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The Different Types of Coconut Oil and Their Uses

Posted by Kari Wilson on

 

Called as the "The Tree of Life", the coconut tree has innumerable list of products and by-products derived from its different parts. Extracted from the fruit of the coconut tree, coconut oil is one of the most versatile ingredient in health food and aromatherapy products. It has many uses and can contribute to different health benefits which include but not limited to skin and hair care, improves digestion, burns fat, improves immunity, and used for cooking purposes.

 

 But there are different types of coconut oil and depending on your intention of use, you must select the right type to maximize its benefits.


Refined Coconut Oils

Also referred to as RBD Coconut Oil (Refined,Bleached, and Deodorized), is an oil extracted from copra. Copras are dried kernels of mature coconuts from which coconut oil is obtained.

To extract the oil, the dried coconut meat is hydraulically pressed at 100-130 degrees.  The produce will pass through a filtering process to remove coconut oil impurities. Oil will then go through the process called: refining, bleaching, and deodorizing.

The oil is then filtered through a process called "bleaching", where  calcareous clays are used in the filtering process  The oil is then steamed to a very high temperature for two main purpose: 1. kill the germs 2. deodorize the oil resulting to a product with bland taste, with minimal to no odor.


Liquid Coconut Oils - are not your traditional coconut oils. It is manufactured and derived from coconut oil. It can stay in its liquid state under low temperatures. It is also called Fractionated Coconut Oil or MCT (medium chain triglyceride) - where lauric acid (long chain triglycerides) is removed or is present in tiny amounts. It has been used mostly in skin care products and treatments. Fractionated Coconut Oil is actually a by-product of laucric acid industry. This lauric acid from coconut oils are known to have powerful antimicrobial properties and this is being used by many commercial applications as an effective preservative.

Uses:

  • Great as base for cosmetic or skin care products such as soaps and lotions.
  • Has microbacterial properties and can be use as antiseptic and disinfectant
  • Great as a carrier oil.
  • Aromatherapy
  • Edible and can be used in cooking

Hydrogenated Coconut Oil - Is an RBD coconut oil that were processed further to increase its melting point keeping the coconut oil at its solid state even in higher temperatures. By hydrogenating coconut oil or any other vegetable oil, many of the unsaturated fatty acids turn into trans fatty acids.
This process also lengthens shelf life of the oil and is much cheaper than virgin coconut oil.

Uses - This type of oil is more often use in the confection industry. Many of our processed foods available in market today have hydrogenated trans fat such as:

  • cookies
  • pastries
  • french fries
  • margarine
  • mayonnaise

Unrefined Coconut Oils

Also referred to as "raw", "extra-virgin" or "virgin" coconut oil.

Virgin coconut oils are produced through dry or wet processes. Dry process means drying the coconut meat first and when dried the oil is pressed out of the dried coconut meat. Wet-milling process entails extracting the coconut milk from wet, fresh coconut meat by pressing it out. Oil and water will be separated through varying methods such as fermentation, boiling, mechanical centrifuge or refrigeration.

Studies revealed that the process of fermentation in the wet-milling process brings the highest and purest levels of antioxidant properties in coconut oils.

Depending on the extraction process, flavor and aroma of the oil vary from strong/intense or mild/light. Generally, the more you expose the coconut oil to heat the more it will release a strong, coconut scent.

Uses:

  • raw food diet ingredient
  • hair and skin care
  • disinfectant and antimicrobial
  • energy booster
  • weight loss

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