Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil vs. Refined Coconut Oil
To reap the many benefits of coconut oil, it is essential to choose organic unrefined coconut oil, preferably produced from a “wet-milling” process. Organic, unrefined coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat; not from dried coconut.
The oil is then separated from the water, through centrifuge, fermentation, boiling or refrigeration. Fermentation is the preferred method to ensure that the coconut oil retains its inherent health benefits.
Unlike olive oil, coconut oil is thermally stable, and the antioxidants are not lost through the heating process. Multiple scientific studies conducted in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other countries where coconuts are native have shown that the wet-milling fermentation method followed by “hot extracted virgin coconut oil” produces the highest level of antioxidants and lowers bad cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol.
While the heat process may seem counter-intuitive based on what we know about heating and the destruction of nutrients, coconut oil reacts differently to heat than other foods. For example, the case with harmful GMO oils is usually the opposite; they have been heated to the point of oxidizing and becoming toxic.
According to a study published in Food Science and Biotechnology, virgin coconut oil that is produced with heat, results in the highest number of antioxidants. Researchers believe that this may be due to the release of polyphenols from the bound structure.
Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point and is void of the coconut flavor. These coconut oils are mass-produced, typically through a chemical distillation process that starts with desiccated coconut that is not fresh. The coconuts are further bleached and deodorized to make them “more palatable” to the American consumer.
Some of these refined coconut oils are even hydrogenated, which turns this healthy natural oil, into a synthetic trans-fat. For this reason, avoid refined coconut oils as much as you possibly can.