The Truth About Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is something that almost everyone is talking about. From baking cakes, frying meats and veg, to taking off your make-up, it’s uses are seemingly endless.
What Is Coconut Oil?
It’s an edible oil which is extracted from the flesh of fresh, matured coconuts. Those used for Lucy Bee Organic Raw Coconut Oil are grown in agroforestry environments in either the Philippines, the Solomon Islands or Sri Lanka, with the country of origin always stated on the label.
While coconut oil is something of a new concept to us in the West, we’re pretty late to catch on. Some countries have been using it for generations. The Tokelauans, for example, live in the South Pacific and get 60% of their calories from this fabulous food. Coconut oil is widely-used in tropical countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines.
We’re no longer scared by the fat content found in coconut oil. It’s a saturated fat known as medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs or medium-chain fatty acids, to put it in more simple terms) and among the saturated fats found in the oil is lauric acid.
The whole debate about saturated fats is still ongoing but many now realise these are not the demon we once thought.
This oil is also free from cholesterol, dairy and gluten.
How to Use Coconut Oil?
We use our unrefined coconut oil as a replacement for all processed cooking oils, including margarine and vegetable oil. You can fry, roast, bake and spread with it. You can even apply it directly to your face or hair as a beauty product.
How Much Do I Use?
No recommended dosage actually exists and it all depends on your own personal uses, as well as your diet and fitness levels.
The general guide is 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil a day, in replacement of processed oils. Remember that balance is key so use in moderation and as part of a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods and not forgetting exercise!
Which Type Should I Buy?
While coconut oil is packed with benefits, it’s a good idea to know the difference between coconut oils – refined and unrefined. There are various qualities of coconut oil depending on the raw material used and the extraction method.
We like to keep things as natural as can be at Lucy Bee, unrefined, raw, organic, cold pressed and extra virgin (virgin and extra virgin mean the same thing when talking about coconut oils) versus those coconut oils that have been refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD). RBD oils are extracted from copra that can have been left out in the elements and turned rancid and mouldy, so the oil needs to be heavily refined to make it suitable for human consumption.
Coconut oils taste different depending on where the coconuts are grown and how the oil is extracted, which is why we offer oils from the Philippines (rich aroma and taste), the Solomon Islands (creamy flavour) and Sri Lanka (light aroma and taste). It’s also extracted at the lowest possible temperature, below 45C so you can be sure that it retains every last drop of goodness.
What’s more, our oil is certified by the Fair Trade Sustainability Alliance (FairTSA), which means that by purchasing through us, you’re really making a difference to communities who need it most. Plus, you can be sure that monkeys are NOT used to pick coconuts used to make our oil.
How Do I Store it?
In the UK, extra virgin coconut oil is solid at room temperature, and turns to liquid when heated above 24C. As it cools, it will solidify again, still retaining all of its benefits.
On hot days it will soften and melt in the jar and as the temperature drops it will solidify again, this doesn’t alter the benefits or its nutritional value. There’s no need to refrigerate it, even once opened and we always recommend using a clean, dry utensil when taking the oil out of the jar, to avoid any contamination.
If you’re after inspiration, then the Lucy Bee website is full of ideas on how to use your coconut oil. From smoothies and soups, to cakes, roasts and hair masks, we have everything you’ll need. We’ve even got 2 cookbooks with over 100 recipes in each, and a beauty book with 50 recipes for you to try.
- Cold Pressed
- Extra Virgin / Virgin Unrefined
- Fair Trade
Cold pressed is the method by which the oil has been extracted from the ‘meat’ of the coconut, at a controlled temperature, retaining the healthy qualities.
Minimal heat has been used in its extraction up to a maximum of approximately 45C. This is coconut oil at its finest and in its most natural state.
Refined v Unrefined
Refined coconut oil is usually made from dried coconut and the process includes bleaching and deodorisation, known as RBD.
Unrefined coconut oil is usually made from fresh coconuts and means the oil has not undergone any processing. It will include the word virgin in its title.
If it says ‘organic’ on the label, then look for a logo from an organic body that shows that the oil has been approved. The Organic Food Federation logo means the oil has been produced free from pesticides and intensive farming practices.
A Fair Trade logo means the company is accountable so you’re assured the workers and farmers are not exploited and both they, their families and the local community benefits.
By Lucy Bee
Lucy is a 25-year old, CIBTAC qualified beauty therapist with a love of healthy living. Diagnosed as a coeliac at a young age, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet has always been important and has been the driving force behind Lucy Bee, a family run company. Lucy Bee is all about eating as close to nature as possible and finding the best quality foods that support our environment and are Fair Trade