Lauded as a healthy, plant-based fat that also doubles as a beauty and wellness essential, coconut oil has earned its rightful place as a pantry staple. But many are turning to its highly-concentrated cousin, MCT oil, for a dose of healthy fats and nutrients. So which coconut-based superfood is best? Here’s a closer look at these trending oils.
Coconut oil can be broken into three categories:
Documented in Sanskrit, there’s evidence of the use of coconut oil in Ayurvedic medicine around 1500 BC. First used in tropical regions, including South and Central America, Asia, Polynesia, Africa, and India, coconut oil was soon discovered by early European explorers and later sold as “margarine” in England and “coconut butter” in the United States after World War II.
Not only has coconut oil been linked to increasing “good” cholesterol levels*, but its powers go beyond the kitchen as a DIY beauty and wellness treatment when it comes to skincare, hair care, and even dental care. It’s even beloved by pet owners as an oral and topical treatment for both dogs and cats. But like anything, everything in moderation, and pick the right option for best results. According to Dr. Tom Brenna, a professor of human nutrition at Cornell University, if you’re going to use coconut oil, make sure you get virgin oil,” which he recommends because harsh processing has the potential to destroy some of the antioxidants and essential fatty acids that make coconut oil so appealing.
With a higher smoke point (about 350-400°F) and saturated fat content than most oils, coconut oil can act as a flavor booster or blend seamlessly into a dish. It’s also the only plant-based, vegan oil that can be incorporated as a liquid or solid (or spray), making it a great sub for butter in most cooking and baking recipes. If you’re hoping to bolster flavor, opt for the virgin or unrefined variety, which will impart a mild coconut taste. If you want the oil without the flavor, pick refined coconut oil.
It’s tough to go wrong with this high-temp tolerant oil. Here are few of our favorite coconut oil cooking methods.
While coconut oil doesn’t require refrigeration due to its solid molecular structure, refined coconut oil will begin to spoil after about 18 months. High-quality unrefined oil, on the other hand, lasts for two to three years.
Organic, fair trade, and non-GMO, our coconut oil is made from sustainably harvested coconuts from the Philippines.
This lightweight, cosmetic oil is easily absorbed into skin and hair for softer texture and deep hydration without a greasy residue.
This pure, cold-pressed oil comes from Southeast Asia and is never deodorized, bleached, or refined.
You’ll soon be nuts for coconut oil with these must-try recipes.
Reinvent this grilling favorite by alternating tuna and shrimp, marinated in garlic-infused coconut oil, and juicy peach slices. Drizzle with a mayo sriracha sauce.
This gluten-free sweet treat combines a simple crust of brown rice flour, maple syrup, and coconut oil with a sweet filling of rhubarb, coconut palm sugar, and almond slivers.
There’s a latte to love about this creamy iced tea sipper, made with matcha powder, coconut oil, raw honey, and coconut milk.
Who says you need dairy for creamed spinach? This dairy-free version calls for coconut milk, dijon mustard, coconut oil, and nutritional yeast.
Tangy and satisfying, this update on a classic brings together tender broccolini sauteed in coconut oil and tossed with cherry tomatoes and a dijon vinaigrette.
This fiery salmon curry is low on carbs but big on flavor thanks to coconut oil, red curry paste, fish sauce, coconut milk, and blend of warming spices served over kelp noodles.
What’s the secret to a tender, juicy bird? A basting of coconut oil, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs.
Add sriracha, coconut aminos, and coconut flakes to chicken and kale stir-fry for a sizzling dish with a spicy kick.
This recipe is easy as pie with a simple crust that swaps in coconut oil for butter and a filling of juicy sweet blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, and organic corn starch.
Go lean, mean, and green with this killer blend of kale, coconut water, pineapple, banana, and coconut oil.
How do we love coconut? Let us count the ways! Here are some of our favorite unexpected uses for this pantry staple.
Did you know coconut oil can keep bad hair days at bay and deliver lust-worthy locks? Manage manes with these coveted hair care favorites.
Not only does this shampoo smell amazing, but its coconut oil-based formula will leave your hair silky-smooth.
Give parched strands a moisture surge thanks to this hydrating blend of organic shea butter, sunflower oil, and coconut oil.
Great for replenishing dry skin and imparting free radical-fighting antioxidants, coconut oil is quickly moving beyond the kitchen and becoming a skincare essential. It’s also naturally antimicrobial, enabling it to be both cleansing and moisturizing to the skin and friendly to most skin types.
Load up the beach bag! Rich in MCTs, vitamin E, and fatty lauric acid, coconut oil works to help soothe irritation caused by sunburns*
Skin will drink up these coconut oil-powered hydrators.
