What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is pressed from the white meat of the coconut. Broadly speaking, there are two types of coconut oil: virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil is pressed from the fresh meat of raw coconuts. It is cold-pressed and filtered and retains the classic ‘coconut’ smell as well as many micronutrients in the oil. Most research into the health benefits of coconut oil is based on virgin coconut oil.
Refined coconut oil is pressed from dried coconut meat (copra) and is almost always refined before human consumption. During the process of refining, much of the original coconut taste is removed, along with some of the micronutrients. Because copra is a cheaper raw material, refined coconut oil is also typically a lot less expensive than virgin coconut oil.
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fatty acids, especially lauric acid (about 50%) and myristic acid (about 20%). These fatty acids are so-called ‘medium-chain triglycerides’ (MCTs) because they are shorter molecules than the saturated fats commonly found in vegetable oils and animal fats (e.g. palmitic and stearic acid). This also explains why coconut oil has a far better health profile than its high content of saturated fats would suggest.
Organic Coconut Oil, or Organic Odourless Coconut Oil, is made from dried coconut and is extracted without the use of harsh chemical solvents.
Crede Oils supply both virgin and refined (odourless) coconut oils, both of which are certified organic. Note that the refined coconut oil has been refined entirely without the use of chemicals. The crude oil is filtered, then bleached using bleaching clay (which is filtered out) and then steam-treated to remove any further impurities (this process removes the coconut smell as well).
What are the benefits of coconut oil:
Cooking –When oils are heated, they begin processes of oxidation and polymerisation that can lead to harmful by-products such as aldehydes. Coconut oil is primarily a great cooking oil because of its stability at high temperatures.
Cholesterol – Coconut oil has a beneficial impact on cholesterol levels. Coconut oil raises both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, but the increase in the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol far outweighs the increase in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
Weight loss – Other research suggests that using coconut oil instead of regular vegetable oils can help in weight loss programs. The theory is that MCTs (like lauric acid) are more easily digested and burned quickly for energy than long-chain fatty acids, thus raising metabolism and aiding weight loss. Coconut oil is therefore used by many athletes as a high-energy source in their training programs.