Coconut oil has become a delicious “foodie” staple in recent years. From being ideal for sauteing veggies to adding a tasty, nutty flavor to baked goods, coconut oil brings so much to the table, literally! Here at WayFare, we love coconut oil and use a form of this incredibly versatile food in many of our plant-based products: highly refined coconut oil.
“Wait,” you might ask, “I thought WayFare products were free from the top 10 allergens, including tree nuts. Isn’t coconut a nut and, thus, an allergen?”
We’ve got a two-fold answer to your excellent question to ease your allergen worries and show you the fantastic qualities of highly refined coconut oil.
Is Coconut a Nut?
We’re going to blow your mind and tell you that coconuts are a type of fruit, not a nut. Coconuts fall under a subcategory called “drupes,” which are fruits that have inner flesh and seed surrounded by a hard shell. On the other hand, a nut is a hard-shelled fruit that, unlike drupes, does not open to release a seed. Certain kinds of drupes and nuts can be considered tree nuts. Tree nuts are any fruits or nuts that grow from a tree. So, coconuts are a type of tree nut that falls under the category of drupes. Who knew?
Because coconuts are technically fruits, they lack many of the proteins that can trigger tree nut allergic reactions. Even without these proteins, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still classifies coconut as a tree nut allergen.
What is Highly Refined Coconut Oil?
Highly refined coconut oil is different from the soft, milky-white coconut oil we know and love. This is because it goes through a rigorous refinement process that turns it into a clear, smooth oil.
To reach this highly-refined state, oils are first extracted from the coconut. Then, this oil is put through a process of bleaching (not the bleach you put in the washing machine!), deodorizing, neutralizing, and de-gumming. This process helps remove undesired odors, gums, and phosphatides from the oil. At the end of this process, you have an edible oil that is beautifully uniform in color and consistency. Best of all, you also have a virtually allergen-free coconut oil.
Is Highly Refined Coconut Oil Allergen-Free?
No food can be completely “allergen-free.” However, the process of creating highly refined coconut oil strips away potentially allergy-triggering proteins associated with tree nut allergies. For example, the coconut oil we use in our products is thoroughly refined so that the resulting oil is virtually free of allergenic proteins. In fact, because of this process, highly refined oils are exempt from allergen labeling regulations mandated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).
Coconut allergies are extremely rare, but it’s always good to be on the safe side when it comes to your health. Chat with your doctor first if you are concerned about being sensitive to highly refined coconut oil. We want our coconut-sensitive friends to feel comfortable and happy when you taste our products!
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Packed Full of Antioxidants
Coconut oil is bursting with antioxidants which can help ward off diseases in the body in a variety of ways. Studies found that the antioxidants in coconut oil, like polyphenols and flavonoids, can help encourage good heart-related health, such as lowering blood pressure.
May Encourage Fat Burning
Coconut oil is rich in a type of saturated fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Recent studies uncovered that consuming MCTs may increase the number of calories you burn, which can help promote weight loss. Remember, moderation is key when consuming coconut oil since coconut oil is high in both MCTs and calories. Balance is vital for a healthy diet and lifestyle!
Give your immune system some TLC with coconut oil! The MCT content in coconut oil, specifically the lauric acid in MCT, gives coconut oil great antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Research indicates that these factors may help fight against disease-causing microorganisms like helicobacter pylori.
Give Highly Refined Coconut Oil a Go with WayFare
Coconut oil is truly a unicorn of an oil with its many uses and ability to be refined for allergen-sensitive eaters. We love how we’ve been able to incorporate highly refined coconut oil into our products to create foods that are delicious, flavor-packed, perfect in texture, and allergen-friendly for customers. If you’re ready to give us a try, shop our products today and get ready to say “wow!”