A body moisturizer, lip hydrator, or deep conditioner for hair, this multi-tasking must-have is made from 100% unrefined coconut oil.
Join the firm with this concentrated hydrating, deeply nourishing serum of coconut milk, coconut oil, and fruit stem cells.
Ideal for normal to sensitive skin, this skin superfood combines rich, cold-pressed argan oil with quenching coconut oil.
Treat hands to a touch of luxury with this soothing hand wash of lavender oil extract, coconut oil extract, and aloe.
Soothe dry lips and impart sun protection with this nourishing blend of zinc oxide, beeswax, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.
Drench bodies in this rich, hydrating combo of fair trade coconut oil and shea butter for allover softness.
Passed down from our ancestors, oil pulling originated in India as a means of oral cleansing. While it may be nothing more than swishing oil in your mouth for several minutes, studies show the method is more effective at reducing plaque than leading conventional mouth rinses!*
This genius, double-duty paste pairs baking soda and tea tree oil with coconut oil for a complete teeth and gum clean.
Freshen up with this impurity-targeting rinse, which includes organic coconut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil to brighten your smile.
Your furry friends can take advantage of the benefits of coconut oil, too! Not only does coconut oil soothe irritated, itchy skin cats or dogs may encounter, but its antimicrobial properties can help prevent the infection of minor cuts, ward off fungal infections, and it can also improve coats. It may also support healthy digestion when taken orally.* (Bonus: It can even help prevent hairballs in cats).
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, aka the saturated fatty acid that is produced by extracting the MCTs found in coconut oil (note: pure MCT oil is produced by combining MCTs found in both coconut and palm oil). Why are medium chains best? The length has to do with carbon molecules. MCTs have about six to eight carbon molecules, which are digested more rapidly and serve as clean fuel for the body and brain. The oil itself is clear, flavorless, and odorless, which makes it ideal for cooking or adding to beverages because it won’t disturb the flavor.
Emulsified MCT oil is water soluble, which means it easily mixes into hot or cold liquids without separating. This version is typically created by blending MCT oil with an emulsifier like gum Arabic, which creates a creamy liquid that’s able to mix with other water-soluble liquids, including hot beverages like coffee or tea.
A superfood that’s believed to help support a healthy metabolism* is sure to prompt some questions. Here’s what we know about MCT oil.
To avoid digestive discomfort, it’s best to work your way up when taking MCT oil. Start with just a ⅓ to ½ gram serving until you’ve reached a 14g dose of MCTs (that’s about 1 tablespoon of MCT oil and 2 tablespoons of emulsified MCT oil).
Yes. However, MCT oil can last for up to two years if stored properly in an airtight container placed in a dry, cool place. Room temperature is fine.
Yes. While MCT oil works well when added to beverages (super-charged coffee, anyone?), smoothies, or salad dressings, it can also be used as an oil replacement (or combined with coconut oil) in most baking recipes.
Often incorporated into a ketogenic diet because MCTs easily convert to ketones and may help burn calories,* MCT oil is also linked to supporting healthy exercise performance. For a boost of energy without the crash, take your daily dose of MCT oil before hitting the gym.
A single serving of MCT oil (1 tablespoon) is about 100 to 130 calories, delivers 13 to 14g of MCTs (including caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid), and is roughly 14g of saturated fat.
Pump up your weekly nutrient intake with these MCT favorites.
Flavorless and odorless, our 100% pure MCT oil is made from ethically sourced coconuts from Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan, each tablespoon serving of this emulsified oil provides 7,000mg of full-spectrum MCT’s with 0g of sugar.
Get your daily dose of MCT and omega-3s with this convenient softgel supplement.
Enjoy clean fuel with zero net carbs with this powder made from organic MCT and prebiotic acacia fiber.
Infuse your next meal with healthy fatty acids with these MCT-friendly recipes.
This creamy, dreamy chocolate and peanut butter dessert is a riff on a classic. Naturally, we put a Thrive Market spin on the recipe by adding energizing MCT oil, and promise the hardest part of this no-bake treat is simply waiting for the ingredients to chill!
Satisfy your sweet tooth while getting an energy boost with these bite-sized morsels of macadamia nuts, shredded coconut, cacao butter, honey, and caramel EMCT oil.
Butter-flavored coconut oil combines with MCT for this superfood-loaded latte with a mocha twist.
Perk up your morning with these caffeinated wiggly wonders, made with coffee, grass-fed gelatin, grass-fed butter, MCT, and honey.
Start the day with a nutrient-rich pick-me-up of kale, baby spinach, minced ginger, cucumber, pear, and MCT oil for added omegas.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Download the app for easy shopping on the go
By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive marketing text messages from Thrive Market. Consent not a condition to purchase. Msg & data rates apply. Msg frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel.