Different Types of Coconut oil

coconut oil in a jar
coconut oil in a jar

Coconut oil is becoming a very popular health product. With all the health benefits that it offers, more and more people are choosing to use it.

There are so many different types of coconut oil around it makes choosing the right oil for your needs a very tough task. This guide will hopefully help you choose the type of oil that best suits you need.

Refined coconut oil

Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat, called copra. Copra is not fit for consumption so has to undergo a chemical distillation process called RBD ( Refined, Bleached, Deodorized ) this process is necessary to filter out any impurities, and make the oil more stable. Refined coconut oil is usually odorless and tasteless and it doesn’t have the health benefits that virgin coconut oil have.

But it is still an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), it also handles higher cooking temperature before it reaches its smoking point. So refined coconut oil is good for cooking when you need a lot of pure clean fat without the coconut odor and flavor like deep frying. Nearly all coconut oil that you will find at the grocery stores or at are health stores are refined unless it states otherwise on the label. Refined coconut oil is good if you are on a budget because it’s usually cheaper then unrefined coconut oil.

Not all refined coconut oil are the same. Watch out for coconut oils that have been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. (The hydrogenated process is when you combine hydrogen with the unsaturated fats which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated to make them more saturated making the melting point higher. Some of these will be converted into trans fatty acids). Make sure you buy one that’s been refined using natural methods like diatomaceous earth or steam.

Unrefined coconut oil

Unrefined coconut oil is usually labelled as “extra virgin” or “virgin“. There isn’t really any difference between the two, except for the price. It’s just a marketing ploy to get you to pay more. The coconut oil is made by extracting it from fresh raw coconut meat without using any chemicals.

Depending on what extraction method that was used, the flavor will range from very mild to very intense. The higher the heat exposure during extraction the more intense the flavor. A good unrefined virgin coconut oil should only have a very mild taste and smell. Since there are no chemicals used in the extraction process, all the health benefits are retained. Its a lot better than refined coconut oils and will cost a little bit more.

Organic coconut oil

Organic coconut oil are made naturally, it can be either refined or unrefined. The coconut must be grown without the use of pesticides, and fertilizers and the extraction process must not use chemicals and solvents. If using pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals they must be from organic origin, which has to adhere to guidelines set by certifying organizations. Virgin organic coconut oil is the best oil health-wise because it is made naturally, because of this virgin coconut oil are usually a little bit more expensive then ordinary virgin coconut oil.

What is cold pressed coconut oil?

Cold pressed is a method of extracting coconut oil in a temperature controlled environment. This is usually a temperature of below 120 degree f (49 degree C). The shredded coconut meat is squeezed to extract the milk. The milk extracted is then left to stand fermenting for about 48 hours at room temperature. This will allow the water and protein to separate from the oil.

The oil is then filtered several times to separate any solids floating around. Then the oil is heated to get rid of any moisture.

What is expeller pressed coconut oil?

Expeller pressed method is a method of extracting coconut oil by mechanical means.This is done by compressing the meat with a screw like machine. The temperature reached using this processing method will depend on how hard the nut is. The harder the nut the more pressure and friction needed to extract the oil therefore causing an increase in temperature in the extraction process.

This will reach temperatures of up to 210 degree F (99 degree C) this heat is all from friction. It’s not heat that is manually applied.

Expeller pressed vs cold pressed coconut oil

The main difference between cold pressed and expeller pressed coconut oil is the amount of heat reached during the extraction process. The more heat that is reached when processing the more nutrients that is lost, and also as mentioned before the more heat used the stronger the coconut smell and taste. Both extraction methods however are chemical-free.

So when buying a coconut oil you should be looking for one that’s cold pressed and also made organically. This means that most of the nutrients are retained and no chemicals were used at any stage through the process. The coconut oil in its liquid state should be clear in color and have a mild taste and smell.

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