“Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is an unrefined kernal oil, prepared from Cocos nucifera L., having substantial nutritional and medicinal value. Experimental studies have suggested its antioxidant (neutralize the free radicals, thereby rendering them harmless to other cells), anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation or swelling), immunostimulatory (having the capacity to stimulate an immune response) and hypolipidemic effects (lipid-lowering)” (Nair et al. 2016 abstract). In laymen terms please? “Coconut oil is generally extracted from wet coconut kernel (meat) by mechanical or natural means, with or without the use of heat. Chemical refining, bleaching or de-odourising processes are not required. As a consequence, the nature of oil is not altered and is known as virgin coconut oil” (VCO) (Villarino et al., 2007). VCO tends to have higher free fatty acids (FFAs) (can be used as an immediate source of energy), moisture, and volatile matter (can go bad faster) than refined coconut oil (RCO). In research studies VCO had a less amount of diglycerides than RCO. Diglycerides (a source of trans fat, and a emulsifier that helps keep oil and fat from separating, adds shelf life to your products): VCO showed an average content (w/w %) of 1.55, whereas RCO gave an average of 4.10. “Coconut oil is different from other vegetable oils due to high content of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), particularly lauric acid. MCFAs are burned up immediately after consumption and therefore the body uses it instantly to make energy, instead of storing it as body fat” (Enig, 1996). “Lauric acid is converted into a very valuable compound known as monolaurin, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties” (DebMandal & Mandal, 2011). “It is therefore assumed that consumption of coconut oil may help to protect the body from infections”.
Nair, S. S., Manalil, J. J., Ramavarma, S. K., Suseela, I. M., Thekkepatt, A., & Raghavamenon, A. C. (2016). Virgin coconut oil supplementation ameliorates cyclophosphamide-induced systemic toxicity in mice. Human & Experimental Toxicology, 35(2), 205-212. doi:10.1177/0960327115578867
Dayrit, F. M., Dimzon, I. D., Valde, M. F., Santos, J. R., Garrovillas, M. M., & Villarino, B. J. (2011). Quality characteristics of virgin coconut oil: Comparisons with refined coconut oil. Pure & Applied Chemistry, 83(9), 1789-1799. doi:10.1351/PAC-CON-11-04-01
Patil, U., Benjakul, S., Prodpran, T., Senphan, T., & Cheetangdee, N. (2016). CHARACTERISTICS AND QUALITY OF VIRGIN COCONUT OIL AS INFLUENCED BY MATURITY STAGES. Carpathian Journal Of Food Science & Technology, 8(4), 103-115.