Coconut oil is one of my favorite foods that burn belly fat on a keto diet.
While it wasn’t always love at first taste, I definitely enjoy the health benefits of including coconut oil in my low carb lifestyle. Oh, you know – benefits like losing 100 pounds after eating more healthy fats, like coconut oil.
The good news is when you replace highly processed vegetable oils with more healthy fats, like coconut oil, your health will improve too! Of course, this plan won’t work if you’re working with bad coconut oil.
What is coconut oil?
Before we talk about how long coconut oil lasts, plus the benefits of this amazing fat source – let’s review what it is, including the different types of coconut oil.
Coconut oil is the oil that’s extracted from the white meat of coconut fruit. Depending on how coconut oil is processed, there are two different types of oil: refined and unrefined.
Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil
When it comes to refined vs unrefined coconut oil keto approved, which should you choose?
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil, also referred to as virgin coconut oil or VCO, is pressed directly from fresh coconut meat. Beyond pressing the meat, no other processing takes place. It has a longer shelf life due to minimal processing.
Virgin or extra virgin (unrefined) coconut oil is better for fat bombs with coconut oil, salad dressing recipes, and baking since it has a lower smoke point of 350 degrees F. Since it’s closer to nature than it’s refined counterpart, you’ll reap more health benefits from unrefined coconut oil.
Refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is derived from dried coconut meat that is steam refined. Of the two types of coconut oil found in grocery stores, refined coconut oil has a more neutral flavor. If you plan to substitute coconut oil for butter, this is the best type to use in order to avoid a strong coconut flavor.
While it’s best to choose cooking oils that are minimally processed, the refining process makes this type of oil more suitable for cooking. Refined coconut oil is a better option for frying foods at high temperatures since it has a smoke point of 450 degrees F.
Organic vs Virgin Coconut Oil
The main difference between organic coconut oil and virgin coconut oil is the method in which the coconuts are grown.
Organic means that the coconuts used for the raw coconut oil were not grown with pesticides. You can purchase both refined and unrefined organic coconut oil.
As previously discussed, virgin coconut oil only signifies it is unrefined – meaning it’s made from fresh coconut meat.
Even though coconuts don’t appear on the dirty dozen list, an organic jar of coconut oil is always a better choice. The best organic coconut oil available is Thrive Market Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. Nutiva Organic Unrefined liquid coconut oil is another great option.
You can purchase both brands at a discount via Thrive Market.
Should Coconut Oil Be Solid or Liquid?
While saturated fats should be solid at room temperature, don’t worry about rancid oil if you notice your bottle of coconut oil changes from solid form to liquid form during different times of the year.
Coconut oil remains solid up to a room temperature of 76 degrees F. You may notice your glass jar of coconut oil is rock solid during the winter months, while it retains a liquid state during higher temperatures in the summer months.
If you find a type of coconut oil that remains liquid even in lower temperatures, then it’s likely a fractionated coconut oil. Since this kind of oil undergoes more processing at a very high heat, it’s a good idea to use even the best organic fractionated coconut oil for different purposes.
Different ways to use this form include as a moisturizer, for hair care (like a hair mask), or to combine with essential oils to use as a massage oil.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Daily use of coconut oil comes with far more benefits than cooking with unsaturated fats, like canola oil.
Here are just a few of the proven health benefits coconut oil has to offer:
- Helps burn belly fat: It’s among the top foods that increase metabolism and burn fat.
- Fats are metabolized into ketones: this plays a critical role in hunger reduction, and can boost brain function.
- Treats inflammation: this antioxidant rich food can help suppress inflammatory cells.
- Contains lauric acid: this helps kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It can also help balance hormones.
- Stress reduction: its antioxidant properties can help with depression in some people.
- Promotes heart health: increases HDL, the good cholesterol.
- Improves oral health & wound healing: coconut oil can kill bacteria in both the mouth and in wounds.
How Long Does Coconut Oil Last?
Coconut oil is a great buy due to its long shelf life. How long your coconut oil will last depends on a few factors, such as the processing method used, how you store coconut oil, and the expiration date listed.
When stored properly, refined coconut oil has a shelf life between 18 – 24 months. The shelf life of coconut oil that is unrefined can be up to five years since it retains more of its natural antioxidants.
