Coconut oil is a healthy fat containing 80%-90% saturated fat, so coconut oil retains its solid form when at temperatures lower than 78°F. Though saturated fat sounds terrible, it is made up of fatty acids, the primary of which is lauric acid, which is very beneficial.
Coconut oil comes from either the fresh coconut meat or dried coconut called copra. Virgin coconut oil comes from fresh coconut meat, whereas refined oil comes from copra. Important terms you may see on coconut oil labels include:
- Expeller-Pressed— This is a mechanical process to extract the oil from the coconut meat, often using heat during the process
- Cold-Pressed— This method keeps the temperatures below 120°F during the extraction process, which is thought to aid in retaining the nutrients found naturally in the oil
- Refined – The dried coconut is mechanically processed using heat to get the oil released from the copra. Some extraction methods also use chemicals like hexane.
- The oil is then steamed or heated to remove odors and finally filtered through clays to remove impurities and bacteria. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point and is odorless.
- Partially Hydrogenated – It is an oil that has been processed to extend its shelf life, but contains trans fats.
Coconut oils contain MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which are believed to be healthy fats.
However, it is essential to note that, according tothe Harvard School of Public Health, commercial brands of coconut oil do not have as high of MCT concentration as specially formulated coconut oil. Still, this does not mean that there aren't any MCTs, only that commercial coconut oil possesses fewer. Additionally, there is a high amount of lauric acid in coconut oil, which also has several benefits.
Coconut oil has long been used in alternative remedies as a health curative in humans, but did you know that it is equally beneficial for dogs?