Refined vs Unrefined Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the oil obtained from coconut palm seed. It has been used as versatile oil in the tropical areas around the world since time immemorial. It is not just in cooking that coconut oil is used for its flavor and aroma but also in cosmetics and medicines manufacture. There are primarily two ways to obtain coconut oil and these are to get it unrefined or refined. There are health benefits of both types of coconut oil with some differences. These differences between refined and unrefined coconut oil will be highlighted in this article.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Also called virgin or extra virgin coconut oil, this oil is obtained by pressing the flesh of the fresh coconut fruit. It is kept in this natural state without the addition of any chemicals or preservatives. It is not bleached or even deodorized. This pure and natural coconut oil is made to undergo one of the two processes called quick drying or wet milling. In quick drying, the flesh of the coconut is made to dry up and then it is pressed to extract the oil. In wet milling, oil is extracted from fresh meat and boiled and fermented to separate it from the coconut milk. This technique makes use of either enzymes or a centrifuge to get the oil from the fresh fruit and the oil retains its natural flavor and aroma.
Refined Coconut Oil
This is the coconut oil that is extracted from the meat of the coconut fruit that has dried and is very hard from outside. It is also called copra oil to refer to the fact that the fruit has hardened and called copra. During the process of drying up, many impurities arise inside the fruit that are removed with the help of bleaching agents. This oil also undergoes deodorization to remove its distinct aroma and get a rather bland and refined version. A chemical called sodium hydroxide is added to this oil to increase the shelf life. Many companies, in a bid to extract as much as possible oil, add chemicals that work to add trans-fats. This trans-fat is known to increase bad cholesterol levels in the body of the user.
What is the difference between Refined and Unrefined Coconut Oil?
• Refined coconut oil is made from the dried coconut fruit while unrefined coconut oil, also called pure or virgin coconut oil is made from the flesh of the fresh coconuts.
• Unrefined coconut oil has a distinct aroma and flavor that is lost during refining.
• Refined coconut oil is more suitable for cooking as it can withstand high temperatures without reaching its smoke point.
• Refined coconut oil may contain trans-fats because of the addition of certain chemicals to increase its shelf life. These fats are not good for health as they increase bad cholesterol levels in the body of the user.
• There are more phytonutrients in unrefined coconut oil than refined coconut oil.
• Unrefined oil also contains more antioxidants than refined oil.
• If you choose refined oil, choose a variety that does not add chemicals to increase shelf life.
• Unrefined oil is more flavorful and aromatic than refined oil. It tastes and smells more like coconut.