If you are researching the different types of coconut oil out there, you might agree with this statement:
With all of the coconut oil brands on the market, choosing the best coconut oil, no matter how you plan to use it, can be a daunting task.
Coconut oil has come of age as far because of all of its wonderful properties but not all coconut oils are created the same. Since many members of our team personally use coconut oil for cooking and for other uses and our mission is to simplify scientific evidence around different types of supplements, we decided to spend some time researching, reviewing and outlining our views on the best coconut oils out there.
Best Coconut Oils – 2018 Edition
Like most “gourmet” dietary supplements, some types of coconut oils provide the highest levels of purity while others provide a better value.
|Viva Naturals Organic|
|Nutiva Organic||Southeast Asia||Cold|
|Carrington Farms Organic|
(Best Cold-Pressed Value)
(Best for Daily Use)
|Coconut Oil Softgels|
Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – Editor’s Choice
Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is a high-quality coconut oil. Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is sourced from local farmers in the Philippines. Certified organic by the USDA, this coconut oil is made in a cGMP facility and is also non-GMO and gluten free. To produce Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, the coconuts are mechanically cold pressed at low temperatures without the use of bleaches. The final product is free of coconut pieces or shreds and is stable at room temperature. Per the company, each tablespoon of Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Coconut Oil contains 836mg of capric acid, 906mg of caprylic acid, and 7,210mg of lauric acid.
Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil can also be used for cooking or as an alternative to butter in baked goods. The recommended serving size is up to four tablespoons per day if taken alone. This coconut oil has a reported shelf life of up to two years. The reason Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is our current top choice is because, in addition to all of its great qualities, Viva Naturals backs up this coconut oil with a 90-day, money back guarantee.
Given its physical characteristics, some people use Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil for other purposes. As an example, some have reported using this coconut oils as part of a nightly skin treatment regimen by rubbing it in before bedtime. Another use for this quality coconut oil is in the hair as a possible way to condition the hair and maybe even help strengthen the hair roots.
Like many coconut oils that are popular with the mass market, Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil infrequently has quality issues. For example, there have been rare reports of containers which are inadequately filled or coconut oil which had large air pockets of missing product. Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is shipped in a BPA-free, solid plastic container. While it is BPA-free, purists may be turned off by the plastic. Also, while certified organic, Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Organic is not certified raw.
- Cold-pressed at low temperatures and certified organic.
- Excellent, money-back guarantee
- Packing is made of plastic instead of glass.
- Not certified raw.
Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil – Cold-Pressed Quality
Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil has been a high-quality option in the market for over a decade. According to the company, Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is cold-pressed out of coconuts within two hours of being picked. Approximately half of Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil’s makeup is lauric acid.
Certified organic by the USDA, Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is virgin and kosher. Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil does not require refrigeration and is a soft, white solid up until the ambient temperature reaches 76 degrees F.
Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil has a definitive coconut flavor but it is generally enjoyable.
Nutiva is a well-regarded company that has been in the health food market for nearly two decades. Focused on organic farms and sustainable practices, Nutiva products are a good choice for anyone looking for a high-quality coconut oil.
While we don’t know the exact number, Nutiva produces a large quantity of coconut oil and other supplements. As one might expect, any company that produces health foods in bulk is going to have manufacturing issues from time to time and Nutiva is no exception. We have heard rare reports of having issues with the coconut oil they received, ranging from the coconut oil being rancid to receiving containers that are not full.
- Organic and kosher
- Well-regarded company with a long history
- Large-scale manufacturing process may result in infrequent quality issues
Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – Best Cold-Pressed Value
Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is another brand that seems to have taken the coconut oil market by storm in recent years. Showing up in Costco and other retailers, Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is another organic, non-GMO coconut oil option made from coconuts sourced from the Philippines. Like most quality coconut oils, Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is cold-pressed and unrefined. Carrington Farms, the company behind this coconut oil, has been around since 2000 and is focused on producing non-GMO health foods such as coconut and flax oil.
Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a nice addition to the kitchen. This coconut oil is usable for cooking as it retains a consistent smoke point and can also be used for baking. Many people also use Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for other purposes, including moisturizing their scalp and skin. Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has a one year expiration and does not need to be refrigerated.
Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has a stronger coconut smell when compared to many of the other leading coconut oil brands. Anyone who is looking for a coconut oil with a subtle flavor might feel overpowered by this brand. We also found the coconut flavor to be quite robust with a slightly gritty texture, making it difficult to swallow on its own. Also, Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is packaged in a plastic container. While the container is supposedly free of hexane and BPA, the plastic packaging might turn off people looking for glass.
- Established company with a history of making good products.
- Organic, cold-pressed coconut oil.
- Plastic container might be an issue for people who want glass.
- Stronger coconut taste with a gritty texture.
Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil – Great for Daily Use
Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is made from copra, or dried coconut meat, originating from the Philippines. Unlike the more expensive cold-pressed options, Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is expeller pressed and refined using a chemical-free process involving steam. This process enables production of coconut oil at a lower cost and also removes some of the coconut smell and flavor from the coconut oil to give it a wider range of uses.
At this price point, Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil may be more useful when needed in larger batches such as deep frying as opposed to smaller batch cooking. Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil can also be used liberally for other purposes such as a skin moisturizer.
As with most things, the value that Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil comes with some downsides. Some have reported that their batch of this coconut oil appeared yellowish in color, particularly after being melted.
- Good value for everyday use.
- Established company with reputable manufacturing processes.
- Expeller pressed rather than cold pressed production.
Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil – Skin, Massage and Carrier Oil
Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil is produced by Mother Nature’s Essentials and is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a fractionated coconut oil. Fractionated oils are coconut oils that are treated so that they are purified of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) to leave behind the medium-chain fatty acids, or MCFAs. Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil is fractionated using a process called “wildcrafted” hydrolysis on virgin coconut oil in which steam is used to separate out the long-chain fatty acids without the use of chemicals or hexane. Using coconut oil sourced from farms in the United States (California), Mother Nature’s Essentials production process results in a top quality fractionated coconut oil.
The fractionation process does thin out this coconut oil, making it easier to apply to the skin. Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil is typically available in 12 ounce bottles with a disk push top to reduce spilling. Despite the fact that Mother Nature’s Essentials Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil looks like an MCT oil, it is not recommended for ingestion given that is made using a beauty line production process. One might detect a faint coconut smell but it is hardly detectable unless you have a sensitive sense of smell. Also, as far as we can tell, it does not stain most standard types of clothing if it accidentally spills on them.
Many long-term users rave about the effects that Mother Nature’s Essentials Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil has on their skin and hair. Both subtle and moisturizing, some people notice rapid improvements in the dryness of their skin and the health of their hair. You can consider putting a few drops of this coconut oil in your bath or use it to help remove makeup at the end of the day. You can make soaps with it or use it as a carrier oil to craft your own essential oils.
Fortunately, Mother Nature’s Essentials Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil is also thin and absorbs well. It does not leave a lingering oil feeling on the skin.
Some might find Mother Nature’s Essentials Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil to be too thin and, as a result, hard to dispense in small quantities. Another minor complaint is that, historically, it has only been available in a 12 ounce bottle size which can run out very quickly, depending on how you use it. Some people also had issues with the top leaking during shipping but, from what we have heard, customer service is excellent and will help you out if that is an issue.
- High-quality fractionated oil made from US coconuts.
- Established company with excellent customer service.
- Cannot be ingested despite concentration of MCFAs.
Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel – Coconut Oil Capsules
Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel Capsules are a good way to get your dose of coconut oil without any of the mess that coconut oil sometimes brings along with it. Made in the USA by BioScience Nutrition, Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel Capsules are high-quality pills made from cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil in an FDA-certified, cGMP facility that undergoes third-party testing. The recommended serving size of Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel Capsules is two pills per day (one in the morning and one at night). At approximately one inch long, some might find the softgels to be on the larger size. Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel Capsules are made from non-GMO, organic coconuts and the coconut oil is made within eight hours of harvesting.
One of the great benefits of using Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel Capsules is that it makes taking a consistent dose of coconut oil much easier to do. For busy professionals or parents or anyone on the go, this form of coconut oil does not require you to cook a meal on the stove or swallow a lump or tablespoon of coconut oil directly (which can be difficult). Instead, you can simply take a softgel as part of your morning and nightly routine and go on with your day.
While convenient, Organic Coconut Oil 2000mg Softgel Capsules are not made for vegetarians or vegans. They contain a gelatin made from cow sources. Infrequently, some people have reported a coconut burp or aftertaste while taking these coconut oil supplements.
- Convenient softgel form makes taking coconut oil easy.
- cGMP, FDA-certified processing used to make softgels.
- Vegetarians and vegans will need to find another coconut oil source.
Coconut Oil – An Overview
Coconut oil is pressed from the kernel of the coconut.
Coconut oil has some interesting properties. Because coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, it might exist as both a solid or a liquid at room temperature, depending on the ambient temperature. Some people even use coconut oil as a crude thermometer to decide whether to wear shorts or not!
Coconut oil has a relatively high smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit – similar to butter. As a comparison, extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 320 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, unhealthy oils such as lard and canola oil have higher smoke points as do specialized oils such as grapeseed oil. From a health standpoint, the smoke point is important because it is the point at which the oil starts to burn and release toxic smoke which contaminates the food. Coconut oil has a relatively high smoke point and a good combination of fats, making it a top choice for people who want to do high temperature cooking.
