap here are the differences between both refined and unrefined coconut oil and a few others that you may have heard or seen
Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil
Made from mature coconuts
Will become a liquid when reached 77F or warmer
Will become a sold when reached 76F or colder
Has a nutty coconut flavor
Super nutrient, and beneficial for your health
Refined Coconut Oil
Coconuts are Turned into Copra – A cheap way of processing
Melts at 77F
Refined using chemical based products
Hydrogenated Coconut Oil
Chemically changed into a trans fat
Made from Refined coconut oil
Higher melting point
This is an externally processed, Refined product
Fractional Coconut Oil
This product is made from only fraction of the oil. The fatty acids have separated for different uses.
One of the most beneficial parts “ Lauric acid” is removed, Leaving the oil with no nutrient value.
Will remain a liquid no matter the temperature.
This is also a refined product.
Benefits of Unrefined Coconut Oil
Now that you understand the difference of coconut oil, lets talk about the benefits of coconut oil
Recently, coconut oil has gotten a bad rap about is the saturated fat. It has been stated that Coconut Oil is not longer viewed as a good choice when it comes to oils. They go on to say that the reason why is the high amounts to saturated fats.
Do I agree? Well, before giving you my answer Lets talk about saturated fats.
There are 3 types of fatty acids
Long-chain fatty acids are such things as meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and vegetable oil . These things have a hard time absorbing into the GI track. Therefore, this requires the pancreas to create enzymes to break down the food allowing it to be absorbed by the intestine. Without complicating the process, basically, long-chain fats require your whole body to have an internal workout. Your liver is the final destination for these fatty acids to be oxidized into energy.
Medium-chain fatty acids are things like Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and Fish Oil. Now these fatty acids do not have a problem absorbing into the GI track. There is no need for break down, and no need for hard work on your body. Once absorbed the acids are quickly turned into energy for your body to burn. In doing this you are also increasing your metabolism. Here is another tip: When using medium-chain acids you are less likely to store body fat. Also, these acids help with “burning up” the long chain acids that are already stored in your body ( fat).
Despite, what we have been told about saturated fats Coconut Oil is one that is a shining star when it comes to proving them wrong. In fact coconut oil does not raise cholesterol, and actually helps fight against heart disease. Further more, there have been multiple studies that show that coconut oil has also provided benefits when it comes to healthy brain functions, and assisting with such things as dementia. You may be asking how is this possible? Well, when coconut oil is ingested, the liver turns the oil into Ketone bodies instead of storing it as fat. The ketone bodies can then be used by the brain as “ brain food” or energy. A normal person does not have ketones floating around inside, unless they have been on a very low carb diet. These ketones help the neurons in your brain stay alive.
Eating coconut oil benefits: Coconut oil can help with virus, and bacteria within the body. It has even been shown to help with such things as the Flu, herpes, and even HIV. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that help fight off fungi, and parasites. It aids in digestive health, and help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. It has properties that assist with dental care. Because coconut oil helps with distributing calcium, it promotes strong teeth, it is also helpful with reducing plaque. capric, caprylic, caproic, myristic and lauric acid that is found in coconut oil help in eliminating Candida ( yeast) externally and internally. It helps with the healing of infections, and even speeds up the healing time of bruises. It helps with preventing Kidney and gall bladder diseases, and can even dissolve kidney stones. Coconut oil has been shown to kill viruses such as influenza, measles and hepatitis. It also kills the bacteria that cause ulcers, urinary tract infections, and gonorrhoea. It is also effective in elimination ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash. These are just a few raw coconut oil benefits
But, back to that question of do I agree? My answer, it depends on what kind of coconut oil you are talking about.
If you are saying that refined coconut is bad for you. Then my answer would be absolutely! If you are talking about raw, organic, unrefined coconut oil, then my answer would be absolutely disagree.
I encourage you to do some more digging on your own, if this article did not provide to you that all coconut oils are created equally.
Stay Healthy Friends