25 May 2010
As the mythology that has kept coconut oil off store shelves for several decades is disproven, the demand for high quality coconut oil is rising.
Organic unrefined virgin coconut oil is touted as the best kind of coconut oil that you can buy. But with a higher price point than other coconut oils, including organic oils, is it truly worth the extra expense?
Much will depends on how much you can trust the company that is producing the oil. If the company is adhering to the high standards that one expects when reading the terms ‘organic’ ‘unrefined’ and ‘virgin’ then yes, there are benefits that can’t be found in other types of coconut oils, even if they are of high quality.
The majority of the coconut oil in the world is not made from organically grown coconut so chemical residue can be a problem. Also, mass produced coconut oil is made from dried coconut (copra) and is refined, bleached and deoderized (RBD) often with various chemicals and solvents. A high level of refinement can greatly diminish or destroy some of coconut oil’s healthy properties. It’s no surprise that the warnings about coconut oil that filled newspapers years ago were based on studies done with hydrogenated coconut oil, which of course contain harmful and unnatural transfats. Coconut oil that is not hydrogenated does not pose this concern, it contains no transfats and is a very stable cooking oil with a high smoke point.
Although there are a few good quality coconut oils made from copra that are expeller pressed without the use of solvents, the best oils are, instead, extracted from fresh shredded coconut, not copra. The coconut oil is separated from the coconut flesh without the use of chemicals of any kind.
Organic unrefined virgin coconut oil, when produced using traditional methods (which it should be if it’s so labelled) will retain a good level of lauric acid (one of the most healthful components of coconut oil because of it’s antiviral, antibacterial and immune enhancing properties – a reason that it’s used in baby formula and to treat AIDS patients), antioxidants, and will not contain any transfats (because it isn’t hydrogenated).
The fresh coconut taste and odor of a high quality coconut oil produced with traditional methods without chemicals or refining is yet another appealing feature. Ideally an oil of this kind is only produced in small batches for quality control. It is therefore worth the extra money to have a truly healthy unrefined oil like Organic unrefined virgin coconut oil because it retains much of the nutritional properties of the food that it comes from, and none of the risks posed by transfats, impurities or chemical residue.