Some coconut oils are fractionated before use. Fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil that has gone through special processing to remove lauric acid, the predominant long-chain (12-carbon) fatty acid in coconut oil. Once the long-chain fatty acids are removed, the coconut oil is considered fractionated because it mostly contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) such as C8, or caprylic acid, and C8, or capric acid, fatty acid chains. To fractionate coconut oil, the coconut oil is first heated and melted and then cooled. During the cooling process, the long-chain fatty acids separate from the MCFAs. MCFAs have been utilized as the building block for MCT oils.
The Coconut – Origins
To really understand coconut oil, it is helpful to understand its origin from the coconut itself. Coconut oil is harvested from the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), or palm.
Coconuts are traditionally known in their role as an edible fruit as well as the delicious and nutritious liquid that they produce – coconut water. However, as many people already know, coconuts also have a variety of other uses. The coconut husk has a variety of uses given its fibrous texture. Sometimes known as coir, coconut fiber is used around the world to make home furnishings such as mats, brushes and mattresses. Coconut fiber is also used in making nets, cords and sailing ropes.
Coconut Oil – What Type To Get
Depending on how you plan to use it, some coconut oil options might be better than others. Here are some ideas on which coconut oil might be best suited for you given your needs.
All-purpose, everyday coconut oil
If you plan to use coconut oil for both cooking and moisturizing, you will go through it quickly. And, unless you are willing to allocate a big part of your budget to refilling your supplies, you may want to consider a coconut oil that has good quality at a great price. Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil will likely fit the bill for you.
Coconut oil for massage
Want to turn up the heat on your massages? Coconut oil is a nice way to do it, and fractionated coconut oil like Mother Nature’s Essentials Organic Fractionated Oil is worth checking out.
Coconut oil supplements
Some people are interested in getting the nutritional benefits of coconut oil without dealing with all of the mess associated with using coconut oil itself. Fortunately, some companies have managed to package up organic, cold-pressed coconut oil into soft capsules that can be taken as any other supplement. For a nice option, check out Organic Coconut Oil Softgels.
Coconut Oil Processing – “Nuts” & Bolts
There are different methods used to make coconut oil and the quality of the final product is highly dependent on the method. In general, coconut oil can be made using mechanical pressing or chemical processing. Mechanical pressing is a process in which machinery is used to squeeze the coconut oil out of the coconut parts in different ways. Chemical processing to make coconut oil involves using chemicals and solvents to extract the coconut oil from the coconut and eventually filter it out to create the final product.
Most of the time, high-quality coconut oils are produced using mechanical pressing so that chemicals are not mixed in with the final coconut oil. Mechanical pressing of high-quality coconut oils consists of one of two types – cold pressing and expeller pressing. So what’s the difference?
Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil
Cold-pressed coconut oil is processed at lower temperatures – typically under 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is achieved by carefully monitoring the temperature of the coconut and the oil as the pressing process is taking place. Because so much attention is placed on making sure the coconut oil is at a low temperature, cold-pressed coconut oil is thought to retain more of its flavors and nutrients when compared to other processing methods.
Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil
Expeller-pressed coconut oil is processed at higher temperatures than cold-pressed oil but typically under 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Expeller-pressed coconut oil can be produced more quickly than cold-pressed coconut oil as there is a wider range of acceptable temperatures during processing.
Coconut Oil – Lauric Acid Source
Coconut oil is known and revered by many as a great source of lauric acid. Lauric acid, also known as dodecanoic acid, is a fatty acid that is also known as a C12 in that it contains twelve atoms of carbon in its molecule. Lauric acid is present in high concentrations in coconut oil and, in fact, over 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are made of lauric acid. Lauric acid is also found in palm kernel oil and laurel oil but rarely in other sources.
Lauric acid is used in a variety of industrial products such as makeup and other cosmetics and hygiene products such as soap. Lauric acid has also shown promise as an agent to increase the amount of “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the body.1
Lauric acid has also gained a reputation as a possible antimicrobial agent. Another study found some benefit to the use of lauric acid in fighting acne vulgaris.2 According to another study, lauric acid might be beneficial in fighting oral microbes.3
Coconut Oil – Interesting Uses
While coconut oil is often known for its delicious, nutritious taste and moisturizing properties, there are some other uses that one can consider in their daily lives. While coconut oil has not typically been scientifically studied for these effects, there are many reports of it working in these different ways. If you are interested, the best way is to try it for yourself.
Oil pulling consists of swishing oil around your mouth for 20 seconds or more to improve your oral health. Coconut oil, in addition to other oils, is an option when one is oil pulling. Used for thousands of years in India and other places, coconut oil pulling has shown some early promising benefits. For example, a study on Indian dental students showed significant plaque reduction with coconut oil pulling when compared to placebo.4
Early studies are being done to investigate the utility of coconut oil in would healing.5
Coconut oil, and particularly the polyphenols found in them, may help protect cells from oxidation.6
Coconut oil works in removing makeup – specifically eye makeup – in many people. When using it for this purpose, make sure to use a quality fractionated coconut oil.
