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How to Choose Coconut Oil: The Guide

how to choose coconut oil

No wonder why the question – how to choose coconut oil – is a topical matter these days. Coconut oil contains the best type of saturated fatty acids, medium-chain triglycerides that speed up metabolism, have antibacterial and antiviral properties and prevent heart diseases. Coconut oil is also stable at high temperatures and can be widely applied for all types of cooking.

There are a lot of varieties of coconut oil on the market. How to choose the best coconut oil? What coconut oil to buy: unrefined coconut oil or refined one? Why are the prices so different? What does “virgin”, expeller-pressed”, “raw coconut oil” mean?

Let’s find out how to choose your coconut oil.

Coconut oil can be divided into two categories: unrefined coconut oil and refined coconut oil. After you choose between these two categories we will need to decide upon the method of extraction suitable for your purposes. And remember to read labels to make sure that no chemicals are added during oil processing.

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Refined coconut oil

Refined coconut oil is oil which has undergone deodorizing and bleaching. It is almost without taste and odor. It is stable at very high temperatures and ideal for cooking when you need pure fat with a high smoke point and without any specific flavor. Refined coconut oil is not as beneficial as raw coconut oil, but it contains most of medium-chain triglycerides which make coconut oil valuable.

Unrefined coconut oil

Unrefined coconut oil is also called virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin coconut oil. It is made from the first mechanical pressing of raw and fresh coconuts. The flavor of the unrefined coconut oil may be mild or intense. It depends on the heat it was exposed to. The more heat was exposed the stronger the flavor of unrefined coconut oil.

You can find organic virgin coconut oil and simply virgin coconut oil. Organic coconut oil is produced from organically grown coconuts. Organic virgin coconut oil benefits are numerous. This oil may be considered the best coconut oil for our health. Look for pure coconut oil, which is without herbal extracts, chemical additives, artificial colorings and flavors.

Extracting methods

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explains  the methods of coconut production. They are cold-pressed or expeller-pressed technologies of oil extraction.

Expeller-pressed coconut oil

Expeller pressing is a process when oil is squeezed mechanically from coconuts without any chemicals addition. The temperature achieved during the pressing process depends on coconuts hardness. Usually pressure creates heat of minimum 120-210 °F.

Cold-pressed coconut oil

Cold pressed coconut oil is also expeller pressed, but the temperature is kept below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to lower temperature processing cold-pressed coconut oil is believed more beneficial.

SEE ALSO: 3 Must Uses for Coconut Oil 

Things to beware of

As we already know both unrefined and refined coconut oils have medium-chain triglycerides that are very beneficial for our health. However, even partially hydrogenation of coconut oil can create trans fats and destroy antioxidants and essential fatty acids. So always  buy only non-hydrogenated coconut oil. A too low price of coconut oil should alert you. Truly high-quality coconut oil is never cheap.