The shelf life of coconut oil is longer when the jar remains unopened. You can typically add an additional 3-6 months past the best-by date for unopened jars of both refined and unrefined coconut oil.
How to Store Coconut Oil
Your best bet is to store coconut oil in an airtight container in a dark place, such as a kitchen cupboard. Coconut oil is best stored at room temperature, so there’s no need to refrigerate. In fact, keeping coconut oil in the fridge makes it harder to use since this will turn it into a rock solid state.
Make sure the area you choose to store your coconut oil is a dry place that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight. The best way to store coconut oil is in a glass bottle to prevent plastic from leaching into the oil.
How to Tell if Coconut Oil is Bad
Even though this healthy fat comes with so many benefits, you won’t see any health improvements if you end up using rancid coconut oil.
Here are the signs of spoilage to look out for so you get the best results from incorporating coconut oil into your diet:
- Discoloration: Coconut oil should have a milky white color when solid, which turns translucent when melted. If your oil turns yellow, it’s likely bad.
- Signs of Mold: If you notice black spots, this is likely mold. Even if your coconut oil hasn’t reached its expiry date, get rid of coconut oil that contains any dark spots.
- Bitter or Sour Odor: Does your coconut oil have a rancid smell? If so, it’s time to toss it. Coconut oil should have a slightly sweet smell that’s pleasant. Your jar may also have a neutral scent, which is also OK.
- Sour Flavor: Coconut oil also has a slightly sweet taste. If you notice a sour, bitter flavor – it’s bad.
- Chunky Consistency: Fresh coconut oil is smooth. When it becomes too chunky, chunk it in the trash.
Can Coconut Oil Make You Sick?
With coconut oil’s natural antioxidants that fight off harmful free radicals, it’s a great addition to most people’s diets – but can coconut oil make you sick?
Obviously eating any food that’s spoiled can lead to negative side effects, and using spoiled coconut oil is no different. Be sure to review the signs of spoiled coconut oil above so you don’t consume bad coconut oil.
Even beyond that, you need to consider the high fat content in coconut oil, as well as your ability to digest high fat foods.
If you quickly switch to a high-fat diet after following a low-fat diet for a long time, consuming too much coconut oil can result in upset stomach, stomach cramping, diarrhea and loose stool.
If the first thing you do is run to the bathroom in terror after consuming coconut oil, that doesn’t mean coconut oil isn’t right for you in the long run. It simply means you need to work to improve your digestion before adding too many healthy fats into your diet.
Other Uses for Coconut Oil
While this article is mostly about the benefits of coconut oil in relation to improved health and weight loss, there are plenty of other uses for this versatile oil.
Some of these uses include:
- To moisturize skin, hair, and nails
- Helps improve acne or other skin irritations
- Coconut oil as a shortening substitute
- Substitute coconut oil for butter in recipes
- Coconut oil fat bombs (like this keto chocolate fat bomb)
- As a sunscreen
Coconut Oil FAQs
There is no need to refrigerate coconut oil. Keeping coconut oil in the fridge can turn it rock solid, which makes it harder to cook with.
You can melt coconut oil on the stove top in a small saucepan. It will liquify in a few minutes. Another trick is to get a heated thermo ice cream scoop. This uses your body heat to help soften the coconut oil as you scoop.
Can you microwave coconut oil?
While you can microwave coconut oil, it’s recommended that you melt coconut oil on the stove to maintain the integrity of the oil.
With proper storage, unopened refined coconut oil has a shelf life of 18-24 months, while a sealed jar of virgin oil can last up to five years. Most coconut oil will last up to a year upon opening.
Yes. Follow the same expiration guidelines for organic coconut oil as you do for the non-organic version.
You can typically use unopened coconut oil approximately 3-6 months past the best-by date. Always check for signs of spoilage before use.
Where do you store coconut oil once opened?
Store both opened and unopened jars of coconut oil in a dry, cool place – like a kitchen pantry or cupboard.
Bad coconut oil may exhibit any of these signs of spoilage: discoloration, bitter or sour odor, sour flavor, change in consistency, and dark spots.
Coconut Oil Burns Fat
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How Long Does Coconut Oil Last