Refined or Unrefined Coconut Oil - What's The Difference?

Refined or Unrefined Coconut Oil - What's The Difference?

I love coconut oil and use it on almost everything that I eat.  It has so many benefits such as killing candida fungus, improving Alzheimer's disease, improving skin disorders (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea), provides energy, helps with hypothyroidism, strengthens hair, kills many bacteria and viruses and promotes weight loss.

We used to be afraid of fats in general and coconut has the – dare we spoke of – saturated fats. Fortunately, we smartened up and learned that some fats are healthy. 

But when it comes to purchasing coconut oil, do you want refined or unrefined -- or both?

Let's take a look at the differences.

Refined Coconut Oil:

Refined coconut is either "expeller pressed" where a machine extracts the oil then uses steam to distill or "RBD" which uses chemical solvents to extract the oil.

Then the oil is "bleached" to kill off microbes and remove any dust particles and insects. Bleaching doesn't involve a household cleaner, but rather a process by which the oil is passed through a bleaching clay for filtration.

The result is a clear, mild-tasting oil. It's perfect for beauty applications, such as a hair conditioning, and for people who aren't a fan of a bold coconut flavor in their foods.

Some lesser versions of refined coconut oil have added partially-hydrogenated fats added, too. Partially hydrogenated fat is a manmade product – a type of trans fat that is especially bad for your health. If you choose refined coconut oil, read the label to ensure your choice is pure coconut oil with no additives and no trans fats.

Unrefined Coconut Oil:

Unrefined coconut oil is often also referred to as “pure” or “virgin” coconut oil. This type of oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat instead of dried, and undergoes less processing than refined.

With less refinement, you get a bigger coconut flavor. Plus, you also receive more nutrients. When coconut oil is refined, the baking and bleaching reduces the number of polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids available. These compounds are what offer the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits; thus, unrefined coconut oil may be better if you're taking it to boost your health. Refined coconut oil isn't devoid of these nutrients, it just has fewer.

The only reason you might opt for refined over unrefined coconut oil is if you are cooking at extremely high heat, as refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees fahrenheit, whereas unrefined oil’s smoke point is 350 degrees.

I like unrefined, organic, cold pressed coconut oil -- Nutiva brand of coconut oil.  

I hope this helps if you are deciding which to buy.  Which ever coconut oil that you purchase, refined or unrefined, they will both offer you health benefits.. and it tastes so good! It's also approved for most of the special diets out there -- Paleo, AIP, Keto, and especially clean eating!!