Coconut oil in a glass jar

 

Coconut oil has become one of my favourite foods. There are numerous health benefits*, it is easy to implement in your daily diet and I love the coconut flavour. Yes, it deserves the name Super Food.

* You can read more about the amazing benefits in my book reviews:

Bullet point Palmtree  The Coconut Miracle Oil

Bullet point Palmtree  The new Arthritis Cure

Bullet point Palmtree  The Coconut Ketogenic Diet

There are certain things, though, to think about when choosing which oil to buy. Not all coconut oil products are beneficial for your health. It depends on how the oil is processed.

At the end of this article, you find a quick overview of all the important criteria to think about when choosing the best coconut oil. If you want to jump there straight away, click here.  For those of you who want to know why these criteria are so important, please continue reading. 

Coconut

How to Choose the Best Coconut Oil

 

The extraction process

 

A cold-pressed coconut oil is processed at temperatures that may not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This method produces the healthiest oil, retaining the aroma and all their nutritional value.

Another method is the expeller-pressed method. It is a chemical-free process but at very high temperatures, which change the flavour of the oil. In order to yield more oil out of the coconuts often a chemical solvent is used to extract the remainder.

The worst method is the solvent extraction technique where hexane (a hazardous chemical) is used. To remove the hexane the oil has to be heated to very high temperatures which change the flavour of the oil.

Symbol OK

 

I highly recommend to always choose the cold-pressed coconut oil.

 

 

Refined or Unrefined

 

Refined coconut oil is expeller-pressed high-temperature processed oil which comes from dried coconut meat, called ”copra”. During the drying process contaminants rise and therefore the copra needs to be purified with bleaching clays. Some companies add sodium hydroxide to prolong the shelf life of the oil.

The refined coconut oil is promoted to as a cooking oil as it has got a slightly higher smoke point than refined oils. Refined coconut oil is tasteless and odourless caused by deodorization with help of high temperatures.

Unrefined coconut oil comes from fresh coconut meat. There is the quick drying method and wet milling method. These methods are both a very fast process, which means it isn’t necessary to add any chemicals and it does not require bleaching.

The unrefined coconut oil keeps its coconut flavour.

Symbol OKI highly recommend you to choose the unrefined coconut oil, as there has not been used any chemicals and nor has been bleached during the manufacturing process. You can use unrefined coconut oil for baking, stir-frying and for your skin.

I recommend you to use Olive oil instead of coconut oil when pan-frying food.

I advise you not to deep-fry food as these foods contain unhealthy trans-fats due to the very high temperatures and fried food are very high-caloric.

 

 

Virgin or Extra-Virgin

 

Virgin coconut oil is unrefined coconut oil. If the product is labelled "Virgin Coconut Oil" you know it is the healthy cold-pressed oil.

There is actually no extra-virgin oil, there is no difference between both terms. Olive oil has got both the labels virgin and extra-virgin as they contain different amounts of free fatty acids. For coconut oil, there are no regulations governing the purity of coconut oil.

 

 

Organic or Non-Organic

 

Coconut oil which is labelled "certified organic" means that the coconuts were grown without the use of pesticides.

Symbol OKStudies have been made and the tests said that non-organic coconut oil hardly contains any pesticides.
Nevertheless, if you want to be on the safe side, I recommend you to choose the Organic labelled oil. It is better for your health and for nature itself.

 

 

GMO or Non-GMO

 

More and more nutrients are being genetically modified. The industry has also started to genetically modify coconuts.

A genetical modification also named genetical manipulation, of a plant, means that its DNA has been changed by using biotechnology.  There are indications that the GMO process can create or increase allergens, toxins, and anti-nutrients.

GMO’s have been introduced mainly for allowing crops to survive herbicide exposures which kill only the weeds. Herbicides which are being used on both GMO and Non-GMO plants are classified to be possibly carcinogenic by WHO, The World Health Organization.

There are still many question marks and still a lot of research needed on this topic.

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To be on the safe side and avoid carcinogenic pesticides, allergens and anti-nutrients, I highly recommend you to look for food labelled Non-GMO and Certified Organic.

 

 

Hydrogenated or Non-hydrogenated

 

Hydrogenated oils have been heated to very high temperatures. Then they are put under high pressure and added with hydrogens atoms which change the oils molecule bindings. The oil is now transformed to a synthetic trans-fat. Trans-fats are the most unhealthy kind of fats. Several scientific studies have found out that they increase the "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowers the "good" HDL cholesterol in the body. This combination increases the risk of heart diseases vastly as trans-fats can cause clogged arteries, and also diabetes, different kinds of cancer, obesity and allergy. Furthermore, trans-fats promotes inflammations in the body.

But why do the manufacturers use this method to produce their oils and foods when they are so unhealthy and increases the risk of dangerous diseases? The main reason is that this method helps to increase the shelf life of the oils and it saves costs.

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I do urge you to always choose NON-hydrogenated oils in order to prevent pains and diseases.

 

 

Fair Trade Certification

 

Fair Trade SymbolFair Trade does not affect the quality of the oil. It means that a good treatment of the workers is considered and that they get fair wages. The processing is more environmentally friendly and the use of resources is handled more carefully.

 

 

Container

 

I highly recommend you to choose a coconut oil in a sealed glass jar. A glass jar does not alter the taste and helps to keep the nutrient quality high.

Symbol WarningWhy avoid plastic containers? In contrary to glass, plastic containers can transfer a plastic taste and more important, it transfers bisphenol A (BPA) into the food. BPA is a substance with hormone-like properties (see Wikipedia - Bisphenol A for more information).

