Coconut oil is packed full of healthy saturated fats, can increase your energy levels and is a great addition to your diet. You can use coconut oil in place of your regular olive or vegetable oil, but choosing the right coconut oil is not as easy as you might think. In this post I’m going to explain which coconut oils will give you the most health benefits.
For Candida sufferers, coconut oil is also a great source of natural antifungals. It contains three fatty acids (caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid) that can help to beat a yeast overgrowth. Here are my guidelines to choosing the best coconut oil.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is coconut oil that has been processed without the use of chemicals or solvents. The oil is extracted through the use of pressure rather than complicated chemical processes. This is a more gentle method and it is far less likely to damage the oil.
The best virgin coconut oil will actually retain much of the taste and smell of fresh coconuts. On the other hand, many non-organic commercial brands use a refining and bleaching process that removes the natural coconut aroma and taste.
Buying organic is a good idea too. This is another way to guarantee that chemicals or solvents have not been used during the manufacturing process. Now Foods Coconut Oil is a good example of a 100% organic oil.
Should you buy Virgin or Extra Virgin coconut oil?
You might see various coconut oil brands marketing their products as Virgin or Extra Virgin. So what’s the difference? Actually, there is probably no difference between these products at all. Coconut oil is not regulated the same as the olive oil industry, which has accepted standards for Virgin and Extra Virgin.
Coconut oil standards are set by the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community, a group that is responsible for about 90% of coconut oil production. They define Virgin Coconut Oil as “obtained from the fresh and mature kernel of coconut by mechanical or natural means with or without the application of heat, which does not lead to alteration of the oil.” They have no definition for ‘Extra Virgin’, so if you see that on a label it does not really mean anything. Extra Virgin and Virgin oils are usually just the same.
Cold Pressed or Expeller Pressed
Many coconut oils are advertised as ‘cold pressed’. This signifies that no heat has been used in the production process. This is certainly a good thing, although coconut oil is actually very heat-stable so the use of heat is unlikely to damage the oil.
On a side note, this is why coconut oil is such a healthy oil to use in your cooking. It does not degrade under heat, unlike many vegetable oils which can turn into trans fats when used for frying food. Coconut oil retains its structure and can be heated and reheated without degrading.
Expeller pressed oil uses a mechanical extraction process that generates a significant amount of heat, so coconut oil extracted in this way is not usually classified as virgin oil. However some people prefer to use expeller pressed oil as it does not have the flavor or aroma of virgin coconut oil. If you don’t like the coconut flavor or want to taste it in your cooking, expeller pressed oil can be a good option.
How to add coconut oil to your diet
The best coconut oils have these three characteristics:
- Virgin (or Extra Virgin)
- Cold Pressed
Coconut oil is great to use in your frying and baking, and you can also add it to salad dressings. You can even take coconut oil as a supplement – just eat a tablespoon of coconut oil with your meals.
For more information on how to prepare meals on a Candida Diet, as well as some tasty coconut oil recipes, check out my Ultimate Candida Diet program.