1. How do I use virgin coconut oil?
There is more and more evidence that the long chain polyunsaturated fats are contributing to many of the health problems Westerners face today. There are many ways to use coconut oil and incorporate the good saturated fats into one's diet. Since it is a stable cooking oil, one can simply replace unhealthy oils with VCO. Some people, who do not like the coconut taste, mix coconut oil with olive oil, natural palm oil or butter for cooking. Sometimes they mix it with a nut butter (like peanut, almond, or cashew butter) or with honey as a spread. Since it is a solid most of the time at room temperature, it can be a butter or margarine substitute for bread spreads. This coconut oil greatly enhances the flavour of baked foods, making them mouth-wateringly good. Whenever a recipe calls for butter, margarine, or any other oil, VCO can be substituted. Many people simply eat it by the spoonful. Blend it in shakes and smoothies; stir into porridge; prick potatoes and other vegetables and roast in coconut oil; makes great popcorn. If food sticks, blend with a little butter or olive oil in the pan. (Not suitable for cold salad dressings because the liquid oil will become solid when mixed with cold ingredients). It is also great for your pets! Add coconut oil to their food for a nice shiny coat and for general good health. VCO even helps in controlling a dog’s bad breath.
2. Can I use it on my skin?
VCO is very good for your skin. It creates a friendly environment for good skin flora and a harmful environment for pathogenic bacteria. It will give you a certain amount of protection from sunburn, help wrinkles to fade, and make your skin baby soft. Research shows that it may help improve skin conditions such as acne, warts, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Coconut oil is also an excellent massage oil. People with dandruff or red spots on their scalp should douse the scalp with coconut oil and leave it for about 20 minutes. Then shampoo. It can also be used to get rid of Head Lice and Nits. You will absorb a certain amount of the oil through your skin if you use it as a moisturiser so this is another way to consume it. Use as a baby oil - for skin, nappy rash & cradle cap.
3. How do I use coconut oil when it is solid?
You can melt solidified oil by placing the container in a sink filled with hot water, making sure the lid is tight and no water mixes with the oil. Large containers of oil (eg 5L or 10L) can then be decanted into wide mouthed jars. You can either melt all the oil and fill several jars or use one jar and keep refilling it. Be sure to use dry jars as any water droplets can severely affect the shelf life of the oil. Another practical method for melting is to use solar power ie leave the container in a car parked out in the sun or find a warm sunny spot at home (next to the cat?!) Alternately just leave it in a warm sunny spot. If you only plan to fill one jar at a time you do not need to fully melt the oil but be careful that the remaining solid mass doesn't slide from the top of the container and cause a rush of oil as you pour it. If the lid is large enough simply scoop it out with a spoon.
4. At what temperature does coconut oil go solid?
It goes solid at about 24°C (75°F). As it cools from the liquid state, (26°C and above) it forms small "pearls" which join together until the whole product is solid at 24°C. When cooled at a slower rate the pearls are much larger and the oil can appear translucent (sometimes it appears grey).
5. What is coconut butter and “copha”
Coconut butter is simply the coconut oil in a solid state. However, the expression "coconut butter", while common in the United States, is rarely used in Australia because the dairy industry has exclusive rights to the name "butter", with the exception of peanut butter. Copha is hydrogenated RBD coconut oil. As a commercial product, “Copha” is also sometimes called "coconut butter".
6. What is the difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil?
The cheapest coconut oil is made from copra, the dried flesh of coconuts, and must be industrially Refined, Bleached and Deodorised (RBD) in order to make it edible. Virgin coconut oil is made directly from fresh coconuts and is normally not further refined. We call Niulife Coconut Oil ‘Extra Virgin’ because, like the best traditional cold pressed olive oil, it is made from the first and only pressing. The Direct Micro Expelling (DME) system we invented is one of the quickest in the world, producing delicious hand-pressed oil less than one hour after opening a coconut. This process locks in all the natural flavour and goodness and produces top quality oil. No further processing is required and we believe ‘extra virgin’ is a legitimate description of this 100% pure and natural, cold pressed coconut oil.
7. How much coconut oil should I take?
Researchers state that the optimal adult consumption of coconut oil is approximately 50mls (2-3 tablespoons) per day. This equates to the amount of medium chain fatty acids a nursing child would consume in one day from mother's milk. It is best to use coconut oil three times a day at mealtimes where it can be used in place of other oils or taken as a supplement. We suggest that you begin with a smaller amount and gradually build up to the recommended dosage. Perhaps don’t eat it just before bedtime as any increase in metabolism may keep you awake!
