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What is Organic Coconut Oil?

By Lynne William
Updated May 16, 2024
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Organic coconut oil is derived from coconuts grown without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and which are processed without the use of ionizing radiation or artificial additives. There was once a misconception that coconut oil was unhealthy because of its supposed cholesterol-raising properties. However, it has been discovered that such findings were based on the use of hydrogenated coconut oil, not organic coconut oil.

The hydrogenation process—the conversion of liquid vegetable oil to a solid or semi-solid fat—creates trans fatty acids (TFAs). TFAs enter cell membranes, blocking the body's use of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and interfering with the healthy function of cells. TFAs are not naturally occurring in organic coconut oil.

In its natural, non-hydrogenated state, the health benefits of coconut oil are numerous. Lauric acid constitutes nearly half the fatty acid in organic coconut oil. Once converted to monolaurin in the body, lauric acid has the benefit of impacting bacteria, yeast, and so-called enveloped viruses in a negative way.

Lauric acid effectively destroys the lipid membrane of enveloped viruses including the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1), influenza, and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). A primary component of human breast milk, lauric acid aids in protecting breastfed infants from illness during their first months. Studies are ongoing the usefulness of lauric acid from organic coconut oil in the treatment of AIDS.

Independent studies in the United States and abroad have demonstrated the effect of coconut oil in preventing heart problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Unlike other vegetable oils, coconut oil in its organic form does not lead to increases in low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol. In fact, it reduces injury to arteries, thus assisting in the prevention of atherosclerosis (inflammation of artery walls). Among other health benefits, organic coconut oil has also been demonstrated to aid in calcium absorption, which plays a part in bone strength as well as dental health. Additionally, liver efficiency, kidney health, and digestion benefit from adding organic coconut oil to the diet.

Organic, extra virgin coconut oil is readily available for purchase through many online outlets, in health food stores, grocery stores, as well as large chain stores such as Walmart and Costco.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By CarrotIsland — On May 14, 2011

@momothree- Coconut oil has many uses and its health benefits are fantastic. You can use it as cooking oil and in recipes. There are many ways to incorporate organic coconut oil into your diet. I use it when sautéing vegetables. I also use coconut oil if I deep-fry any foods. I also like to put a spoonful of it in my coffee in the mornings. Some people don’t like the taste of it but I love it.

There are also many recipes that use coconut oil as an ingredient. I make smoothies with it and I have a great granola recipe that uses organic coconut oil. Pretty much, anywhere that I would use shortening or vegetable oil, I use organic coconut oil instead. I prefer the Nutiva coconut oil over some of the others because it just tastes better to me.

By christym — On May 12, 2011

@momothree- There are actually numerous uses for coconut oil. It is used in cooking and has medicinal purposes, as well. I personally use coconut oil for hair therapy. It is a great way to provide natural nutrition to your hair. It aids in healthy growth and makes your hair super shiny. I also massage my scalp with coconut oil. That helps to prevent dry scalp and dandruff. Many conditioners contain coconut oil.

By momothree — On May 10, 2011

Is coconut oil something that you add to recipes or something that you cook with? I don't know that much about it and am not really sure what you do with it.

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