Unsaturated oils in cooked foods become rancid within a few hours, even in the refrigerator. Once fresh unsaturated fats are inside the body, they oxidize (turn rancid). Coconut oil does not go rancid even after one year at room temperature. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is easy to digest and converted into quick energy so people are less likely to become obese as the fat is not stored.
“Ordinary Coconut Oil” Vs “Virgin Coconut Oil” ?
- Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) – Unrefined, Unbleached, Non-Deodorized preserving all nutrients
A liter of VCO is produced using 12-14 fresh coconuts (Not Copra). The brown testa (“Kurutta”) is removed and only the white flesh is used. Specially designed expellers adopting the method of “Sekkuwa” are used to mill oil, avoiding heat. Thus it is clear as water, fragrant, rich in flavor and all nutrients are preserved. It has set a trend of consuming “a table spoon a day” for dementia, immunity boost & other health benefits.
- Unrefined White Coconut Oil (uWCO) / Sekku Thel – Unrefined, Unbleached, Non-Deodorized
Both the brown testa (Kurutta) and the white flesh are used to extract oil. Thus, only 8-10 fresh coconuts are required to produce a liter of uWCO. Same machines used in VCO are used. Hence this is also clear as water, fragrant & rich in flavor. This is a clean plus economical choice for cooking, but cannot be directly consumed as VCO for special health benefits (due to brown testa). Bleached WCO has no coconut fragrance.
- Ordinary White Coconut Oil (WCO) – Yellow in Colour, milled in an ordinary grinder
Regularly seen products are labeled as “WCO”, but the yellow colour is the result of heat generation inside grinding machines. Plus the fact that they are produced from coconut flesh dried under sunlight (i.e. Copra). Heating up to excessive temperatures takes out a part of natural goodness. The danger is that, if the oil becomes awfully baked, it paves the way to procedures like refining, bleaching & deodorizing. If the manufacturing is done genuinely, unrefined, unbleached WCO produced with copra is the most economical choice for frequent frying.
- Coconut Oil from the Brown Testa – “Kurutu Thel”
Only the brown testa is used to mill oil. The cheapest oil in the market consists of a mix between ordinary WCO, Kurutu Thel and sometimes low grade palm oil. Burning effect in the throat (because of the high acidity in brown testa) is a method of identification.
- Refined Coconut Oil & Other Refined Oils – Bleached, Deodorized, Additives & Chemicals
Refining is a need which arises when a product is not pure. It can be simply understood that, from a perfectly grown organic plantation, fresh vegetables, green leaves or fruits can be consumed without any trouble. Refining is not needed if the product is pure, natural and organic.
Fats & Cholesterol
Cholesterol is not Fat, & Fat is not Cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy compound produced by the liver sent out to wrap around body cells. It helps to protect the cell wall, build new cells, hormones, control temperature, absorb vitamins etc. Cholesterol is present in animal based food; meat, fish. eggs, milk, butter, cheese. And there is no cholesterol in “UNREFINED” oils extracted from plants. Plant oils are made up of fats. When fats are consumed by humans, they are reformed into triglycerides for energy production. Excess fat or fats (long chain fatty acids) that cannot be broken apart to produce energy are converted into cholesterol inside the body, leading to blockage of blood vessels.
Saturated Vs Unsaturated fats and HDL / LDL
Lipoproteins are Proteins that acts like a “bus” for the cholesterol (“lipid-passenger”) to travel towards cells, and back to the liver. LDL transmits cholesterol from liver to cells, and the waxy cholesterol stuck around blood vessels are removed and brought back to the liver by HDL. So, types of food that can be easily broken down inside the body help in producing HDL. Coconut Oil is made up of 65% medium chain fats that are easily converted into energy. The popular slogan used against coconut oil and for the promotion of other oils; “saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good” is irrational. The base logic to look at is, whether the molecules in the fat can be easily broken apart or not. The percentage of medium chains (No. of Carbon < 12) & small chains (No. of Carbons < 6) is a logical indicator.
*Look at the table of nutrients. Most unsaturated oils are added with trans-fats (bad fat) to extend shelf life and uplift smoking point to suit cooking purposes. But coconut oil does not require such measures. It naturally inherits a high smoking point & shelf life.
Unrefined Oils & High Price
Because of the rapid growth in fast food chains a demand arose for low priced cooking oil which can be supplied rapidly in large quantities.
This led to express pressing and usage of chemicals to draw out gallons of oil in a flash. Because of the heat in the machine & rapid pressure application, temperature rises to unbearable degrees, leading to baking of oil. This causes loss in nutrients and paves the way to refining, bleaching, deodorizing. Finally what we get is not coconut oil; it is a pile of chemicals.
Manual labor is minimized when chemicals are used to draw out oil and then refining is done to take out impurities. Unrefined oils (virgin coconut oil, virgin olive oil) are extracted by mechanical pressing. Thus oil up to the last drop cannot be extracted like in chemical or heated methods, and doubled amounts of coconuts are needed. De-shelling of coconuts, scraping requires manual labor and a stainless steel machine system is used for the entire process. Thus the high price of unrefined oils when compared with refined oils is unavoidable.
Sri Lankan Coconut Oil right there at the top with Fish Oil (omega-3) & Extra Virgin Olive Oil (type of omega-9)
There are important fatty acids which the world has set their focus upon. Fish Oil capsules contain “omega-3” fatty acids, Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains “oleic acid (a type of omega- 9 fatty acids)”, and mother’s breast milk is a rich source of “lauric acid”.
Without comprehensive theory, by observing the child’s growth “Lauric Acid” can be simply understood as an immunity super star & a brain booster. The only other place on earth, where Lauric Acid is found in such high percentages (approx. 50% of contents)? In Sri Lanka, in our own Original Coconut Oil milled using the method of Sekkuwa (termed as “VCO” by the present world). Impact of VCO on brain functions can be further understood by the fact that “consuming a table spoon of VCO a day” is becoming a popular trend in East Asian and the Western world as a measure against dementia, lose belly fat, improve metabolism, absorb nutrients, improve immunity, whitening teeth, elude bad breadth etc.
Dementia has become a household name at present. Anointing the head takes a significant place in Our New Year rituals and in regular life. Is there a story to be rediscovered?
Our Coconuts shall never have a peaceful time on earth with swaying theories on fats. But they will keep on Falling. Not because of Gravity. But for a Nation who believes in Coconut Oil, and knows all about the Goodness & Taste; beyond Theory!
Ordinary Coconut Oil
- Ordinary coconut oil is extracted by milling of Copra (“Copra” is the term used for coconut kernels dried under sunlight).
Virgin Coconut Oil
- A liter of VCO is produced using 12-14 fresh coconuts (Not Copra). The brown testa (“Kurutta”) is removed and only the white flesh is used. Specially designed expellers adopting the method of “Sekkuwa” are used to mill oil, avoiding heat. This manufacturing process is called “Cold Pressed Method”, as the coconut flesh is not dried in sunlight for long periods and heating is avoided during production of oil.
- Tastes good and smells like fresh coconuts, and looks like clear water.
- Since it is not refined, it preserves all the natural goodness. These are completely taken out from ordinary coconut oil during processes like heating, filtration, refining, and bleaching.