There over 1000 studies to prove the coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods. In addition, it can provide numerous benefits to your skin. The health benefits span from having healthy fats in oil to anti-ageing, moisturizer to natural makeup remover.

While there is tons of information about the goodness of coconut oil, there are very few to assist in finding out the right oil for you. This article explains the type of extractions of coconut oil which causes it to retain or lose its natural taste, flavour and nutrients.

Cold pressed

cold pressed coconut oil

Extracted by compression (cold pressing) from dried coconut kernels (copra). This process involves taking fresh coconut flakes at a low temperature (around 40 degrees) and extracting oil between rotating circular presses. The process is quite time-consuming and labour-intensive. Cold pressing extracts a relatively smaller amount of oil (and as a result, slightly more expensive), but retains most of its nutrients. Pure cold-pressed coconut oil is also not refined, processed or deodorized. Cold pressed oil is used for cooking, massage, hair treatments and medicines.

How to identify cold pressed coconut oil?

• Cold pressed oil, made from copra, is light yellowish in colour
• It has a strong flavour

Roasted Coconut oil

Roasted coconut oil

The copra is heated with steam to around 100 degrees, which opens up the fat cells and helps in easy oil extraction. Oil is then extracted using pressure with filter press which removes sediments as and when oil is extracted.

The resulting oil has a golden yellow colour. It has a stronger smell and taste than cold pressed oil. Coconut Oil is mostly saturated fat and is quite stable at high temperature. Though cold pressed oil is superior in nutrients, roasting does not deteriorate the quality of oil, hence health benefits of coconut oil are preserved. The roasted coconut oil has a higher shelf life. Roasted oil is used for cooking, massage and hair treatments but not for medicines.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is extracted from coconut milk which is obtained from fresh coconuts using fermentation, churning (centrifugal separation) rather than the sundried coconut is known as copra in cold pressed method. Virgin coconut oil is snow white in colour when it is solid and water clear when liquid.

Production of Virgin Coconut Oilisin two ways: Quick drying and wet-milling method. Quick drying method involves heating whereas wet-milling method may or may not involve heating on the oil extraction process from coconut milk. Good quality of virgin oil is obtained from coconut milk, which is not subjected to heat or sunlight, throughout the whole process of extraction.

Virgin coconut oil has a good taste and smell. Virgin coconut oil is useful for applying on the skin as it is very effective as a moisturizing agent. The shelf life of virgin coconut oil is very long, much longer than any other edible oil. Since the production is more complicated and costlier than other oils, it is dearer than regular coconut oil.

Refined Coconut Oil (RBD)

Refined oil is extracted from crude oil by repeatedly filtering to obtain a clean filtrate. During the filtration, the oil is also bleached. Then, it is heated to a very high temperature. The whole process deodorizes the oil and also kills the germs or fungal spores within it. Refined coconut oil is pale golden in colour, crystal clear and laden with pure saturated fats. However, refined coconut oil does not offer the same health benefits as the cold pressed or virgin variety. The shelf life of refined coconut oil is more than the oils extracted by less heating.

Conclusion

Coconut oil, cold pressed or processed with relatively low heat retains the maximum nutrients of oil. The flavour of the oil is maximum in roasted oil and shelf life is maximum in refined oil (and virgin oil). In India, oil extracted from copra is used mainly for cooking and as hair oil, virgin oil is used for skin and for oral consumption (In the form of capsules).

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