Furthermore, in 2017 the European Chemicals Agency concluded that BPA is concerned to be an endocrine disruptor, which means it can interfere with hormone systems. "These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders."  Quote Wikipedia - Endocrine Disruptor

In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. (FDA) banned the use of BPA in baby bottles. This is a precaution that indicates the danger of BPA, despite other statements made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the U.S. and the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency.

A quick overview

For staying healthy up to a high age and avoid pain and chronical diseases, it is most important to make healthy choices.

When choosing the coconut oil, look for these criteria:

 Cold-pressed

 Virgin 

 Unrefined

 Non-hydrogenated

 Organic

 Non-GMO

 Fair Trade

Glass Jar

 

Coconut
These brands meet the most important criteria:

 

 

  Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Aunt Patty’s Virgin Coconut Oil

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN 

Philippines

Sri Lanka

Philippines

FLAVOUR

Mild coconut flavour

Rich, nutty flavour

Rich, aromatic flavour

CONTAINER

Glass jar

Glass jar

Glass jar

Cold-pressed/ Virgin

Yes

Yes

Yes

Unrefined

Yes

Yes

Yes

Non-hydrogenated

Yes

Yes

Yes

Certified organic

Yes

Yes

Yes

Non-GMO

Yes

Yes

Yes

Kosher

Yes

Vegan Certified

Yes

Fair Trade

Yes

 


Spoil Yourself With High-Quality Coconut Oil


Do you use coconut oil?
Please share your tips. I'd love to hear your experiences.

If you have any questions about healthy living,
I'm here for you.

 

10 Thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Coconut Oil”

  • Your insight on this subject is mind-blowing. You left no stone unturned. Healthy extraction techniques, refined or unrefined, hydrogenated or non-hydrogenated etc. Going forward, I will ensure to stay clear of trans-fats. It is sad that manufacturers use this method to save cost knowing the adverse health implications. I have bookmarked your website for reference purpose and will check out the recommendations above. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, much appreciated.

    • Hello Anthony,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m very happy to hear that you have bookmarked my website.
      Trans-fats are indeed the most unhealthy substance for our body. It is extremely sad that manufacturers rather look for the profit and neglect the fact that their manufactured products are not healthy. Most people are not aware of this and think that the food in the groceries must all be OK to eat. This has got devastating consequences on our health as it causes inflammations in the body which results in chronical diseases later on in life.
      If you have any questions or inputs about healthy living topics, please, contact me at any time.
      Wish you a happy & healthy life!
      Pernilla

  • Hello Pernilla,

    I have not used coconut oil before but heard of its many benefits. Perhaps, I should give it a try. Thanks for the tips on choosing the best. I will take a closer look at your recommendations.

    Thanks again,
    Sharon

    • Hello Sharon,

      I appreciate your comment very much. If you rather use another oil than coconut oil, I still do recommend you to check the labelling and follow my advice above so you can avoid any unhealthily processed oil.
      I’d love to hear from you again. If you have any questions about healthy living, don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Wish you a happy & healthy life!
      Pernilla

  • Hello Pernilla,
    This is an informative and well researched post and yet has the feel of a good conversation about how to choose the best coconut oil. My mom uses shampoos with coconut oil but has had a hard time finding the type of consistency she finds in Olive oil–which she uses for cooking.

    Now I know why she sometimes has such a difficult time finding consistency when it comes to coconut oil. As you point out, there are no regulations governing the purity of coconut oil. I will definitely have her read your post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Thabo,

      As always I’m grateful to receive your interesting comments.
      It is very important to choose an oil which fulfils the criteria I have listed above in order to avoid the unhealthy trans-fats and toxic chemicals. This is valid for any kind of food oil.
      The coconut oil has got a totally other consistency than olive oil. Coconut oil is a saturated fat and stays solid up to a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if it is a saturated fat it is still healthy as the biggest part of the saturated fat is Lauric Acid. I’ll talk about that in another post. Hope you’ll you join in on that discussion too.
      All the best,
      Pernilla

  • Hi, Pernilla, this is an interesting post on coconut oil. I never knew a lot about coconut oil but I love coconut meat. I think that it would be a really good oil to use with our foods but just like all the other oils, it has to be processed right. Just as you have said in the post unrefined, non-GMO, and non-hydrogenated all organic. Let’s not forget cold-pressed. This all makes good sense when it comes to our oils or anything that we eat over cooking takes all the good out of it. Like this information.

    • Hello Fred,

      Glad you found this information interesting. You have got it exactly right, we must look for this criteria also when buying other kinds of food oils and generally when buying processed food. Trans-fats you find in most processed foods which contain oils or other fats. It is always better to choose fresh unprocessed food. If you want to eat cakes and biscuits it is better to bake them yourself.

      All the best,
      Pernilla

  • WOW — your insight and knowledge is amazing and I have bookmarked this page for future reference, as I have done with the rest of your site! I have often wondered which coconut oil to buy, and you have covered all the bases so that I can make the best choice. I have started cooking with it here and there, and it’s good to know that I will be buying the healthiest version. Thank you!

    • Amy,
      It’s wonderful to hear that you have started to cook with coconut oil. I’m glad that you find the information I have listed in this post helpful. It is very important to avoid the unhealthy processed oils. So when you buy any kind of oil you can check with this list and see if they fulfil the criteria for a healthy oil.
      Enjoy the benefits of the coconut way of life!
      Pernilla

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