September 2, 2014

Coconut Oil Benefits: What Kind of Coconut Oil Offers the Most Benefits?

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by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy

Coconut oil has been around for thousands of years in the tropics where coconut palm trees grow. Recently, coconut oil has seen a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. and consumers are beginning to look at buying coconut oil again. So what kind of coconut oil offers the most benefits?

Coconut oils can be classified into two general categories: virgin coconut oils and refined coconut oils. Both categories refer to pure coconut oil with nothing else added, and the main difference is in the production and refining process to make coconut oil.

Virgin Coconut Oil Offers the Most Benefits

There is no industry standard definition for “virgin coconut oil” as there is in 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.” Tropical Traditions was the first company to publish standards for the use of “virgin coconut oil” in terms of edible oils, and here is what was published over ten years ago:

Virgin coconut oil can only be achieved by using fresh coconut meat or what is called non-copra. 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.

There are currently two main processes of manufacturing virgin coconut oil:

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” coconut oil sold in the market today that you will find in stores, although many brands will label it as “extra” virgin even though there is no industry standard for the term “extra virgin.” This machine-made mass produced coconut oil is often referred to as “cold pressed.” However, this does not mean that the coconut has never been heat treated, since heat must be used to dry the coconut prior to pressing it out of the coconut meat.

2. Wet-milling. With this method the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying first. “Coconut milk” is expressed first by pressing. The oil is then further separated from the water. Methods which can be used to separate the oil from the water include boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzyme extraction, and mechanical centrifuge. The first two of these methods are traditional methods (boiling and fermentation) that indigenous cultures in tropical climates have used to make coconut oil for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The last two (enzyme extraction and mechanical centrifuge) are recent methods based on technology. Recent research conducted in the coconut oil producing countries of Sri Lanka and Malaysia show that the traditional methods of producing coconut oil produces the highest amounts of anti-oxidants, because heating is part of the process.

The  Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is an example of a wet-milling fermentation method of producing traditional virgin coconut oil.

The Benefits of The Gold Label® Standard of Virgin Coconut Oil

The method used by Mt. Banahaw Health Products Corp. in the Philippines, whose oil is marketed exclusively by Tropical Traditions as their Gold Label standard coconut oil, is the traditional wet-milling method called “fermentation.” “Fermentation” here is defined as the natural separation of the coconut oil from water using gravity. No machine or other substances are used in the extraction.

First, coconut milk is expressed from the freshly harvested coconuts by using the pure water that is present inside the coconuts. The coconut milk is then allowed to sit for approximately half a day. During this time, the heavier water separates from the oil by sinking to the bottom, while the lighter coconut solids float to the top (curds).  In between the coconut solids and the water is a crystal clear coconut oil that is completely unrefined. The oil is then slightly heated (less than boiling temperatures) for a short time (5 – 15 minutes depending on air temperatures) to remove any remaining moisture and increase antioxidant levels, and then filtered.

The result is a clear coconut oil that retains the distinct scent and taste of coconuts. This is a traditional method of coconut oil extraction that has been used in the Philippines for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Marianita’s parents’ generation made coconut oil this way, but the knowledge was in the process of passing away before we revived it, due to the easily obtained refined coconut oils found in the stores in the Philippines. It is a much more labor-intensive method of producing coconut oil, and cannot be replicated by machine through mass-production. Family producers for Mt. Banahaw make the Gold Label standard in small batches.


Watch this video to see how Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is produced

Laboratory tests show that Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is a very high quality coconut oil, with very high antioxidant levels. A study done in Malaysia and published in the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition also reported that the wet-milling fermentation method produced the highest amounts of antioxidants, and another study completed in Sri Lanka in 2011 confirmed these result.

Does “Extra” Virgin Coconut Oil Offer Any Benefits?

Unfortunately, there is no standard industry definition for “virgin” coconut oil as there is in the olive oil industry. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find refined coconut oils labeled as “virgin” coconut oils. Some brands also use the term “extra virgin” coconut oil, even though there is nothing “extra” that can be done to produce coconut oil other than the ways described above, and the term “extra virgin” is therefore simply a marketing term.

