Coconut oil can be marketed as fair trade, organic, conventional, cold pressed, centrifuged, fermented, boiled, expeller pressed, fractionated, solvent extracted, virgin, chemically refined, physically refined, unrefined, hydrogenated. It does sound like a latte order at some of the coffee chains doesn’t it? We’ve teamed up with Cocofina to demystify the coconut oil jargon. Some of the terms like cold pressing are self explanatory but lets delve into the detail of some of the more complicated terms.
Virgin coconut oil?
Virgin coconut oil is used to indicate how the oil was extracted from the coconut. Usually virgin coconut oil is extracted through cold pressing or centrifuging. It is a term which was borrowed from the olive oil industry as olive oil is graded on the basis of acidity.
What is extra virgin coconut oil?
This is a best-kept secret, there is absolutely no difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil. Since virgin or extra virgin indicates method used to extract the oil. In the case of olive oil Extra virgin olive oil has a maximum acidity of 0.8% Virgin olive oil can have acidity up to 2.0%.
Refined Coconut Oil:
Refined coconut oil is usually produced from dried copra and the oil might undergo various levels of processing. It does not mean that all refined coconut oils are unhealthy but it will be worth checking with the producer if any solvents or additives like hexane have been used in the extraction process. Some of these additives can still be present in traces and can be harmful. Not everyone loves the taste of coconut so a refined coconut oil is popular as an everyday oil.
MCT Coconut Oil
There are short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain fats in coconut oil. The presence of long-chain fats stops the coconut oil from being liquid at room temperature since long chain fats melt at higher temperatures . Medium-chain triglyceride oil is made by removing the lauric acid using fractional distillation. There are varying compositions of caprylic and capric fatty acids in the MCT oils available in the market.
Organic vs Conventional
In most countries coconut is not intensively cultivated with the use of pesticides but sometimes there are certain pests like beetles that are hard to get rid of and pesticides are used. Organic is a better option for the health of humans and our planet.
Hydrogenated Coconut Oil
This is a refined oil which is hydrogenated by introducing hydrogen into the oil. This process transforms the available fats into saturated and trans fats. Hydrogenated coconut oil is not recommended for use in your diet due to the presence of trans fats.
So in summary if you looking for a coconut oil to moisturise with or to impart a coconut flavour and aroma choose a virgin coconut oil, if you do not like your everyday cooking to smell of coconut then use a refined oil. Either way I would recommend that you choose organic.
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