The history of Coconut Oil
Produced from the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), a native to all tropical regions of the world, coconut oil is considered by many nutritionists to be a superfood – but it wasn’t always this way.
Used for thousands of years in South East Asia by the locals, demand for coconut oil went through the roof once Europeans discovered it.
A trade worth billions of dollars in today’s money started, with plantations set up all over the world, resulting in the oil becoming a common cooking ingredient in Europe and America.
That was until the Second World War broke out and cut off the supply
The myth of Coconut Oil and saturated fats
Once the war finished and things slowly began to return to normal, the plantations were happy to get back to full production again, but then something happened that changed the industry forever.
Ancel Keys was a leading public-health scientist in America in the 1950s, and he was the first to make the connection between saturated fats and heart disease.
In his famous Seven Countries Study, Keys showed 7 countries with high rates of heart disease correlated with high consumption of saturated fats. He hypothesised that the saturated fats turned into cholesterol, which then blocked arteries.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, so with home-grown soybean oil replacing it during the war, everyone decided that coconut oil was a heart attack in a bottle, so soybean remained the cooking oil of choice.
The problem with Keys’ research is that correlation does not imply causation. Key’s picked 7 countries that matched his hypothesis, but there were many countries that showed the opposite results which he conveniently left out.
Still today his work is hotly debated, but recently it’s also been revealed that the sugar companies paid researchers to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead.
It’s a conspiracy that the coconut oil industry never recovered from, but now things are starting to change, with new research suggesting that the oil is not only suitable for cooking, but can be used as a possible medicine, biofuel, cosmetic constituent, and anti-microbial agent!
Nutritional benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconuts have been a staple food for many cultures for thousands of years, providing them with essential dietary fats, tasty flesh, water, milk, and of course oil.
Their secret lies in their medium-chain triglyceride fatty acids (MCT fats), which is different from most oils that contain long-chain triglycerides. MCT fats are more easily absorbed and metabolised by the human body into an available source of energy.
Most of these MCT fats come in the form of Lauric Acid, which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.
Considered one of the “good” fats, MCT fats can help promote weight loss by burning calories, which is why coconut oil is used widely by bodybuilders and endurance athletes.
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil helps to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, helping to relieve symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and gastric ulcers. It also has antioxidant effects to help support pancreatic, kidney, liver, and thyroid function.
Other health benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil doesn’t just help you on the inside, but on the outside too!
The high lauric acid content is the reason it is so sought-after in the cosmetics industry. It’s the main ingredient in many hand and face creams, lotions, and soaps.
Because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, the protein can get inside the hair shaft, reducing protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hair.
Coconut oil also has incredible anti-microbial properties, due to its concentration of monolaurin. Studies suggest it can kill the causes of fungal infections such as ringworm, thrush, or athlete’s foot, even killing the bacteria that cause such diseases as pneumonia, meningitis, and food poisoning.
Cooking uses of Coconut Oil
Of course, as great as all these health benefits are, they wouldn’t be much use if coconut oil tasted horrible!
Fortunately, the sweet taste and alluring smell of coconut oil add life to any recipe, transforming average dishes into something special.
Used as a substitute for butter in many recipes, it has a high smoking point, and like butter, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, meaning it can be used for baking, frying, and to oil saucepans.
When melted, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil gives off a beautiful, sensual aroma, one of the reasons it’s so attractive to cook with.
Olivado’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Our Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is created using a special cold-pressed method which allows us to keep in all the natural goodness of the coconut flesh without using harsh chemicals.
The fresh coconut flesh is either quick-dried using minimal heat and a mechanical oil press or wet-milled by pressing coconut milk from the flesh then separating the oil from the water.
Coconut oil has a long shelf-life, allowing transportation and storage for long distances and times, and is also resistant to oxidation, so it doesn’t go rancid quickly. Rancidity is dangerous because it can generate free radicals, which have been proven to cause cancerous cells.
A rich source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre, our Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil can be used as a spread, in dressings, in smoothies, and even applied topically as a nourishing skin treatment.
You can transform your cooking with a simple touch of coconut oil and bring your recipes to life!
We also have our Natural Organic Coconut Oil if you would like something with a little less kick. Extracted and refined without chemicals, our natural coconut oil has a neutral flavour for all cooking and baking requirements.
If you have any questions about our Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, please don’t hesitate to contact us today, or head on over to our Facebook page where you’ll find our latest news, products, and recipes!