You've probably heard about the many benefits of coconut oil to your skin, hair, and general health. Besides its nutrition, coconut oil tastes great and can be incorporated into anyone's diet! Currently, there are various products from brands such as Viva, Now, or Handcraft. Each product is made differently, with distinct flavors and ingredients.
Therefore, you may become confused and wonder which product would suit you best. To save you some time in choosing, we browsed through multiple reviews online. We compiled the top 10 best coconut oils, with Viva Naturals Organic's extra virgin coconut oil taking first place for its versatility. We also included a buying guide at the end to help you choose the right product.
Shayanne has over 10 years of experience in the food industry. She has two culinary degrees (one in baking and pastry, and the other in culinary arts), and for the last four years, she has owned and operated her own small business, Bleu Moon Bakery. They are 100% vegan and specialize in allergy-friendly custom cakes and treats.
With that much experience in the industry, we knew we had to ask Shayanne to take a look at our buying guide and offer some extra insight and tips. To see more of her culinary work, you can check out her Facebook and Instagram.
Coconut oil has always been considered a superfood. But not many people know exactly what coconut oil is made from, and the benefits it can bring to our health.
Coconut oil can be made either from fresh coconut meat or copra, dried coconut meat. The colors of coconut oil vary from dark or light yellow to as clear as water. Coconut oil contains a lot of essential fatty acids, mostly in the form of saturated fats.
Unlike some other oils, which often contain long-chain triglycerides, a type of dietary fat, coconut oil consists of medium-chain triglycerides, shorter fatty acid chains. MCTs can go straight to your liver and then turn into ketones, providing your body with an energy source.
Rich in fatty acids, coconut oil can boost your fat metabolism while supplying your body and brain with enough energy to function. Furthermore, it helps increase the HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood, thus possibly helping prevent cardiovascular disease.
Coconut oil also has an antibacterial effect since 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are composed of lauric acid, which can kill harmful pathogens. Many studies have shown that coconut oil does wonders for your brain as well. It can boost brain function and may stave off Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.
Coconut oil can be used for your hair and skin as an effective moisturizer and antioxidant agent. It has a high amount of tocotrienol (a type of vitamin E), which has been shown to have a great anti-aging effect and can reduce wrinkles and spots on your skin.
Incorporating coconut oil into your diet is recommended. However, over-consumption of coconut oil may not be good for those who are on a weight loss mission, since each tablespoon of coconut oil has about 130 calories.
Therefore, it is recommended that coconut oil should be used as a replacement for less healthy fats instead of as an add-on to your diet. You can use coconut oil as a spread on your bread or in stir-fried dishes, but if the temperature is too high, the nutrients can be lost.
To attain the best benefits of coconut oil, consuming approximately 2 tablespoons per day is suggested by many studies!
Coconut oil, though high in health benefits, can also have negative effects from overconsuming. Some of these negative effects can include, diarrhea, cramps, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
People with cardiovascular risks should also beware of overconsuming coconut oil, due to the high saturated fats contained in the oil which could increase your LDL levels (bad cholesterol).
The melting point of coconut oil is about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that coconut oil will be liquid if the temperature is over 76 degrees. Meanwhile, if the temperature is below 76 degrees, coconut oil will turn into a solid.
Turning from liquid to solid form will not affect the nutrients of coconut oil. Coconut oil typically can last for about two years. You should store coconut oil at room temperature and keep it out of direct sunlight. It should not be put in the fridge. Also, make sure that the surrounding environment is clean to avoid contamination.
If your coconut oil is solidified, you can place the jar or bottle in hot water with a temperature of around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also microwave coconut oil, but if you microwave it above the smoke point (350 degrees for virgin coconut oil and 400 degrees Fahrenheit for refined coconut oil), it will denature.
It's best to store coconut oil in a dark container, but not a reactive metal container (to avoid losing flavor). Due to its extremely low melting point, it is best to store in a cupboard away from areas that might get warmer than 75 degrees.
It is best not to refrigerate because it becomes hard and more difficult to use when too cold. Coconut oil has a long shelf life of up to two years if stored properly. Make sure to check for mold and a rancid smell as your indicators of it turning.
After looking through various product listings, we compiled a list of the top 10 coconut oils which users recommend. Take a look and see if any work for you!
