My love affair with all things coconut just keeps on growing! This year especially, I have been drinking it (coconut water), eating it (coconut flesh) and more recently over the last two months I have been cooking with it (coconut oil) as a healthier substitute to oil / butter whilst at the same time experimenting with it topically to use as part of various beauty and skincare regimes.
Coconut Oil has been under my radar for quite sometime to write about, primarily because of its versatile health and beauty benefits and after researching various brands that sold this product I decided I wanted to review and try Lucy Bee Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, simply for the stand out fact that the brand supports the Fair Trade community where the oil is originated from (Philippines).
Before I discuss Lucy Bee in more detail, I thought it would be beneficial to highlight and share with you, especially for those coming across Virgin Coconut Oil for the first time, what Coconut Oil actually is (not to be confused with coconut milk!) , the myths around consuming ‘saturated fats’, the health and beauty benefits of coconut oil whilst summarising why sooo many qualified health professionals and nutritionists are recommending that we incorporate this oil into our daily diet.
So without further ado, allow me to enlighten you with the findings I came across whilst researching Virgin Coconut Oil.
What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
Virgin Coconut oil is simply an edible oil that is extracted from the kernel or flesh of fresh matured coconuts by using processes such as:
- Cold pressed or expeller-pressed,
- Fermentation and
- Mechanical press
The term ‘virgin’ is used to signify that the oil is pure and untouched (basically the way mother nature made it with all its beneficial nutrients still intact) with as little processing as possible. Either little or no heat is used and absolutely no chemicals form part of the ingredients.
How Do I Tell The Quality of Coconut Oil?
Virgin coconut oil maintains a mild coconut aroma and flavour. As the oil is extracted from the white (colourless) meat of the coconut, good quality virgin coconut oil will be colourless.This is considered the highest quality and healthiest form of coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil that has been heated to excessive temperatures (there are some out there), will have a slight yellow appearance and is said to have a stronger flavour as opposed to mild.
Coconut Oil is High In Saturated Fat Content, Is This Bad For Me?
In a nutshell no. Through my experience, studies and knowledge as a fitness professional, I have noticed there seems to be increased confusion amongst many of the term ‘saturated fats’.
Not all fats are created equal as some are more harmful to your health than others. The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids.
Coconut oil is said to be natures richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), which is also referred to as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
- MCFAs they are sent directly ones liver unlike other oils which circulate our bloodstream.
- The MCFAs are then immediately converted into energy just like a carbohydrates, however unlike carbohydrates, MCFAs do not raise blood sugar or insulin levels, which makes coconut oil a suitable product to consume for diabetics.
- MCFAs are very different from LCFAs as they do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and can actually help to protect against heart disease.
- MCFAs are quickly absorbed by your body and are converted to energy instantaneously unlike LCFAs which linger in your body and eventually turn to fat cells.
The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets. Whether they are saturated, unsaturated, come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Research suggests up to 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids we consume are LCFA! (quite a shocking statistic)
However, plant-based polyunsaturated fat spreads like coconut oil contain less total fat (around 60%) of which less than 20% is saturated. They tend to contain more of the valuable polyunsaturated fatty acids and so provide a healthier option.
Health Benefits of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- Presence of Lauric Acid: Pure Coconut Oil contains approx 50% Lauric acid, and is the most abundant natural source of Lauric acid available.
- Anti-bacterial: Helps kill bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections.
- Anti-carcinogenic: Contains antimicrobial properties so it effectively prevents the spread of cancer cells and enhances the immune system.
- Anti-fungal: Helps kill fungi and yeast that lead to infections such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other similar infections.
- Anti-inflammatory: it appears to have a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue.
- Weight Management: Promotes loss of excess weight by speeding up your metabolism
- Zero Cholesterol: It contains NO cholesterol.
- Safe for Diabetics Coconut Oil is it is made up of MCFAs, which do not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.
- Strengthens the Immune System, thus helping the body ward off attack from infection and disease
These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid and because it contains antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Beauty Benefits of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Virgin Coconut oil is a natural product, free from harsh and possible toxic additives and is said a highly beneficial oil for healthy skin and hair.
As a lean more and more towards using natural, free from parabens and sulphate beauty and skincare products, I am fully aware what we use on our skin is indeed absorbed into our body, through our skin layers, into muscles and fat and ultimately into our bloodstream.
This is why I have chosen to discard my previous skincare products in favour of ‘natural products’. Over the last two months I have been using Lucy Bee to treat my dry hands and face during these cold winter months.
I use a quarter of a teaspoon (sometimes less as a little goes along way) gently rub the solid until it turns to liquid form and massage it into the affected dry flaky areas (in my case in between fingers and the t zone of my face) .
I was a bit apprehensive about using oil on my face for I have combination skin but surprisingly found the oil was not as greasy as first anticipated, got rid of the dry patches on my face and left a mild but noticeable scent of coconut.
Back To Lucy Bee
Now that you’re familiar with the background and health benefits of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (I hope that wasn’t a bore!) I will proceed to briefly discuss Lucy Bee as a brand as well as my thoughts whilst experimenting with their Coconut Oil.
Lucy Bee Background and Fair-trade
Lucy Bee’s Extra Virgin Organic Fair Trade Coconut Oil is produced in the Philippines. It is a nutritious dietary oil made from organically grown coconuts and is a Fair Trade product, the aim of which is to improve workers’, farmers’ and producers’ quality of life through sustainable community development.
It also contains:
- No Cholesterol
- No Gluten or Lactose
- No Additives
- No Preservatives
and is made using the following:
- 100% Fair Trade
- 100% Organic
- 100% Extra Virgin
- 100% Raw
- 100% Cold Pressed
- 100% Kosher
- Glass Jar
My Thoughts on Lucy Bee
I am absolutely smitten with the stuff! Having had the chance to experiment with it for coming up to two months has made me grow to appreciate its sheer versatility! I have only just managed finished the 300 ml jar which is pretty good considering I use it mostly for cooking, in particular frying, to sauté and to bake with as well as topically.
I was particularly impressed with just how fast the oil heated up once inside the pan! This proved to be very time productive as less time is wasted waiting around for sunflower oil to heat up.
That said a word of warning / advise should be noted. As the Coconut Oil heats up extremely fast, this also means that the time taken to sauté or fry your ingredients (in my case vegetables) are literally halved so do keep an eye on them or you will have crispy brown onions and chillies instead of them being nice and soft (speaking from experience haha).
The Mr uses it as a spread on toast (this is gorgeous by the way)
and it also works a treat when using a tablespoon as part of my healthy homemade pitta pizza ingredients (recipe to follow in separate post).
It is funny how things come into your life either by chance or opportunity and suddenly you cannot see yourself living without it. This is the same feeling I get with Lucy Bee and will no doubt be a firm staple in my household for years to come.
Lucy Bee Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil are available in two sizes 300ml jars and 500ml, are are retailed at £5.99 and £9.95 and can be purchased in most health stores like Planet Organic,
If after reading this article has left you wanting to find out more about Lucy Bee, Lucy Bee can be found online at the Lucy Bee Website, or by Following them via Twitter.
Have you used Lucy Bee or any other Coconut Oil as part of your dietary / beauty regime?
What were your initial thoughts on the stuff and is it now a regular staple in your household? If so, leave a comment. Always keen to see what you all think 🙂
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and no money has been exchanged. The products were sent for the sole purpose of a review. All views and opinions expressed are honest and entirely my own.