Refined Coconut Oil Versus Unrefined
Virgin Coconut Oil -
What is the Difference?
Coconut oil is basically the extract from coconut milk. However, there's a big difference between plain coconut oil and virgin coconut oil.
How the oil is extracted and processed is the main factor in the type of coconut oil you'll ultimately have. Below we'll look at the 2 basic types of coconut oil and their differences.
Refined Coconut Oil
- This is a lower quality coconut oil commonly used in commercially baked goods.
- The coconut meat is dried by smoking in kilns or left out in the sun. The dried meat is called Copra. The copra is shipped to large processing mills to extract the oil.
- The copra is soaked in a solvent solution (hexane) causing oil to 'leach' out. The oil is extracted from the solvent and high pressure steam is used to sterilize and decontaminate it.
- The oil is then refined, bleached, and deodorized before it's considered safe to eat.
- Exposure to high heat and solvents 'washes out' the healthy fatty acids your body needs for optimal health. This highly processed oil has no aroma or natural flavors.
This is the most common form of coconut oil in North America. It's frequently used in commercial processed foods and baked goods to increase texture and 'mouth feel'. Some call this the white bread of coconut oils. It's completely processed, like its bakery counterpart with low nutritional value.
Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
This type of coconut oil can only be made from fresh coconut meat (non-copra). Chemicals, solvents and high heat shouldn't be used in the
The main methods for making 'virgin' oil are:
- Fresh coconut meat is quickly dried with minimal heat and the oil pressed out.
- Fresh coconut meat is pressed first without drying. This is called 'wet milling'. The oil is then separated from the water using various methods, including a centrifuge, enzymes, or fermentation.
Most suppliers of Virgin Coconut Oil use the fermentation method. The fermentation process usually lasts about 24 to 36 hours. Low heat is used to remove the moisture and then it's filtered.
The result is a clear coconut oil brimming with that tropical aroma and taste of delicious coconuts. This method is based on hundreds of years of tradition used by Pacific Islanders.
Why would you want to use a 'virgin' oil?
- It's made of healthy saturated fats.
- It's free of artery-clogging trans-fatty acids.
- It's an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), proven to reduce cholesterol and lower fat stores in obese individuals.
- Provides an excellent source of Lauric Acid - a fatty acid that forms the building block for a powerful antimicrobial that kills viruses, bacteria
I believe this is the ultimate in healthy, natural oils. You get all the goodness and nutrients that Mother Nature intended. This is the most natural method of making coconut oil, based on age-old traditions. No chemicals or solvents are used to make the oil.
Only Virgin Coconut Oil has a whitish, thick consistency to it. You'll find it melts to a clear watery consistency above room temperature and reverts back to a solid at cooler temperatures.
Smell it and you'll be treated to a delicious, nutty, coconut aroma. This tells you this is the real deal, not some heavily-processed, unhealthy oil typically used in many processed foods.
'Regular' coconut oil will have a clear yellowish color to it, almost like a vegetable oil.
Why Virgin Coconut Oil is Good for You and the Our Planet
Okay, here's a breakdown of all the benefits you get from using this type of oil. Let's see if a bottle of vegetable oil can beat this!
- It's hand-made and natural, completely raw and unrefined.
- Has a natural mild coconut aroma and flavor.
- The production temperatures don't get 35°C above melting point. This reduces heat damage.
- Keeps at room temperature for at least two years. A very long shelf life.
- Typically produced by small villages with easy-to-use hand-operated presses.
- Produced where coconuts grow, empowering local families in their own business in remote areas.
- It's rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), especially Lauric Acid, a very 'healthy' fat!
- Contains no trans-fatty acids or hydrogenated fats. It won't raise your cholesterol levels
- Usually a free fatty acid (FFA) level less than 0.1% at production.
- Clear as pure water when settled.
- It's a gender-neutral, family ‘cottage-industry’, processing method. This eliminates harsh factory conditions
- It's a 'self-fuelling process' that uses coconut oil, shell and husk as fuel. Nothing is wasted.
- t's a 100% renewable and sustainable energy source
If you want the purest, freshest Virgin Coconut Oil, packed with nutritional goodness and flavor, this is the kind to get. It doesn't get any better than this!
By purchasing organic virgin coconut oil you'll be supporting the small-scale coconut farmer. You're helping them make a decent living and competing on a global scale with the giant food processing corporations.
Pat yourself on the back and help yourself to that bottle of organic virgin coconut oil!