Refined coconut oil is typically cheaper and unlikely to have the coconutty flavour and smell. Virgin coconut oil uses fresher coconut and is the unrefined version with a lighter taste. Virgin coconut oil is deemed to be a higher quality than refined coconut oil, and is said to be richer in antioxidant polyphenols.
Fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet — it is a source of essential fatty acids and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Although studies examining the health benefits of consuming coconut oil over other fats are scarce, coconut oil has one notable difference. Coconut oil contains a high proportion of a type of fat called Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), most notably in the form of lauric acid. MCFAs reputably have various health benefits including being less likely to be stored in the body as fat and more readily used as a source of energy.