Characteristics of Coconut Oil
1. Is coconut oil bad for health?
Medical profession and modern nutritionists have found that coconut oil is not harmful for health. Actually, the harmful oil is processed vegetable oil (RBD Oil) that we often use for cooking every day. There was famous news that a fast food customer sued the shop company because he was sick from trans-fat in RBD oil using for cooking.
In the other hand, coconut oil helps preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancers. It doesn’t cause obesity and not increase cholesterol level. Coconut oil is saturated fat so it controls fat oxidation in our body and decrease free-radical, results in healthy skin and anti-aging.
Coconut oil is not bad even for babies because it contains plenty of lauric acid which is a fatty acid found in natural mother milk. The best way to consume coconut oil is replacing it to other vegetable oils for cooking. You can also eat coconut oil as a supplementary food, 3-4 teaspoons for adults and 1-2 tablespoons for children. Separate total quantity into a small quantity for eating all day. Furthermore, you can mix coconut oil in hot drinks such as hot coco, warm juice and the tomato juice mixed up with coconut oil is very delicious.
2. How can we consider quality of coconut oil.
Quality of coconut oil is basically considered by certification from food and drug institutes (example: FDA) and other aspects described below.
2.1 Clearness: clean coconut oil must be clear, transparent. This can be different in each brand because of different bottle and package.
2.2. Smell: coconut smell is aroma, no rancid although after opening. Some manufacturers modify coconut smell using synthetic fragrance. This method makes a very aromatic when opening, but after then, the aroma decreases considerably and change to rancid, and the oil’s life is too short.
2.3 Lightness: good quality coconut oil is lightweight and very little viscous. When swallow, it easily and quickly passes through your throat, it feels like melting in mount. You will not smell a strong aroma when eating.
2.4 Absorption: good quality coconut oil has small molecules so it can absorb quickly and leaves no oil stain.
3. Unique of coconut oil aroma in cooking
Feeling unfamiliar with coconut oil aroma when cooking causes by:
- Vegetable oils intimate: We often use RBD vegetable oils (RBD – Refined Bleached and Deodorized) that their aroma was removed. So, we cannot smell anything.
- Pure plant oil has individual aroma because it hasn’t been modified by chemical substances. Coconut water is the same, if you are not familiar, just add another spice to adjust food aroma.
Eating coconut oil tips:
1. Mix with fruit juice.
2. Add in soups or curries.
3. Use as a salad dressing.
4. Pour on ice cream or smoothie.
5. Use for frying.
4. When coconut oil becomes solid
What is different between oil and fat? Oil is liquid but fat is solid. Every kind of oil can be fat by different temperature. Coconut oil becomes solid (as white cream) at temperatures lower than 25°C (77°F) because it is saturated oil, so it transforms to solid quicker than others. Coconut oil is often solid white cream on shelf (if cold there) and changes back to clear oil at over 25°C. Solid fat of coconut oil is not waste oil. In the other hand, it’s a symbol of good oil. If you want to melt it, just place the package in the room temperature or near sunlight (but not directly to sunlight because the light may affect the package material)
Although coconut is a product from tropic, but it’s popular in cold weather countries. Being solid is a normal characteristic of coconut oil, so it is usually packed in jar rather than bottle (to scoop, not pour).
5. Coconut oil’s shelf life.
Coconut has a long shelf life. MCFAs (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) have anti-oxidant property, so they take long time to be rancid. There is a research from Philippines indicates that a coconut oil packed in jar and opened, has a shelf life longer than 5 years.
But if coconut oil releases rancid smell, do not consume it because moisture has mixed with the oil and become free-radical.
Hence, the opponent of coconut oil is moisture. Dry Oil Process is an important step to remove moisture. Smelling coconut oil when buying is the first thing you have to do. After opening, just keep the oil in a dry place.
6. Why do we have to choose frying oil?
Oil’s property depends on saturation and molecular length. High-Saturated oils are heat resistant; their molecules don’t change in high temperature because hydrogen or oxygen cannot oxidize them anymore (to create free-radical). Unsaturated fat has empty slots in so hydrogen or oxygen can catch up and oxidize to create free-radical and oil is easy to be rancid.
There are 5 causes of rancidity
4. Hydrogenation (Filling hydrogen to make fat saturated, this kind of fat – Trans-Fat, is very harmful for health)
In RBD oil processing, some oil molecules are affected and transformed to free-radical. When they are reused, too much Trans-Fat will be created. Although olive oil has plenty of oleic acid that’s very good for health, but it has only saturated fat only 14% - monounsaturated fat 77% and polyunsaturated fat 9%. By this property, olive oil cannot resist heat, so it should be used for salad dressing or low-temperature recipes.
If you want an oil for frying or for high-temperature cuisines, just use oils produced by cold pressed method and high-saturated because they can resist light, weather, and heat.