Recent trend in consumer preferences have increased the popularity of virgin coconut oil against the regular coconut oil. The difference between virgin coconut oil and regular oil starts from the very process of extraction and processing of the oil.
The regular coconut oil is made by pressing fresh coconut meat or dried coconut meat called chopra.The copra is pressed in a machine to release the oil. The oil is then steamed or heated to deodorize the oil and bleached by filtering through clays to remove impurities and any remaining bacteria. Sometimes chemical solvents may be used to extract oil from the copra. The resulting oil has a higher smoke point at about 400-450 degrees F, and is flavorless and odorless.
On the other hand the virgin variant is extracted from fresh meat using a method called cold press. In this a machine presses fresh coconut meat to yield milk and oil. The milk is separated from the oil by fermentation, enzymes, or centrifuge machines. The resulting oil has a smoke point of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (F), which can be used for quick sautéing or baking but is not appropriate for very high heat such as deep-frying.
The process of virgin coconut extraction helps retain the nutrients. Nutrient content of both the variants are almost similar. However the virgin coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, has good cholesterol and almost negligible amounts of trans fatty acids.As virgin coconut oil is extracted from coconut milk, it has better aroma and taste as compared to the regular one. Also, virgin coconut oil has a luscious, tropical coconut scent and flavour. On the other hand, the normal one has artificial scent and flavour. Virgin coconut oil is non-greasy and is lighter in viscosity.
Virgin coconut helps boosting functionality of thyroid and endocrine systems, and increases the body’s metabolic rate; hence helping in reducing weight. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. It nourishes hairs and gives natural shine. Virgin coconut oil is also a good moisturizer for skin and also a sunscreen.