Cold vs Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Cold-pressed coconut oil tends to retain more of its nutritional value, particularly phenolic compounds, whereas expeller-pressed oil has a more nutty and toasted flavor, making it preferable for certain cooking applications. While both of these coconut oils are good for your health, your choice should depend on why and how you are using the oil for your health.

Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil

The expeller-pressed method is the more traditional and common method for preparing coconut oil, in which the oil is pressed or squeezed from the meat of the coconut in order to extract it. This process separates the fiber, water, and protein from the oil, leaving behind a pure product that can be used for a wide variety medicinal and culinary applications [1]

While no additional heat is added during the process or to the oil itself, there is a great deal of pressure and friction involved in this method. As a result, the oil is subject to higher temperatures, sometimes in excess of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. When you heat oils to a certain level, some of the nutrients are lost, whether through denaturing or simple burn off. While the smoke point of coconut oil is 350 degrees Fahrenheit, this is a measurement of when the oil begins to burn (and thus quickly lose nutrients).

Even at temperatures below the smoke point, some of the beneficial fats and polyphenolic components can be lost or wasted, so keeping the processing temperature low is highly desired. That being said, expeller-pressed coconut oil tends to have a more toasted or nutty aroma and flavor, due to the application of this heat. This flavor makes the expeller-pressed variety sought after in many baking and culinary uses to improve the taste of the final product. [2]

Coconut oil and coconut on a leaf

Coconut oil in a small bottle Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil

The cold-pressed variety of this oil, on the other hand, is processed in a way that maintains a temperature never exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat-controlled process produces a pure, unadulterated, high-quality oil, which retains nearly all of its initial nutrients, making it more potent for natural health uses. It is important to remember that neither the cold-pressed or expeller-pressed varieties are refined, a process which can expose the oil to temperatures in excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, imparting a delicious flavor, but eliminating many of the most important nutrients. Also, both of these methods typically use organic or virgin coconut oil, which means that they are inherently better for you than many other options on the market. In terms of price, cold-pressed coconut oil tends to be slightly more expensive. [3]

When comparing the two, the only real difference is the temperatures to which they’re exposed, and the loss of nutrients is quite small. Both of these options are excellent for your health needs, but the flavors will vary. The subtle, coconut flavor is typically maintained with the cold-pressed variety, whereas a richer and more pronounced flavor can be found in expeller-pressed coconut oil. [4]

Benefits of Pure Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil

If you choose cold-pressed coconut oil for your natural health needs, it can help protect and improve the appearance of your skin, strengthen the hair, boost the immune system, promote weight loss, and increase the metabolism, among others.

Skin Care

This type of coconut oil is exceptional for skin health, as it is a great moisturizer and also delivers antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal protection to the skin, making it great for the prevention and treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, and inflammation of every kind. It also helps with exfoliation by eliminating deep-seated toxins and improves elasticity by targeting oxidative stress and free radical activity. [5]

Improves Metabolism

The medium-chain triglycerides found in cold-pressed coconut oil are unaffected by the temperature of the preparation, so they can deliver their full impact to the metabolism. These fatty acids are converted directly into energy by the liver, rather than being stored as fat for later use, like many other types of long-chain fatty acids. This means a faster energy boost and an overall increase in metabolic rate throughout the body. [6]

Boosts Immune System

The MCFAs in cold-pressed coconut oil, as well as the phenolic compounds and vitamins, are able to protect the immune system and prevent a variety of infections, both inside the body and out. From antibacterial effects to antioxidant elimination of oxidative stress, this powerful oil works as a great shield for your overall health.

Hair Care

By maintaining all of its natural acids, minerals and nutrients, cold-pressed coconut oil is the best choice for hair treatments, helping to strengthen strands, moisturize the scalp, prevent infections in the follicle beds, eliminate dandruff, and improve the appearance and luster of your locks. [7]

Weight Loss

In conjunction with a faster metabolism, the medium-chain fatty acids also release ketones when released, which stimulate the metabolism and cause the body to burn fat faster. Research has shown that moderate coconut oil consumption can burn more than 100 additional calories per day, while also helping to suppress appetite between meals, which has a dual impact for those trying to lose weight. [8] Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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