There are two key types of coconut oil available in the market –
1) Virgin Coconut Oil and
2) Refined Bleached and Deodorized (RBD) Coconut Oil also called ordinary coconut oil.
Virgin Coconut Oil is closest to a coconut and undergoes minimum processing i.e. it retains all the good stuff – nutrients, minerals and vitamins and it is 100% natural. This oil is traditionally made in small batches. RBD Coconut Oil, on the other hand, undergoes processing like a normal vegetable oil and is mass manufactured. One of the key differences in the properties of these oils is due to the process followed to make them.
There are multiple ways one can produce Virgin Coconut Oil:
Wet milling - using methods like fermentation, refrigeration, cold pressed and centrifugal being popular ones OR
Cold pressed (expeller pressed) - the traditional and popular method used to produce virgin coconut oil in coastal India
Coconut oils to be avoided are refined, hydrogenated, chemically extracted, fractioned or liquid oils, mass produced or stored in plastic containers. There is no such thing as ‘Extra-Virgin’ coconut oil – this is just a marketing gimmick.