Most of us have heard about coconut oil and it’s endless uses. In recent years it’s been granted a superfood status by health gurus around the world.
Coconut oil is available in two forms – refined and unrefined coconut oil. So what does it mean exactly? What is the difference? Which one is better? Let’s dig in.
First, What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil that’s been extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. These coconuts are harvested from the coconut palm tree a k a Cocos nucifera.
Coconut oil is extremely versatile and has many-many uses. In cooking it is most commonly used for frying, in baked goods and pastries, smoothies, snacks and more. As for its health benefits, coconut oil is a great source of MCT’s, it has immune system boosting abilities because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can read more about the health benefits of coconut oil from HERE.
Not only can it be used in cooking, it’s also a great moisturizer for skin and hair. Some people use coconut oil to combat different skin issues. Furthermore, it can even be used in oral hygiene.
Coconut oil can be extracted using different methods. The process of the extraction is what dictates if the oil is refined or not. On the market you’ll find both forms of coconut oil – unrefined or virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil.
What Is The Difference?
Is one type of coconut oil better than the other? What are the differences? Which one should you choose? That depends on what you’re using the coconut oil for.
Unrefined or virgin coconut oil has not been refined. This means that no chemicals, bleach or deodorizing has been used to extract the coconut oil. Usually the unrefined coconut oil extraction process uses cold-pressed or expeller-pressed method.
These methods are almost the same. Fresh coconuts are mechanically pressed using high pressure to extract the oil. The difference is that cold-pressed coconut oil is extracted in a heat-controlled environment to preserve as many nutrients as possible. If you use coconut oil for its nutrients and health benefits, it’s safe to say that unrefined coconut oil is your guy.
On the other hand, refined coconut oil is usually made from dried coconut. Refined oil can also be extracted using a variety of methods. Some manufacturers want to get as much as possible out of the coconut, so they use chemicals such as hexane to extract the oil. There are also more natural options available like steam refined and clay bleached coconut oil.
Unrefined coconut oil has a distinctive coconutty flavor and scent, whereas the refined oil should have a neutral smell and taste. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of about 450°F and for unrefined or virgin coconut oil it is 350°F. This makes refined coconut oil a better option if you don’t want your food to taste like coconuts or when you want to use it for frying.
In conclusion – Both types of coconut oil are useful for different purposes. It all comes down to the quality of the product and what you’re using coconut oil for.
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