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Shayanne Brents.
|Production method||Cold-pressed, unrefined|
|Great for||Cooking, baking, beauty care|
|Certification||USDA certified organic, non-GMO|
|Production method||Cold-pressed, unrefined|
|Certification||USDA certified organic, non-GMO|
|Production method||Steam-distilled, fractionated|
|Great for||Beverages or drizzling on food|
|Certification||Certified paleo, vegan, non-GMO certified, USDA organic|
|Production method||Cold-pressed, unrefined|
|Great for||Cooking, beauty care|
|Certification||USDA organic certified, non-GMO|
|Certification||USDA organic, non-GMO|
|Great for||Beauty care, massage|
|Great for||Dietary supplement|
|Great for||Aromatherapy massage, beauty care|
|Production method||Centrifuge extracted|
|Certification||USDA organic, non-GMO, vegan|
|Great for||Alternative for butter|
|Certification||USDA certified organic, non-GMO, vegan|
Viva Naturals Organic
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic MCT Oil
Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
Organic Steam-Refined Coconut Oil
Liquid Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Softgels
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Centrifuge Extracted Organic Coconut Oil
Organic Coconut Oil With Non-Dairy Butter Flavor
Nutrient-Rich, Versatile Coconut Oil for Cooking and Beauty
High-Grade Coconut Oil That's 62% MCTs
Concentrated MCT Oil to Fuel the Brain and Body
The Most Pristine Coconuts Make a Great Cooking Oil
Natural, Non-Hydrogenated Coconut Oil With a Neutral Taste
A Colorless, Odorless Oil for Beauty Care and Massage Therapy
1,000 Milligrams of Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil Per Softgel
Premium Quality Oil to Heal and Soothe Skin Irritations
Centrifuge Extracted Oil With Mild, Light Flavor and Aroma
A Versatile Alternative to Butter
|Amount||16 oz.||32 oz.||16 oz.||54 oz.||15 oz.||16 oz.||120 softgels||16 oz.||28 oz.||14 oz.|
|Production method||Cold-pressed, unrefined||Cold-pressed, unrefined||Steam-distilled, fractionated||Cold-pressed, unrefined||Expeller-pressed||Fractionated||Cold-pressed||Fractionated||Centrifuge extracted||Expeller-pressed|
|Type||Extra virgin||Extra virgin||MCT oil||Virgin||Steam-refined||Fractionated||Extra virgin||Fractionated||Virgin||Refined|
|Great for||Cooking, baking, beauty care||Cooking||Beverages or drizzling on food||Cooking, beauty care||Cooking||Beauty care, massage||Dietary supplement||Aromatherapy massage, beauty care||Cooking||Alternative for butter|
|Certification||USDA certified organic, non-GMO||USDA certified organic, non-GMO||Certified paleo, vegan, non-GMO certified, USDA organic||USDA organic certified, non-GMO||USDA organic, non-GMO||Non-GMO||Certified organic||Not provided||USDA organic, non-GMO, vegan||USDA certified organic, non-GMO, vegan|
Choosing a great coconut oil is not an easy task due to the plethora of coconut oils currently sold on the market. In this buying guide, we provide you with some tips that you may want to consider when making a purchase!
There are various types of coconut oils with their own pros and cons. Before making a purchase, you should consider them carefully to figure out which type best suits your needs.
Virgin coconut oil is extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. There are no chemical processes involved, so virgin coconut oil still retains the purest taste with the most benefits.
You can use this product for cooking or your hair and skincare. However, virgin coconut oil has a strong, definite flavor that may scare away those who dislike the taste of coconut.
Many people are enticed by "extra-virgin coconut oil" products and assume that the difference is the same as with virgin and extra-virgin olive oils. Unfortunately, virgin and extra-virgin coconut oil are not distinguished according to the USDA (they're simply both unrefined), so this label may not signify any real difference.
For cooking, the smoke point of virgin coconut oil is 350 degrees. This makes it great for baking and sauteing, but not for frying or high cooking temperatures. For baking, it's a great grease to use for pans.
For your body - especially your hair - coconut oil can stimulate hair growth, add shine, and add moisture back to your hair.
Refined coconut oil is not the purest, but it still retains the benefits of coconut oil without having a strong, distinct coconut flavor. For those with coconut allergies, highly-refined coconut oil is a safer option.
Don't think that all refined products are bad and contain harmful additives. As long as the refined coconut oil is not chemically processed, it should still be healthy for you! Refined coconut oil is often cheaper than virgin coconut oil and can be used for cooking dishes where you don't want the coconut flavor.
