Virgin coconut oil is very popular nowadays. A lot of interested people will surely have a lot of questions. Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions about virgin coconut oil and the answers.
Is virgin coconut oil safe?
Virgin Coconut oil is not a medicine but a food. It doesn’t have any side effect. But individuals differ and some may experience unfavorable reactions. The most common is loose bowel movement or diarrhea. This is because the lauric acid component of coconut oil which is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-protozoal works to eliminate the bad bacteria from your system.
To prevent this, it is suggested not to start with the recommended daily intake of 3-4 tbsp. Break it into smaller doses over the course of the day. You may also choose to reduce your intake. Some people may be allergic to it, though this is very unlikely.
Why does virgin coconut oil cost so much?
Virgin coconut oil is expensive because its production is laborious and exhaustive. It is necessary to be meticulous to ensure the best quality. Only healthy coconuts are used and the unhealthy ones are removed. After harvesting, the meat is processed as soon as possible to prevent spoilage. Since they are made with fresh coconuts, it doesn’t require further refining. Its natural antioxidant properties make it very stable oils.
How is it different from coconut oil?
In purchasing virgin coconut oil, you may come across a brand that is not labeled as virgin. This type of coconut oil is known as the RBD coconut oil and in some ways different from virgin coconut oil. The RBD tag means that that it has undergone refining, bleaching and deodorizing. The oil is extracted from copra not coconut. Unlike virgin coconut oil which retains the distinct taste and aroma of fresh coconuts, coconut oil is tasteless and odourless. Its color is yellowish, has a thick texture, and melts at around 76° F. It retains the Medium Chain Fatty Acid component of the fresh coconut though it may contain some residues. Some RBD oils are hydrogenated, meaning it is artificially pressed into the molecules to create oil with a higher melting point. The trans fatty acids which are present in hydrogenated oils are highly toxic.
Coconut oil is previously perceived as unhealthy. Why is it suddenly recommended for use today?
The perception that coconut oil is bad for the health has been has been proven wrong by various scientific studies done by scientists and experts. Old research that says coconut oil is bad sees it as full of saturated fats which raise cholesterol levels. But a lot of these studies were done on hydrogenated oil and fail to see that coconut oil comes from a plant source and is therefore not the same from those found in animal sources. Recent findings show that coconut oil is high in lauric acid (also present in human breast milk) which is very beneficial in attacking viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Its antimicrobial properties can be used to fight various diseases which include even the fatal HIV that causes Aids.
To guarantee quality, does virgin coconut oil require refrigeration?
Virgin coconut oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It contains natural antioxidants which give it a long shelf life. In countries of colder climates, virgin coconut oil may solidify at room temperature. Never put it in a microwave to liquefy. Putting it in a pan of warm water will cause it to return to its solid state. Keep it out of direct sunlight.
Is there a specific amount of coconut milk that I should take in a day?
According to researchers, the most favourable amount for adults is 3 to 4 tablespoons per day. Use it three times a day during meal time. It is equivalent to the amount of medium chain fatty acids a nursing child would consume in one day from mother’s milk. To avoid diarrhea, it is best not to consume the recommended dosage at first especially if you are used to a low fat diet. Gradually increase your intake until your body get use to it.
If I heat virgin coconut oil, will it turn into hydrogenated oil?
It is absolutely safe to heat virgin coconut oil and can therefore be use for cooking. Heating coconut oil is different from hydrogenation. The latter is an industrial process where hydrogen molecules are introduced into the oil to make it solid at room temperature. Hydrogenation chemically alters the oil and creates the toxic trans fatty acids.
If I heat virgin coconut oil, will its essential properties be destroyed?
No, the medium chain fatty acid of coconut oil is not destroyed even if heated to a high temperature. The beneficial nutrients are retained and not harmed. The fact that coconuts are grown in areas with very hot weather explains why. God naturally designed coconut to adapt to warm climates. Also, unlike other seed oils like olive oil, coconut oil doesn’t turn into a trans fat which are toxic when heated. This makes coconut oil one of the safest oils to use for cooking.
Will eating fresh coconut meat give me the same benefits that I will get from virgin coconut oil?
Fresh coconut contains coconut oil, but it also includes fiber, protein and natural sugar. Coconut oil doesn’t have protein. Since coconuts contain sugar, it is also not recommended for someone trying to limit sugar intake. To get the equivalent amount of virgin coconut oil, you would have to eat more coconut by weight. Fresh coconuts also do not have a long shelf life so its quality may be not as superior as that of virgin coconut oil.
Can pregnant women take virgin coconut oil?
Virgin coconut oil is safe for anyone as it is not a medicine but a food. In coconut producing countries, it is normal for pregnant women to eat coconuts. Virgin coconut oil contains lauric acid (also present in breast milk) so it is beneficial for lactating women. But caution should be exercised as some first-users may experience allergic reaction. Let your body get used to virgin coconut oil first.