What are the health benefits of coconut oil?
Clinical studies have show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies to be resistance to both illness caused by viruses and bacteria. It can also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.
Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
What is COPRA? The problem with some mass produced Coconut Oil is Copra, a dried form of the coconut it is made from. Copra oil extraction requires large-scale, high-pressure, expensive, energy-intensive equipment. Unhygienic copra means that the resultant oil is normally of low quality with a Free Fatty Acid (FFA) level of 3% or more. (FFA is one measure of rancidity of oil).
Copra oil requires refining, bleaching and deodorising (RBD) to create a commercially acceptable product. The refining process uses hydrochloric acid, solvents and steam to strip out the contamination. Some residual solvents remain in the oil. The process also removes the natural volatiles and anti-oxidants that give pure coconut oil its unique flavour and aroma. The total process from farm to refined oil can take many months. The residual copra-meal is only suitable as animal feed but, even here, care is required because it can be contaminated with carcinogenic aflatoxin.
Virgin Coconut Oil?
There is no industry standard definition for "Virgin Coconut Oil" like there is for the olive oil industry for "Virgin" and "Extra Virgin" olive oil. Today, there are many coconut oils on the market that are labeled as "Virgin Coconut Oil" so be certain to do your research!
Look for the use of fresh coconut meat or what is called non-copra where the use of chemicals and high heating are not used in further refining, since the natural, pure coconut oil is very stable with a shelf life of several years. Here are two alternative methods to look for:
1. Quick drying of fresh coconut meat which is then used to press out the oil. Using this method, the coconut meat is quick dried, and the oil is then pressed out via mechanical means. This is the most common type of "Virgin" or "Extra Virgin" coconut oil sold in the market today that you will find in stores. It is mass-produced.