Virgin Coconut Oil: Benefits, Extraction & Composition
Virgin coconut oil is known for its nice fragrance, taste, antioxidants, medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), and vitamins, among other things.
What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is certainly not an unfamiliar name with most of us, but virgin coconut oil might be. Unlike what many of you might assume, it is not simply another name given to the ordinary coconut oil by some company just to increase sales numbers by claiming that it is the purest available form.
There is really a substance called virgin coconut oil and, if not entirely, it has some important differences from ordinary coconut oil. These differences mainly lie with the source (more specifically, the physical form of the source), the method of extraction, and its subsequent benefits. Virgin coconut oil is rapidly gaining in popularity throughout the world in comparison to ordinary coconut oil, and it is not without good reason.
The main difference between ordinary coconut oil and virgin coconut oil lies in their processes of extraction. While the former is extracted by cold compression or cold milling of Copra (another name for dried Coconut kernels) with a moisture content of around six percent, the latter is extracted from the coconut milk obtained from fresh coconuts. Thereafter, using processes such as fermentation, churning (centrifugal separation), refrigeration, and the action of enzymes, the oil is separated from the water or moisture. In some cases, this fresh coconut oil is boiled to obtain the oil by evaporating the water or moisture.
However, in the case of virgin coconut oil, the raw materials and the process of extraction should not allow any involvement of heat. Therefore, in good and reputable firms that manufacture virgin coconut oil, throughout the whole process, the utmost care is taken to ensure that the kernels and the raw material, i.e. the coconut milk, are not subjected to heat or sunlight. In some cases, virgin coconut oil is also extracted directly by cold compression of fresh dried coconut meat. This is also called Micro-expelling.