Coconut oil is considered a “superfood” thanks to a number of health benefits it provides.
Throughout the history, coconut oil was used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. In fact, it is considered the healthiest oil on the planet together with olive oil.
Today, coconut oil is used for cooking, skin care, hair care, among other things. Although we are inclined to believe we know everything about coconut oil, there are numerous misconceptions about it.
You’ll understand the true potential of this oil only when you compare it with other parts of coconut and different kinds of oils. Fortunately, you came to the right place. Scroll down to see how coconut oil compares to other products.
Coconut Oil Vs Other Oils
1. Coconut oil vs. coconut milk
Both milk and oil are made from coconut meat but in a different manner. Several methods of coconut oil production are used, depending on the type of oil that is to be made. For example, virgin coconut oil is achieved by using fresh coconut meat or non-copra.
The process does not involve chemical and high testing. Instead, virgin coconut oil is made via two types of the manufacturing process such as quick drying and wet-milling. On the other hand, refined coconut oil is made from copra (dried meat of coconut) by smoke drying, sun drying, and must be purified or refined.
In order to get coconut milk, the flesh is grated and soaked in hot water. Then, the cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off while the remainder of liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth in order to extract a white liquid i.e. milk. Coconut milk is lactose-free and is ideal for persons who are lactose intolerant, but it’s also a great option for vegans.
Coconut milk is a great source of protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Coconut oil is a wonderful source of medium chain triglycerides, particularly lauric acid, which go straight to the liver, increase energy expenditure and allow you to experience many other health benefits of the oil. Both milk and oil are abundant in vitamins E and K.
While there is no set limit for daily intake of lauric acid, many doctors and scientists recommend taking 10-20 grams a day which is about 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil or 10 ounces of coconut milk. Milk and oil of coconut differ in terms of calorie content. A tablespoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories while milk has 30 calories.
Both milk and oil of coconut are easily incorporated into any diet and meal you make, but oil is more versatile. You can also use oil as a moisturizer, hair conditioner or mask, and for many other purposes as well, while milk is rarely or never used that way.
2. Coconut oil vs. coconut water
Coconut water is a clear liquid tapped from the center cavity of the fruit while it is still green and young. Basically, coconut water is made from young coconuts only because as they age, the liquid gradually solidifies and turns into meat. That meat is used for the production of oil or milk.
One cup of coconut water contains only 45.6 calories, 5.8mg or 10% daily value (DV) of vitamin C, 7.2mcg or 2% DV of folate, 57.6mg or 6% of calcium, but it’s also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Unlike oil, coconut water doesn’t supply your body with all the medium chain fatty acids, but it still comes with significant benefits.
Due to high potassium content, coconut oil is a wonderful electrolyte replacement and it has been used for IV hydration in emergency situations. Coconut water is ideal for active persons because it’s a perfect sports drink just with lower carbohydrates content compared to other sports beverages. Coconut water can aid blood pressure management, again, thanks to potassium content. While coconut water has many health benefits, oil has more superior effects. Also, coconut oil is more versatile than coconut water.
3. Coconut butter vs. coconut oil
It’s not uncommon for people to assume coconut oil and butter are the same things, but they’re very different. As seen above, the oil is made from the coconut meat. The oil is solid at room temperature but turns to liquid when heated. On the other hand, coconut butter is made by pureeing coconut meat including the oil. Similarly to coconut oil, butter is solid at room temperature, but it softens when heated. Both oil and butter should have no other ingredients, but coconut. That said, about 70% of coconut butter accounts for the oil content.
Coconut butter contains some nutrients that oil doesn’t have and fiber is one of them. One tablespoon of coconut butter contains 2 grams of fiber. The butter is also rich in protein, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Just like coconut oil, the butter is high in calories. A huge advantage of coconut oil is that you can use it in the kitchen while butter isn’t really practical in this case. You can use coconut butter straight from the jar as a spread. Coconut butter burns too easily, but it’s amazing for your skin and hair. Add water to coconut butter and you’ll get coconut milk.
4. Coconut manna vs. coconut oil
Coconut manna is, basically, coconut butter made by a company called Nutiva. The company wanted to create a unique name for their product to describe how heavenly it is. Just like regular butter, coconut manna has fiber, protein, potassium, iron, and magnesium. You can use it straight from the jar as a spread, but it’s not a practical cooking agent because it burns too easily.
It’s also important to mention that coconut manna is a great source of medium chain fatty acids, especially lauric acid meaning it can also exhibit similar health benefits like coconut oil, but the latter is more versatile. Due to the fact that coconut butter is made of pureed flesh, not just oil, it contains a lower amount of fat and fatty acids than the oil.
5. Coconut oil vs. coconut cream
Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk but contains a lower amount of water. The difference between the two is primarily in consistency. Coconut cream has a paste-like and thicker texture than milk; it is made from the coconut flesh being dried and ground up, squeezed in hot water. One tablespoon of coconut cream contains 49 calories, 48.8mg of potassium, and a certain amount of vitamin C, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and niacin.
