With all of its well-known amazing health benefits, coconut oil is one of the most sought-after products these days. From cooking, to baking, to beauty alternative or home remedies, it seems like everyone wants to buy coconut oil. With so many options available out there, choosing the right kind of coconut oil seems to be challenging for some. I remembered my mom at a grocery store jokingly asked why does an errand as simple as buying a coconut oil is so complicated. In truth, buying this basic product is not that complicated, the key is having enough information on the types of coconut oil and knowing what type is the healthier choice.
Types of Coconut Oil
There are basically two types of coconut oil: the refined and unrefined oil. But wait, how about the virgin and extra virgin coconut oil? If you’re going to buy coconut oil, you need to know about it and the difference between the two as well. It will be explained in a while to avoid confusion.
Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil
Refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is the oil that is taken from the sun dried coconut meat. During this process, contaminants stick to the meat. To get rid of it, the oil extracted from the sun dried coconut meat undergoes purification and bleaching process. It is then deodorized under a high temperature heat to eliminate the odd odor (sun dried coconut meat does not exactly smells good), and flavor. Moreover, refined coconut oil is partially hydrogenated which develops artificial trans-fat, a type of fat that is hazardous to your health. Sodium hydroxide is also added to the oil to prolong its shelf life.The number of processes that the refined oil undergo is the reason why it is left without any nutrient.
Copra oils are generally used for manufacturing non-edible items like detergents and other cleaning products. But because of the high demand for coconut oil in the market, some companies presented this type of oil in the market as an edible oil. Without knowing the health risks it presents, people buy coconut oil of this type because it’s relatively cheaper than the unrefined oil.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
While refined coconut oil is taken from dried coconut meat, unrefined coconut oil is extracted from a fresh coconut meat so it doesn’t need to undergo several purification processes and add chemicals to improve the oil’s taste, appearance and odor. The next process is expressing the oil from the meat through wet milling or quick drying method. All we need to know about this process is that it’s a very quick process, allowing no time for contamination of foreign matters so the coconut’s natural flavor, odor and nutrients are retained. Unrefined coconut oil is also called virgin coconut oil, by the way. “Extra”, I think, is added to virgin coconut oil only as a marketing strategy and refers to the same type of oil.
So, How Do You Buy Coconut Oil?
If you want a healthy type of coconut oil, always buy the unrefined type. Don’t look at the brand unless you know a trusted brand already, rather, read the label. If the coconut oil has no “unrefined” label on its container, then it’s safe to assume it’s chemically processed. When it comes to container, glass is always better than plastic bottles. Yes, the latter is much cheaper but, don’t sacrifice your health for just a few dollars. Glass bottles seal coconut oil’s nutrients better than plastic bottles. Now that you know what type of coconut oil you should buy, this should help you lessen the time you spend in the grocery store.