Unrefined or Refined Coconut Oil: That is the Question

Just last week at the grocery store, we overheard a conversation in which a mother told her daughter that coconut oil must be refined to be healthy. This is not true, but it’s no wonder that mom is confused. We all encounter a lot of misinformation from varied sources.

Do you stand in the grocery aisles with a glazed expression, completely overwhelmed by all the choices in coconut oil brands? Big plastic tubs, tiny jars, liquid, refined, unrefined, organic, extra-virgin—it’s enough to make you throw up your hands and buy some Crisco! Please don’t do that, because we’re here to help!

First, let’s define refined and unrefined to gain some clarity on the two products.

Refined coconut oil refers to the oil extracted from dried coconut meat and has been bleached and deodorized. Because of many unknown and unlabeled processing methods, it is possible to end up with a low-quality, even hydrogenated refined oil. It has a higher smoke point during cooking and no coconut flavor.

Because of all the unknown variables in processing, we recommend using refined coconut oil only for cooking at high temperatures and when a coconut flavor is not desired. While refined oil still contains some health benefits and is certainly a better choice over many processed oils, it is not as nutritionally dense as its unrefined counterpart.


Unrefined coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat which is then either wet-milled or quick-dried with no bleaching agents. It has a moderate smoke point during cooking, and a distinctive coconut flavor.

Unrefined coconut oil has a unique combination of medium-chain fatty acids that have been proven to have amazing positive health benefits on the body. Coconut is referred to as super foods due to all the wonderful properties. Not only is it used for cooking alone, but it had numerous other uses that range from natural medicine to natural beauty treatments.


Is organic necessary?

Coconuts are not presently affected by the GMO movement, nor are they generally treated with pesticides. If you have organic oil available to you at a reasonable price, by all means purchase organic. If not, purchase one labeled “Unrefined” and “Virgin” or “Extra-Virgin” and you should still end up with a safe, high-quality oil.


Top benefits of unrefined coconut oil


1. Boosts immunity
Unrefined coconut oil has a unique nutritional profile that is rich in lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. These acids are responsible for strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial that boost the immune system.


2. Decrease stretch marks
Due to its antioxidant and moisturizing properties, unrefined coconut oil can effectively reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The oils present in coconut oil helps in strengthening the skin’s cell wall and its antioxidant properties aid in fighting free radicals and nourish damaged skin.

If you suffer from eczema, dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis, you are in luck. Daily use of the oil aids in decreasing the inflammation caused my these skins conditions.


3. Nourishes hair
Unrefined coconut oil can effectively help maintain healthy, shiny, and beautiful hair. It is considered to be one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. The oil penetrates deep into the hair shafts. Once a week put a light layer on your hair, while staying away from the roots, and you will see stronger, shinier hair fast.


4. Fat-burning supplement
Unrefined coconut oil has a positive effect on weight loss and burning fat. A majority of people may find this odd if adding fat to a diet seems counterintuitive, but not all fats are created equal. The medium chain fats in unrefined coconut oil are oxidized in the body and used for energy; whereas, long chain fatty acids which is found in red meat, poultry, and fish is stored in the fat cells of the body. Use at least one tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil and enjoy the benefits of losing weight.


5. Provides you with instant energy
Unrefined coconut oil boosts your metabolism. This will help you feel less fatigue and help you get through the day without reaching for caffeine. It will also enhance your performance when working out.


6. Sleep aid
The benefits of unrefined coconut oil in the body has been shown to help relax and sooth anxiety. These effects can help you fall asleep faster, have deeper sleep, and have longer uninterrupted sleep.


7. Promote heart health
The healthy oils in unrefined coconut oil help to decrease overall cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL, the bad cholesterol. Along with it, it helps to increase the good cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol.


8. Fights inflammation
Unrefined coconut oil supports a healthy overall body by decreasing the effects of chronic inflammation. The lauric acid in coconut oil has an anti-inflammatory property. You will see decreased joint pain while adding coconut to your diet. This is great if you suffer from arthritis.


9. Increased cell regeneration
As your metabolism increases, your cell regeneration speeds up as well. Your body will now have the ability to replace old cells quicker with new healthy cells.


When you’re in the store shopping don’t be afraid to grab the unrefined coconut oil and use it on a daily basis. Taking one tablespoon a day will yield great benefits for your entire body.


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