Walk down a grocery aisle and you’ll likely spot an array of coconut oil options from extra virgin to refined. But what exactly does “refined” coconut oil mean and how does it compare to other types of coconut oil, there will be question come from your mind "Is refined coconut oil healthy and safety? and how to use it properly?
Let’s clear up the confusion surrounding refined coconut oil, how refined coconut oil produced, why refinement matters, where it shines best, and how to use it in your cooking and self-care routines.
What Is Refined Coconut Oil?
Refined coconut oil undergoes processing to alter or purify the final oil. After extraction from the coconut meat, refined varieties get bleached and deodorized using high heat and harsh chemicals.
This intensive refining process removes all coconut scent and taste from the finished oil, resulting in a neutral product. It also eliminates any particulates for clarity. The oil gets extensively filtered again at the end. This yields a purified, odorless and shelf-stable coconut oil that maintains a long shelf life.
In contrast, virgin and unrefined coconut oils only undergo light processing like washing, wet-milling, and centrifugal separation before packaging. This retains much of the coconut flavor, aroma, and micronutrients yet has a shorter shelf stability.
Assessing the Nutrition of Refined Coconut Oil
Many coconut oil nutrients remain intact even after refinement, though some loss occurs. Refined coconut oil keeps:
- High levels of saturated fats (82-86%) with 62% as lauric acid
- Vitamin E and vitamin K (but lower than virgin oil)
- Minerals like iron, phosphorus, and zinc
- Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)
However, refined coconut oil lacks beneficial polyphenols and phytosterols lost during high heat bleaching. The extensive filtration also removes proteins. The processing alters the fatty acid chemistry slightly as well.
Still, refined coconut oil largely keeps the high saturated fat content linked to elevating “good” HDL cholesterol when eaten in moderation. The medium chain triglycerides also get converted to quick energy.
Is Refined Coconut Oil Healthy and Safe?
While refined coconut oil makes positive nutritional contributions, its processed nature raises some health concerns:
Potential solvent residues - Chemical extraction risks trace solvents lingering. Look for steam-refined.
Loss of nutrients - Polyphenols and vitamins are lowered through refinement.
Higher heat level - High temperatures damage some fatty acids and antioxidants.
Bleaching/deodorizing - Chemicals alter the oil’s natural state, though many get removed later.
Trans fat risk - Partial hydrogenation during processing can produce trans fats.
However, reputable brands monitor oil purity and avoid over-processing. Refined coconut oil avoids trans fats and functions well for high-heat cooking or shelf stability. But virgin or unrefined varieties offer more overall nutrients and health perks.
Choosing a High Quality Refined Coconut Oil
Seeking a quality refined product? Here are tips for selecting a healthy, safe refined coconut oil:
- Choose organic, non-GMO oil
- Seek steam-refined without chemicals if possible
- Ensure no hydrogenation or trans fats
- Look for certifications like USDA Organic, Fair Trade
- Check for purity standards like GMP or ISO 22000
- See if testing confirms no solvent residues
How to Use Refined Coconut Oil For Cooking
Thanks to a high smoke point of 400°F and neutral flavor, refined coconut oil For Cooking becomes the optimal choice for:
- High-heat frying - Excellent for deep frying and stir frying without burning. Withstands over 350°F / 176°C heat.
- Baking - Refined oil allows coconut flavor in recipes without overtly tasting like coconut.
- Smoothies - The mild taste won’t overpower other smoothie ingredients.
- Popcorn topping - A healthy swap for butter that won’t add coconut taste.
- Marinades and dressings - The light flavor mixes without competing against other recipe components.
Apply Refined Coconut Oil For Skin and Hair
In body care, refined coconut oil makes an ultra-moisturizing option free of scent or particles. The best way using refined coconut oil for Skin and Hair Care:
- Facial moisturizer - Using refined coconut oil for skin softens and smooths delicate facial skin thanks to capric and caprylic fatty acids.
- Makeup remover - The thick oil easily dissolves even waterproof makeup without an oily residue.
- After-sun moisturizer - Refined oil is gentle enough for sunburned skin with hydrating vitamin E.
- Shaving cream - Creates a smooth surface for razors to prevent nicks and cuts.
- Cuticle softener - Penetrates and softens dry, cracked cuticles overnight with regular application.
- Lip balm - Soothes, hydrates and protects chapped lips without a greasy feel.
- Bath oil - Just a spoonful transforms bathwater into a skin-nourishing soak.
- Hair serum - Controls frizz, adds shine, and seals split ends on damp hair when applied sparingly.
In Conclusion, Is Refined Coconut Oil Healthy?
While refined coconut oil does undergo significant processing, reputable brands monitor procedures to ensure quality, safety, and purity. When chosen wisely, refined coconut oil can be an economical, versatile health-supporting oil for cooking at high heats or smoothing skin. Yet to gain the most nutrients, antioxidants and rich coconut flavor, virgin and unrefined coconut oils remain the gold standard. Simply tailor your coconut oil choice to the specific use. Then enjoy coconut oil’s benefits for wellness as well as beauty.