8. How much cholesterol does coconut have?
Vegetable oils have insignificant amounts of cholesterol — Coconut Oil having the least:
9. What about shelf life? Does coconut oil need to be kept in the fridge?
Coconut oil is naturally very stable due to it being a natural saturated fat and because of its antioxidant properties. Furthermore, because DME virgin coconut oil is produced so quickly, its free fatty acid (FFA) level is less than 0.1% at production. This oil has an almost indefinite shelf life when kept under preferred storage conditions - out of direct sunlight in a cool dry place. It is not necessary to refrigerate. If you do, it becomes rock-hard. VCO solidifies naturally at 24°C. For some applications, it is better liquid and for others solid. Melt the oil by standing the container in warm water. Do not microwave.
10. Could there be side effects when first starting to use virgin coconut oil?
Virgin coconut oil is a safe food, but people who are used to a low-fat diet, or who are generally unhealthy, might experience some side effects at first. There could be a “die-off” effect as coconut oil does contain high levels of lauric acid which is a strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal agent. As these microbes are killed and eliminated from the body, they can cause temporary side effects like diarrhoea. It is best to build up to the recommended daily dosage gradually over a couple of weeks. Reduce your intake if there are any side effects. It is unlikely, but some people could possibly have an allergic reaction to coconut oil - but keep in mind that it has been used safely by millions of people in tropical communities for thousands of years.
11. What is the Lauric Acid content of DME coconut oil?
The DME coconut oil from the South Pacific that we have tested has had Lauric acid between 49% and 51%. The amount of Lauric acid is determined primarily by the variety of coconut palm, but may also be due to the specific growing conditions and the age of the coconut. Often companies will state their oil has 50% or more lauric acid, when in fact it only occasionally reaches this level. So you can't always believe that the oil you purchase really has 50+% of lauric acid. However, you should not judge an oil by its lauric acid content anyway. Lauric acid is only one of the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) in coconut oil. Some people have the mistaken impression that it is the most important fatty acid. That is not so. All of the fatty acids are important. If the lauric acid content goes up then some other fatty acids must decrease. This is not particularly good. All of the MCFA are good and some are better than others at certain things. Capric and caprylic acids digest better than lauric acid and, therefore, would be better for weight loss, thyroid function, digestive function, etc. The big benefit of lauric acid is that it has the strongest antimicrobial activity. That's true in general. Caprylic acid is traditionally used for fungal infections because it has proven to be very effective. There are certain organisms that are killed better by caprylic or capric acid than by lauric acid. The strength or effectiveness of several different fatty acids is better than anyone because they all work synergistically together. So if you increase lauric acid you are reducing the other fatty acids and may REDUCE the overall effectiveness of the coconut oil.
13. What happens when virgin coconut oil is heated? Will it become hydrogenated?
Coconut oil is not easily damaged by heat. It has a smoking point of 177°C. VCO does not readily oxidise like unsaturated oils do when heated, leading to free-radical formation. It is the ideal oil for deep frying and is safe to use several times over. Hydrogenation is not caused by heating coconut oil during cooking. Hydrogenation is an industrial process where hydrogen is introduced into an oil to artificially saturate it so that it will be solid at room temperature. It alters the chemical structure of the oil and creates harmful trans-fatty acids. It is perfectly safe to heat coconut oil for cooking.
14. What is the Vitamin E content?
One of the most propagated myths regarding coconut oil we are seeing on the Internet today is that it is a good source of Vitamin E. This is simply not true – not even in Virgin Coconut Oil. A search in the USDA database for coconut oil will confirm this fact, and when Virgin Coconut Oil was tested in the lab to determine its nutritional qualities, it was found to have very small amounts of Vitamin E. We suspect that people are saying this because coconut oil is known to be very nourishing to the skin – and because it sounds good it gets repeated! Coconut oil is often combined with vitamin E because when it is combined with a good source of vitamin E, the vitamin E is more readily absorbed by the skin and transferred to organs such as the heart and liver. Coconut oil may not contain a lot of vitamin E but an interesting fact is that it reduces our need for vitamin E. Physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat, Ph.D. considers coconut oil to be an antioxidant, due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formation. He feels it reduces our need for the antioxidant protection of vitamin E.
15. Does coconut oil contain Hexane?
Niulife coconut oil is free of Hexane, cold pressed, certified organic by NASAA and not Genetically Modified. Hexane is not used in our DME process. To be certified organic, any use of any chemicals is ruled out – even fertilizer in the soil is banned. Having organic certification is sufficient to prove that no chemicals are used at all. Hexane is used in large industrial situations to chemically extract coconut oil from copra, the low grade dried flesh of coconut. Coconut oil can also be removed from copra without chemicals by physical extraction using the heat and pressure of a screw press. Copra oil is then Refined, Bleached and Deodorised (RBD) to make it edible. Niulife Extra Virgin Coconut oil is cold pressed using our own invention, the Direct Micro Expelling process, at a village level, in the Pacific islands. The DME process takes less than one hour from fresh nut to virgin oil. This locks in all the natural goodness and yields a gourmet grade, full flavour oil free of contaminants.