Virgin Coconut Oil - VCO



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Virgin Coconut Oil or VCO
Is it worth the cost?

Virgin coconut oil, often abbreviated VCO, is more expensive than many other types of coconut oil.  Is it really worth the cost?  We are going to help you decide.

First of all, if you are comparing virgin coconut oil to most

Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil - VCO

Virgin Coconut Oil:  Fermentation Process

VCO - Cold Press Process

Virgin Coconut Oil:  Centrifuge Process

conventionally processed coconut oil out there, virgin coconut oil is definitely worth the cost, in our opinion, even if you have to eat less of it.  Most coconut oil is made from copra, which is dried coconut meat that may have been picked weeks, months or even years before the processing.  They also usually use petro-chemicals like hexane in the processing, and to add insult to injury, many of these oils are partially hydrogenated, creating the dangerous trans fatty acids.  In this case, it would definitely be worth the cost to use a virgin oil instead! 

In addition to using copra, hexane and hydrogenating the oil, most coconut oil today is refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD).  On the other hand, some high quality expeller pressed coconut oil may be an option for those on a tight bugdet or those who do not like the taste of coconut.  Just make sure and choose one that did not use a chemical processing, and one that is not hydrogenated.  For a lot more on RBD and Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil, check out our next page:

More on RBD and Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil - VCO

Virgin Coconut Oil, on the other hand, is made from fresh coconut meat or coconut milk.  Sometimes the meat is still dried, but only for a few hours, and right after harvesting.  One would think this method would help to preserve more of the nutrients.  The oil is then extracted by a variety of methods:  mechanical pressing, fermenting, centrifuge or boiling.  Boiling is used less often, as many who want a virgin coconut oil prefer a no or low heat process*.  VCO that has been boiled will often have a yellowish tint to it when liquid, and not be pure white when solid.  If you are looking for a superior product, virgin coconut oil that has been extracted by centrifuge or mechanical pressing is preferred by many.

*Keep in mind, though, that if you live in the United States or anywhere outside the tropics, these oils will have been transported in drums on a container across the ocean to get to you.  Temperatures in the drums routinely reach 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit, so anyone who thinks they are getting a “raw” coconut oil, whether virgin or not, is mistaken.

VCO usually retains the naturally occurring vitamin E (unless it has been boiled too much), and also has the fresh taste and smell of coconuts.  If you have purchased virgin coconut oil, but it does not smell like coconut, it is not a true VCO.

Let’s talk a little more about the three main methods of processing virgin coconut oil:  fermenting, cold pressing and centrifuging.

Virgin Coconut Oil:  Fermentation Process

Fermented virgin coconut oil is made by grating the fresh coconut meat and pressing out a coconut cream.  Then the cream is put into buckets and left for 24-36 hours to ferment.  The enzymes and bacteria separate the cream into the oil along with protein curd and a dark water at the bottom that is really a type of vinegar.  The protein curd is removed and then the oil is either siphoned off or ladled off.

Some of the problems with this type of coconut oil is that this method of processing does not produce a consistent oil, and acids of fermentation can be left in the oil, which can change the taste of the oil, especially over time.  Many people don’t like that taste, and although it is not present at detectable levels in all fermented coconut oil, it certainly can be.  Some manufacturers use diatomaceous and carbon filters, which remove some of these acids, but it seems to be impossible to remove all of them.  Even with the same brand, different batches can taste different.

Also, this fermented coconut oil is rarely produced without boiling it at 212 200 degrees Fahrenheit to remove excess moisture, as coconut oil processed this way tends to have a higher moisture content.  We recommend one of the other types of processing.

VCO:  Cold-Press Process

The next main way VCO is processed is by cold pressing.  This method also involves fresh coconut meat that is grated, but instead of pressing out coconut cream, the coconut meat is dried.  This is different than copra, in that the meat is dried right after grating it.  But there are varying techniques of drying the coconut flakes, and varying temperatures anywhere from around 103 degrees Fahrenheit to 178-180 degrees F.   In addition, different companies use varying amounts of pressure when they press their oil, and with more pressure, more heat is generated, and this can change the taste of the coconut oil.

It is kind of tricky, because of you don’t get enough of the moisture out, you will end up with an oil that can go bad quicker and may have an off taste.  On the other hand, if you use too high of a heat, you end up with a “toasted” taste and possibly some of the nutrients will disappear.

In addition, the pressing causes proteins to sometimes leak out under the press into the VCO.  They are often filtered out later, or allowed to settle so they can be decanted later.  However, often small amounts of the proteins remain if great care is not taken.  This can reduce shelf life and cause rancidity sooner rather than later.  So if you decide to buy a cold pressed variety of virgin coconut oil, try to find one that is good about making it as pure as possible, and one that has been processed at only low temperatures.  Just keep in mind that most cold pressed virgin coconut oil will still contain small doses of the soluble components of the coconut meat.  It tends to have a stronger coconut flavor than the centrifuged processed oil (see the next section).  One good brand for cold pressed virgin coconut oil that we have found is Nutiva:


Virgin Coconut Oil:  Centrifuge Process

Some people think that the centrifuge process produces the best tasting, healthiest type of virgin coconut oil.  This type of oil also takes the fresh coconut meat and presses it to get coconut cream, but then instead of boiling or fermenting, it is spun by a centrifuge to separate out the oil.  This type of coconut oil ends up with a light coconut flavor that many prefer.  It is very mild, and very smooth as well, as all moisture, protein and fiber can be removed without heat*.  But it is more time consuming and tends to be one of the most expensive to produce.

* Some consider centrifuged virgin coconut oil a raw food, but if you think raw foods should not be heated above 110 degrees or so, please keep in mind that if you do not live in the tropics, your oil probably got up to 120 or 130 degrees just in the container on the boat on the way to your country.

Virgin Coconut Oil or VCO:
  The Best Coconut Oil
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FDA Disclaimer: None of the statements on this website have been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition.  Furthermore, none of the statements on this website should be construed as making claims about curing diseases or dispensing medical advice.  Please consult a physician or another health care provider before trying any nutritional supplement, making changes in your diet, or doing new exercises, especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries.

Healthy Coconut Oil Rx


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