Make your hair glossy
Coconut oil is slightly oily and, in many instances, any oil might make your hair glossy. However, people who use coconut oil regularly swear that a drop of oil rubbed through wet hair will keep hair moist and healthy.
Create essential oils
Coconut oil, especially fractionated coconut oil, is a great base for essential oils. Add a little lavender or other smells and create a spa experience in your own home.
Massage someone (or get one)
Massages are a wonderful way to relax after a long day. Don’t stress if you cannot find any massage oil as coconut oil (especially fractionated coconut oil) will do the trick.
Diaper rash treatment
We cannot recommend this but there are reports that coconut oil might help with diaper rashes.
Condition your wood furniture
Test a little coconut oil out on your wood furniture. Some people swear that it is a great wood conditioner.
Spoil your plants
Love your broad leaf plants? Try rubbing a little coconut oil over the leaves to give them an extra boost.
Treat your feet
Who doesn’t have sore feet at the end of a long day? Coconut oil might help get your feet back to normal.
Shine your musical instruments
Wood instruments like guitars might benefit from a light application of coconut oil.
Soften your leather
Anyone who has leather items knows how they crack and dry out over time. Some leather fans use coconut oil to bring back that soft, supple leather feeling.
Exfoliate your skin
Coconut oil mixed with a grittier substance like sea salt or sugar makes a great, soothing exfoliant.
Improve your nails
Some people like the way that coconut oils improve their nail and cuticles
Oil pulling consists of swishing oil around your mouth for 20 seconds or more to improve your oral health. Coconut oil, in addition to other oils, is an option when one is oil pulling. Used for thousands of years in India and other places, coconut oil pulling has shown some early promising benefits. For example, a study on Indian dental students showed significant plaque reduction with coconut oil pulling when compared to placebo. Another study showed a reduction in gingivitis from oil pulling.7
Coconut Water and Milk
Coconuts can produce coconut water and coconut milk in addition to coconut oil. So what’s the difference between all these forms of coconut liquids?
Coconut water originates from its role in the development of the coconut. Specifically, coconut water helps with the development of the inner part of the seed called the endosperm. Coconut water is enjoyed as a beverage for its taste and its hydrating properties.
Coconut milk, on the other hand, is made from the coconut white kernel. Through pressing the coconut kernel, the high fat coconut milk can be extracted. Coconut milk is high in lauric acid and can be separated into coconut cream and coconut oil through various methods.
Coconut Oil and Pets
Coconut oil appears to be safe for pets, but its use does come with some disclaimers. First of all, some dogs and cats may be allergic to coconut oil which is difficult to determine without actually trying it out and possibly through the use of some specialized tests. Even if your pet is not allergic to coconut oil and your veterinarian says that you can use it, coconut oil should be introduced into your pet’s diet slowly. The reason for this is that some dogs and cats have sensitive gastrointestinal systems and rapid introduction of coconut oil into the diet can lead to diarrhea. As with humans, younger pets most likely also need a smaller dose of coconut oil.
To be safe, please consult your veterinarian before giving coconut oil to your dog, cat or other pet.
Is Coconut Oil Safe?
The biggest concerns around the safety of coconut oil revolve around people with coconut allergies. Coconut allergy, a type of food allergy, can be mild or very severe. Anyone concerned about a possible food allergy to coconuts should definitely not try coconut oil without the help of their personal physician.
Even in the absence of a coconut allergy, excessive use of coconut oils can cause diarrhea or greasy stools. As a result, when getting started, most people should slowly increase their coconut oil intake until they find the amount that works well with their specific gastrointestinal system.
Best Coconut Oil – Summary
Hopefully, this article answered many, if not all, of the questions that you have about coconut oil. As interest and excitement about the benefits of coconut oil continue to grow, we hope that you find its many uses helpful to you and your health.
Other Best Nutrient Guides
Coconut Oil – References
1. Mensink RP et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 May;77(5)1146-55. link
2. Nakatsuji T et al. J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Oct; 129(10): 2480–2488. link
3. Huang CB et al. Arch Oral Biol. 2011 Jul; 56(7): 650–654. link
4. Nagilla J et al. J Clin Diagn Res. 2017 Sep;11(9):ZC08-ZC11. link
5. Asokan S et al. Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51. link
6. Ibrahim AH et al. Am J Transl Res. 2017 Nov 15;9(11):4936-4944 link
7. Illam SP et al. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2017 Jul;27(6):442-450. link