What is the Difference between Plain Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an edible grade oil. It is extracted from the meat of coconuts plucked from the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera). Coconut oil has many health benefits. It is used in extensively in the cosmetics, medicine and food products.
Coconut oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It is very good for skin care, hair care and is also used for cooking.
Difference Between Plain Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fresh white meat of the coconut by using mechanical pressing methods. It is produced without involving any form of heating process. No chemicals are added during the extraction of the virgin coconut oil.
The plain coconut oil is extracted from the copra (dried meat of coconut) using chemicals and is then further bleached to sanitize the oil. Bleaching helps to increase the period during which the coconut oil will remain in a good condition without being spoiled.
How is Plain Coconut Oil Produced?
The plain commercial grade coconut oil extracted from the dried meat of the coconut also known as copra.
The fresh coconut meat is first dried by smoke drying, sun drying or kiln drying methods or a combination of all the three methods. The coconut oil is then extracted using mechanical force.
The coconut oil extracted is purified or refined to remove impurities by passing the oil through bleaching clay. After the bleaching process, steam is used to deodorize the oil. This method of extraction is called the Refining Bleaching and Deodorizing method. Sodium hydroxide is used to remove free fatty acids and prolong shelf life.
During the RBD process, the original beneficial properties of the coconut oil are lost.
How is Virgin Coconut Oil Produced?
Virgin coconut oil is produced using the wet-milling process.
In this method -
1. fresh coconut meat is pressed mechanically to get coconut milk
2. coconut oil is separated from the coconut milk without heating or adding chemicals
Heat and chemicals are not used in the production of pure virgin coconut oil. Due to this, the original properties of coconut oil is preserved, and the antioxidants are not destroyed.
Composition of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a maximum content of saturated fats in the form of medium chain triglycerides that are digested and absorbed by the body easily. Lauric acid makes up more than 40 percent of the coconut oil along with capric acid, caprylic acid, myrstic acid and palmitic acid.
Coconut oil also has the following -
- polyunsaturated fats – Linoleic acid
- mono-saturated fats – Oleic acid
- polyphenols are also known as gallic acid responsible for the fragrance and taste of the coconut oil.
- derivatives of fatty acids such as betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty sorbates, monoglycerides and polyphenol esters.
- fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol, ether sulphate
- vitamin E, vitamin K
Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin Coconut Oil has all the natural goodness of coconut oil preserved and has the following benefits -
- Caprylic acid in coconut oil kills harmful bacteria and helps to kill and prevent the spread of candida.
- Lauric acid in coconut oil helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol thereby protecting the heart.
- Coconut oil helps to reduce weight because the healthy medium chain fatty acids are not stored as fat in the body but are sent directly to the liver and are converted into energy.
- It helps to control diabetes and does not produce a sudden increase in blood sugar after consumption.
- Coconut oil boosts production of insulin by the liver.
- It is rich in lauric acid that helps to boost the immune system and helps to fight off diseases.
- Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal and helps the skin to heal and promotes the growth of new skin cells.
- Coconut oil is good for hair care. It boosts blood circulation and keeps scalp and hair healthy. It also helps to treat dandruff and other scalp infections.
Virgin coconut oil is good for cooking and adds extra flavor to the dish.