Testimonials for Coconut Oil Benefits with Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

Watch this video testimonial of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Lesli (beginning) and Dr. Amanda Rose (2:15 point in the video) as they each describe the benefits of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil over other coconut oils.

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Do you wonder how you can use Coconut Oil? Watch this short video that shows how easy it is to incorporate coconut oil into your diet:

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Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

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Once again, research into the health benefits of coconut oil is mainly being done outside of the U.S., primarily in coconut-producing countries. Here in the U.S., only pharmaceutical drugs can make health claims, by law. The FDA regulates all health claims, and only allows pharmaceutical companies that have gone through the lengthy and costly drug approval process to make such claims. No company in the U.S. would spend that kind of money on research for a product found in nature that cannot be patented.

A study just published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease looked at Malaysian women suffering from breast cancer. The study discovered that stage 3 and 4 breast cancer women who supplemented their diet with virgin coconut oil during breast cancer treatment improved fatigue, dyspnea, sleep difficulties, and loss of appetite compared to the control group. Virgin coconut oil consumption during chemotherapy also helped improve the functional status and global Quality Of Life of these breast cancer patients. In addition, it reduced the symptoms related to side effects of chemotherapy.

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

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Cold drinks are a popular summer staple that coffeehouses and restaurants make a killing off of every year with their ridiculous prices. However, there is little need to buy them. Making most of these drinks at home is easy, not to mention with far more healthy potential when you control what goes into them.

Adding coconut oil to your blended cold drinks is one way to get your daily dose of coconut oil without it being bothersome or boring. Not only that, but the addition of coconut oil will also give your endurance and energy a boost, keeping you going throughout the day or acting as a quick pick me up along with some natural fruit as the day drags on.

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

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With the saturated fat myth slowly dying out, coconut oil has quickly risen to be a popular and ideal cooking oil. Coconut oil has a bounty of health benefits and is easily customizable. This versatile nature makes it ideal for many different styles of cooking and dishes.

However, not everyone is a fan of the flavor. Here are some tips on making coconut oil tasteless in cooking.

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

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WebMD is the world’s most visited “health” website. They derive their advertising from the pharmaceutical industry, so they have a pro-Pharma slant, as one can expect. It is not typically the place you would go to find information regarding alternative treatments to FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs. If you are contemplating using prescription drugs, it is a great place to get information about the medical industry’s products. If however you are looking for information on products that are not approved as drugs by the FDA, their information will be highly biased.

Due to the increasing popularity of coconut oil and its healing properties, WebMD now has a listing for coconut oil. It is listed in their vitamin and supplement section, since it is not approved as a drug, and since they generally do not provide any health information about foods.

They give the standard pro-Pharma view of coconut oil, which is that, in their view, there are no approved claims for coconut oil. They also warn people that coconut oil could raise cholesterol levels and could be harmful, even while acknowledging that research actually shows the opposite, since coconut oil traditionally lowers LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol (a positive thing.) They also warn that if people eat too much coconut oil, since it is fat, that it could lead to weight gain.

Interestingly, WebMD allows users to comment on these entries, presumably in a format where patients can comment on their own experiences with the vast array of drugs listed on their website. Read what users said about the “miraculous” properties of coconut oil in relation to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, weight control, memory, mood swings, energy, dry skin, dental health, stopping seizures and more.

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

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Fitness junkies, take note: you need coconut oil. Coconut oil straight up, in your protein-rich meals, protein shakes, snacks, pre-workout, post-workout fuel – whatever you choose. Coconut oil can be adapted into your style of eating and seriously enhance the results of the style of fitness you’re into, be it body building, toning, endurance, or general weight and muscle management.

So why add coconut oil into your fitness routine? Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), a high-energy fuel that the body uses to prevent muscle loss, but take off body fat. Coconut oil has a lot of these MCTs. Eat it.

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