What Is The Difference Between Refined And Unrefined Coconut Oil?

Many people classify coconut oil as a super food because the cultures who eat the most coconut and use the most coconut oil are among the healthiest in the world.  But before you go out and buy some coconut oil, you need to learn a little bit about it first, if you want to make sure you are getting the coconut oil with the most health benefits.  Otherwise, you may end up with a chemically processed version that is no better than buying any other hydrogenated oil from the store.

How Using Coconut Oil Can Benefit Your Health

Coconut oil is made up of fatty acids, medium chain triglycerides that are easily digestible and are metabolized differently than other oils; therefore, when ingested they are instantly converted into energy as they go straight to your liver where they are turned into ketone bodies and then used for a wide variety of health benefits.  Once the coconut oil enters your body and is converted into energy, it can continue providing you with energy for a full 24 hours.

Both Lauric acid and monolaurin are found in coconut oil and are what make it a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent.  This is why coconut oil works so well against so many viruses and diseases.

The Different Types Of Coconut Oil

There are two types of coconut oil you should be aware of – refined coconut oil and unrefined coconut oil.  Using the right type of coconut oil can mean the difference between receiving as many health benefits as possible and only receiving minimal health benefits.  Next we will explain the differences so you can decide which one is right for you.

What Is The Difference Between Refined And Unrefined Coconut Oil?

Refined Coconut Oil

A refined coconut oil is one that has been processed in some shape, form or fashion.  Some refined coconut oils are only minimally processed and others are highly processed and sometimes hydrogenated.  In most cases, the refining process involves coconut oil that has been bleached and deodorized from the dried meat of the coconut call the copra.  This is to remove any potential contaminants that could come about during the drying process.  The next step is to use high heat, which deodorizes the coconut oil in an effort to remove the taste and smell of the coconut.

Sodium hydroxide is frequently added to the coconut oil to extend its shelf life.  Then, in an effort to extract as much oil as possible, the manufacturer will add a chemical solvent to the meat.  After that it is sometimes partially hydrogenated, which then turns the once healthy coconut oil into a trans-fat.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

The unrefined coconut oil is known by several different terms, such as:  unrefined, raw, unprocessed, virgin, extra virgin, organic, cold-pressed or all of the above or some of the above.  One thing to note, however, is that some coconut oils state they are “pure.”  However, pure does not always mean unrefined.  You have to read the label to find out if it is being called pure because it has been refined or because the manufacturer is calling it pure because it has not been refined.

The healthiest type of coconut oil you can use is the unrefined coconut oil, if you want to receive the most health benefits.  An unrefined coconut oil is extracted from the fresh coconut meat versus the dried coconut meat.  For this step the coconut goes through one of two different methods of processing.  Either wet milling or quick drying.

The quick drying method quickly dries the meat, then the oil is expressed from it mechanically.  The wet milling process involves taking the fresh coconut milk and expressing it from the fresh coconut meat, then separating it using enzymes or a centrifuge.  This method does not require using any bleach, chemicals nor is it ever exposed to high heat.  Additionally, a top quality coconut oil will have a slight coconut scent and a light coconut flavor.

Other Common Uses For Using Coconut Oil

There are many ways you can experience the benefits of coconut oil.  Click on the links below to learn how you can easily add coconut oil to your daily routine.

The Bottom Line

You can see how choosing the right coconut oil for you and your family can be confusing, if you don’t know how to read the label and understand what it all means.  But fortunately, you have just finished reading this article, which means you are now an expert on buying the best possible coconut oil for your particular needs.  So go out and try some coconut oil today and enjoy its many health benefits for years to come!

Sylvia Wallace

Sylvia Wallace is a young system analyst, wife, and mother of two children from Vermont and this is a bit of copy about her. Sylvia has always been passionate about healthy cooking. Katie continuously exploring new types of dishes and trying out new ways to improve her cooking and health.

Explore HCO