Because coconut oil extracted by wet process (virgin coconut oil, VCO) is gaining popularity among consumers, this study was conducted to evaluate VCO compared with coconut oil extracted by dry process (copra oil, CO) for their influence on lipid parameters, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidant status in rats coadministered with cholesterol. VCO, CO, and cholesterol were fed in a semi-synthetic diet to 24 male Sprague-Dawley rats for 45 days. After the experimental period, lipid and lipid peroxide levels and antioxidant enzyme activities were observed. Chemical composition and antioxidant properties of the polyphenolic fraction from VCO and CO were also analyzed. The results showed that lipid and lipid peroxide levels were lower in VCO-fed animals than in animals fed either CO or cholesterol alone. Antioxidant enzyme activities in VCO-fed animals were comparable with those in control animals. Although the fatty acid profiles of both oils were similar, a significantly higher level of unsaponifiable components was observed in VCO. Polyphenols from VCO also showed significant radical-scavenging activity compared with those from CO. This study clearly indicates the potential benefits of VCO over CO in maintaining lipid metabolism and antioxidant status. These effects may be attributed in part to the presence of biologically active minor unsaponifiable components.