Coconut oil is a product that has no distinctive taste due to the process in which refined coconut oil is extracted. This is a great thing for cooking and baking because you can control the flavor and taste of the dishes you choose to use coconut oil in without it tasting like coconut. That's so important, especially when it comes to flavor and health benefits.
Liquid coconut oil is naturally fractionated and can stay in liquid form at room temperature, unlike virgin coconut oil. It is safe to apply to the skin and can be used in cooking.
Nevertheless, to obtain the liquified form, fractionated coconut oil has been processed multiple times and lost some of its nutrients, including lauric acid. Therefore, you may not reap as many benefits from fractionated coconut oil as from virgin or refined types.
Refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) coconut oil is made from copra (dried coconut meat) and has been processed multiple times to become scentless and tasteless.
Despite all of the chemical processes, RBD coconut oil still contains medium-chain fatty acids and can still be considered a healthy oil. However, it has lost many phytonutrients that can only be found in raw, naturally processed oil.
MCT oil is made by removing compounds other than medium-chain triglycerides from oil sources such as coconut. Compared to coconut oil which still consists of low chain triglycerides and unsaturated fats, MCT oil is a concentrated source.
Due to the manufacturing process, MCT oil has lost some of the fatty acids commonly found in coconut oil, such as lauric acid. Instead, it mainly contains caprylic and capric fatty acids. MCT oil is transparent, tasteless, and scentless, thus suitable for those who dislike the strong coconut taste.
Since MCT is less likely to turn into fats in our body, MCT oil won't cause weight gain. It is often used in cooking or as a dietary supplement. However, MCT oil may cause gastrointestinal upset, so we recommend not consuming more than the stated recommended amount.
Coconut oil can be produced using various methods. However, not all of them can yield high-quality and great-tasting oil. Some methods even involve the use of chemicals and may be harmful to your health.
Despite how good the coconut source is, the oil can still be oxidized and lose all of the beneficial nutrients if processed using the traditional hot-pressing method. Therefore, when purchasing a product, you should choose one that is cold-pressed.
Cold pressing is a mechanical process that extracts oil from coconut meat. There is no heat involved, so all the natural goodness still remains. Cold-pressed coconut oil is good for cooking and is a superfood for your skin and hair.
As its name implies, cold-pressed pure coconut oil is extracted without any heat. When you're talking about health benefits, it's great! Due to the fact that the oil is unheated, many of the antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits are at their strongest capabilities, and it's completely free of additives.
Centrifuge-extracted oil is processed in a much more complicated way than the cold-pressing method. The coconut cream is extracted from the meat, and the remaining coconut is spun quickly in a centrifuge to yield a highly concentrated oil.
The coconut oil generated has a rich taste and scent of coconut. It also does not need to be further refined.
You may also see some coconut oils produced using the expeller-pressing method. Since this method involves higher temperatures than cold-pressing (which doesn't exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit), the coconut oil product has less nutritional value.
Chemical solvents such as hexane are also used to extract oil from the coconut before the extract is then cleaned through some more refining processes.
This expeller-pressing method is often used for refined oils. As a result of the high temperature involved, this method gives the oil a nutty, toasted fragrance and taste. Therefore, using this type of coconut oil in baking or cooking can give your dishes some unique flavors!
Chemically extracted oil is refined through a distillation process involving more potent solvents like lye. In order to reduce production costs, some brands even use oil by-products from the production of dried coconut flakes. Therefore, the coconut oil product is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated and may leave residual solvents in the oil.
When choosing coconut oil, you should confirm whether or not it has been certified. The certification sign indicates that the product is made from a qualified source, contains no harmful chemicals, and is safe for your health.
Products from the USA should be certified by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). If you buy products from other countries, look for JAS (Japan) or EU Organic (European countries).
Other certifications and verifications in coconut oil to look for include non-GMO, vegan, organic, or paleo, depending on your preferences.
It's time to treat your body with some healthy supplements! Check the links below for our suggestions.
Coconut oil is one of the perfect options to add to your diet and beauty care routine due to its antimicrobial properties and nutrients. Remember to consider how it's processed and choose the right kind for you - and look for the certification on the label!
Author: Thuy Nguyen
If you use coconut oil for cooking, you might be interested in a few other plant-based cooking essentials to add to your kitchen. We've consulted plant-based food enthusiast Amy Rosen, and she has given a breakdown of the must-have tools to accompany your ingredients.
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