Similarly to coconut oil, the cream contains lauric, capric, and caprylic acid, but in a lower amount. Oil and cream of coconut also share antibacterial, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antifungal benefits. You can use coconut cream in your smoothies, as a spread, to make ice cream, but coconut oil is more versatile. You can use the latter for cooking, beauty, skin care, you name it.
6. Coconut oil vs. canola oil
Canola oil is made from the rapeseed plant which is a member of the mustard family. The oil is made specifically from the seed of the plants. Back in time rapeseed oil was used for industrial purposes only due to a high level of eurcic acid and glucosinolates, both of which aren’t healthy. Canadian scientists wanted to make rapeseed oil edible by using selective breeding methods to lower the concentration of mentioned compounds. Today, canola oil is made from rapeseeds specifically bred to contain a low amount of eurcic acid and glucosinolates.
As you’re already aware, coconut oil is made from the coconut meat itself, there is no special breeding involved to lower some harmful compounds because coconut doesn’t have them in the first place.
Similarly to coconut counterparts, canola oil contains vitamins E and K. Canola oil has a high content of monounsaturated fats, but it also comes with polyunsaturated fats. While ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6-fatty acids in canola oil is balanced, excessive intake can raise polyunsaturated fats to unnatural levels in your body.
While coconut oil doesn’t contain Omega-3 fatty acids, it is rich in medium chain fats and it comes with a low polyunsaturated fat content. For a comparison, one tablespoon of coconut oil contains 0.2g polyunsaturated fat, while the same amount of canola oil comes with 3.9g polyunsaturated fat. In addition, one tablespoon of coconut oil has 116 calories while canola oil supplies 124 calories to your body with one tablespoon.
While we’re inclined to believe that coconut oil is higher in calories than other types of oil, you can see that is not the case. It’s also important to mention that you can’t use canola oil as a moisturizer, hair mask, or as any skin care agent, but coconut oil works perfectly in the kitchen and your skin and beauty routine. Canola oil doesn’t have the same health potential like coconut oil. For example, one study found that canola oil isn’t healthy for your brain. Mice fed this oil had a significantly worse working memory than the control group.
Their brains showed a reduction in an amyloid-beta 1-40 peptide, which leads to an increase in toxic amyloid proteins linked with Alzheimer’s disease. While you can use coconut oil in different ways and even as a supplement, canola oil is only used for cooking purposes.
7. Coconut oil vs. olive oil
Both coconut and olive oil are considered the healthiest oils on the planet due to their amazing health benefits and versatility. Production of olive oil depends on the kind. For example, extra-virgin olive oil (considered the highest in quality) is made when olives are ground into a paste and spun in a centrifuge to extract the oil. The process takes place within 24 hours after olives are picked. Both coconut and olive oil can be divided into different types including extra virgin, virgin, refined, unrefined, organic, and non-organic.
One tablespoon of olive oil contains 119 calories, 1.4g polyunsaturated fats, 9.8g monounsaturated fat, and 1.9g saturated fat content. Olive oil is also a great source of vitamins E and K, like coconut oil. Both coconut and olive oil are potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and protect us from oxidative stress.
Interestingly, both types of oil are practical for weight management. A study of 40 women found that supplementation with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day led to a significant reduction in BMI and waist circumference. In addition, a three-year-old study of 187 subjects discovered that diet rich in olive oil raises antioxidants levels and leads to weight loss.
Health benefits of coconut and olive oil are comparable to one another, although the latter is more popular. Just like you can use coconut oil as a hair conditioner, olive oil can serve the same purpose. That said, coconut oil is a better substitution for lard, butter, and shortening than olive oil. Olive oil works great with salads.
8. Coconut oil vs. palm oil
Palm oil is the most widely consumed oil on the planet. It’s everywhere starting from snacks you buy to cosmetics you use. The oil comes from the fleshy fruit of oil palms. It can be refined or unrefined. The latter is also called red palm oil because when the oil is extracted from the fruit it’s reddish-orange in color.
One tablespoon of palm oil contains 116 calories, just like coconut oil. It also contains 0.2g polyunsaturated fat, 1.5g monounsaturated fat, and 11g saturated fat content. The oil also contains vitamin E and carotenoids which body converts to vitamin A, meaning palm oil also has antioxidant effects. Similarly to coconut oil, palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature and its melting point is 95°F (35°C) which is significantly higher than for coconut oil (76°F or 24°C). Palm oil is more affordable, but coconut oil is a more versatile and healthier option.
9. Coconut oil vs. flaxseed oil
Flaxseed or linseed oil is a yellowish oil obtained from dried and ripened seeds of the flax plant. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil contains 119 calories, 8.9g polyunsaturated fat, 2.7g monounsaturated fat, and 1.3g saturated fat content. Similarly to coconut oil, this type of oil is a good source of vitamin E. Flaxseed oil contains both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) is the type of Omega-3 found in flaxseed oil, but the body needs to convert it to DHA and EPA to use it. Marine Omega-3s are healthier than plant-based kind.
