Refined Vs Unrefined Coconut Oil: Know The Difference

Coconut oil, in its most natural form, confers numerous health benefits onto the human body. It has a high concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants, and it has a medium-chain triglyceride content. But not all coconut oils are pure. Some are adulterated with other oils or altered cosmetically with substances that could be harmful to human health. Because of its widespread use, numerous varieties of coconut oil have been produced and patented in recent years. Although not all of these many kinds are unhealthy, it's possible that only a few of them will satisfy your requirements. 

Types of coconut oil 

Virgin coconut oil 

True to form! And the most well regarded coconut oil out there. Unlike refined coconut oil, virgin coconut oil is extracted directly from unprocessed coconut meat. It's the healthy oil that forms as a byproduct of the meat's preparation. All that goodness can be extracted with without chemical intervention. 

Extra virgin coconut oil 

Maybe you’re not familiar with the concept of “extra-virgin” coconut oil. There is no discernible difference between extra-virgin and regular coconut oil. Since it's made from a whole distinct set of ingredients, it can't be compared to olive oil. Don't be caught paying more than you need to for something. 

Refined coconut oil 

Compared to other available coconut oils, this one isn't the most refined. Many people prefer it to regular coconut oil since it offers the same health advantages without the flavour. It has a higher smoke point and may be less of an allergen trigger for certain people. 

Light coconut oil 

Natural coconut oil is fractionated, and the remaining solids are removed, to create liquid coconut oil. While virgin coconut oil solidifies at room temperature, this one does not. 

Key Differences 

Processing Method: Refined coconut oil is manufactured from dried coconut meat (copra). It's bleached and deodorised to remove contaminants and harsh flavours. It's usually made with heat and solvents. While fresh coconut meat is used to make virgin or extra virgin coconut oil. Mechanical or cold-pressed extraction is used. Coconut flavour and perfume are preserved by this delicate technique. 

Flavor and Aroma: in refined coconut oil the refining removes the coconutty taste and smell, leaving a neutral flavour and aroma. For individuals who want a softer taste or wish to utilise coconut oil in recipes without overwhelming other components, it's a wonderful choice. However unrefined coconut oil tastes and smells like coconut. It has the natural flavour of coconuts, which can enhance dishes, especially those with a coconut flavour. 

Smoke Point: Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point, usually about 400°F (204°C). Since it doesn't break down or smoke at high temperatures, it's good for frying, sautéing, and baking. While depending on the brand, unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F (177°C). It's best for mild sautéing and light baking at medium or low heat. Deep frying and high-heat applications are not suggested. 

Nutritional Profile: The refining procedure loses certain coconut nutrients. Compared to unprocessed coconut oil, it has fewer antioxidants, phenolic compounds, and vitamins. It keeps healthful medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Coconuts' inherent nutrients are preserved in unrefined coconut oil. It contains MCTs, which are quickly digested and offer energy. Antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamin E are also present. Due to its higher vitamin content, unrefined coconut oil is healthier. 

Culinary Usage: Due to the neutral flavour, higher smoke point, and longer shelf life, refined coconut oil is frequently used in cooking, baking, and frying. It's a good substitute for other cooking oils. On the other hand, the coconut flavour and scent make the unrefined version quite popular. It's used in tropical foods, curries, smoothies, pastries, and cakes to add coconut flavour. Because of its natural characteristics, it's used in hair and skin ccare treatments as well.