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What is coconut oil?


What is coconut oil?

To obtain coconut oil first the copra has to be extracted. Copra is the dried white flesh of the coconut.
In the old days they put the copra in the sun to dry until the oil comes out. Nowadays this process has been automated.

There are three types of coconut oil:

  1. Unrefined, usually referred as virgin coconut oil
  2. Refined
  3. Refined and hardened

Is it an oil or a fat?

It's both actually, but generally the term coconut oil is used. The difference between an oil and a fat can be read here.

Virgin coconut oil has a melting point of around 22-24 ° C. That means if you live in a cold climate the coconut oil will be solidified and therefore a fat. If you live in a warm climate the fat is usually over 26 ° C and therefore it's melted and a oil.

Refined and hardened coconut oil has a melting point of 31 to 33 ° C and is usually solidified. Except if you live in a very tropical climate. 

Is coconut healthy or not?

The media and many websites tell you that coconut oil is very healthy and scientist tend to agree. But why is that?

More than 80% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats. Half of the saturated fat of coconut fat consists of lauric acid, which would be a healthier saturated fat. Also shorter molecular chains are healthier and coconut has many shorter molecular chains. Oil molecules are smaller and provide less obstructions in body and veins

Foods rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as soft margarine's or sunflower oil, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to foods that mainly contain saturated fatty acids, such as coconut oil. That is why the Health Council and the Nutrition Center recommend using other vegetable oils or soft fats instead of coconut oil.

But  heart patients receive special margarine's based on cocos, but this is preceded by a whole process  called MCT and is too complicated to just add in this blogpost.

So it's not that simple. The best ingredient to staying healthy is, and always will be, to exercise enough. 

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