While coconut oil doesn’t have Omega-3s, it is abundant in medium chain fatty acids, as mentioned above. Just like coconut oil, flaxseed oil can come in the form of supplement. Supplementation with flaxseed oil can improve smoothness and hydration of the skin, but coconut oil can be applied topically too. When compared to one another, coconut oil is a healthier choice.
10 .Coconut oil vs. sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is found in the kitchens around the globe. The oil is compressed from sunflower seeds and it is more affordable than coconut oil. One tablespoon of sunflower oil contains about 120 calories, 1.4g saturated fat, 0.5g polyunsaturated fat, and 11.7g of monounsaturated fat depending on the product you buy. Excessive intake of sunflower oil can impair balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids in your body.
Just like coconut oil, sunflower oil is a good source of vitamins E and K. The antioxidant content in sunflower oil can strengthen our immunity, just like coconut oil. Although sunflower oil has some health benefits, coconut oil is a better option for your heart, brain, weight, but you can also use it for many other purposes while sunflower oil is for cooking only.
11. Coconut oil vs. vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is a term that refers to a combination of different oils. A bottle of one such oil can contain olive, peanut, corn, sunflower, safflower, and other oils. This oil is used for cooking only and it has the highest smoking point. Unlike coconut oil which is solid, vegetable oils are liquid and come at more affordable prices. Although coconut oil is somewhat pricier, it is incredibly healthy and also comes in the form of a supplement.
While coconut oil supports the immune system, improves heart health, aids weight management, improves skin and hair quality, vegetable oil can mess up body fatty acid composition due to Omega-6 fatty acids they contain. While these oils also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, high consumption can disturb the balance. Unlike anti-inflammatory effects of coconut oil, vegetable oil can promote inflammation. Even though you may save a few dollars by purchasing vegetable oil, coconut oil is healthier, versatile, and the difference in price isn’t that big to make a huge impact on your wallet.
12. Coconut oil vs. grapeseed oil
Grapeseed oil is, actually, a byproduct of the winemaking process. Wine is produced by pressing grapes and seeds are left behind. Those leftover seeds are used for extraction of oil which is liquid, light and thin, unlike thick and rich coconut oil. A tablespoon of grapeseed oil has 119 calories, just like coconut oil and it comes with 9.4g polyunsaturated fats, 2.2g monounsaturated fats, and 1.3g of saturated fat content. Grapeseed oil is also a decent source of vitamin E.
Grapeseed oil can improve heart health when used in moderation and it’s good for your skin. Many cosmetic companies use grapeseed oil to make their products and you can also use it for makeup removal, acne, skin hydration, dandruff management. Although grapeseed oil is versatile as well, coconut oil is more nutritious meaning its health benefits are amplified.
13. Coconut oil vs. fish oil
Fish oil is one of the most popular and widely consumed dietary supplements. High Omega-3 fatty acid content is the primary characteristic of fish oil. Omega-3 fats exhibit anti-inflammatory effects, improve brain health, prevent heart disease, and they can also help patients with arthritis.
Both fish oil and coconut oil can come in the form of supplements, but you can also use the latter for cooking while the only other way to obtain fish oil is to eat fish. Also, you can use coconut oil topically. All in all, while both fish and coconut oil are incredibly healthy, coconut oil has more uses and is available to you in different ways while fish oil is not.
14. MCT oil vs. coconut oil
MCT oil is a highly concentrated source of medium chain fatty acids that are mainly found in coconut oil and palm. The oil is manmade through a process of fractionation which involves isolating and extracting the MCTs from coconut and palm kernel oil. The main difference between MCT and coconut oil is that the latter contains high levels of MCTs but it also has other nutrients, while MCT oil is a pure concentrated form of these fatty acids. While coconut oil also contains vitamins E and K together with potassium and iron, MCT oil lacks these nutrients.
Benefits of coconut and MCT oil are almost the same and include weight management, brain health, heart health, energy boost, improved digestion, better mood, antibacterial effects, and others. It’s also important to mention that MCT oil is used in medicine, hair care products, beauty industry, and although it can be used for cooking it’s not a popular choice due to a high price.
You can read our review on MCT oils here
15. Ghee vs. coconut oil
Ghee is a type of clarified butter, but it is more concentrated in fat because milk solids and water are removed. For centuries ghee has been used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but today it is popular worldwide. One tablespoon of ghee contains 112 calories, 0.5g of polyunsaturated, 4g of monounsaturated, and 8g of saturated fat content. Ghee is also a good source of vitamins A, E, and K.
The smoke point of ghee is 485°F (251°C) while the smoke point of coconut oil is 350°F (176°C). Potential health benefits of ghee include heart health, it’s free of lactose, reduced inflammation, and improved digestion. Not only does ghee have a high smoke point, but it goes with different foods and ingredients. On the other hand, coconut oil is an acquired taste and doesn’t work well with some ingredients. That said, coconut oil has more health benefits and it is more versatile.
Coconut oil has become very popular thanks to incredible health benefits it provides, versatility, nutritional value, and other reasons. Throughout this post you had the opportunity to see how coconut oil compares to other types of oils and why buying this oil or using a supplement is always a good idea.