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Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

Coconut oil has been in use by mankind for many years now. It is extracted from the nut of coconut palm and has been a popular and versatile oil among tropical cultures across the world. It has not only been used as a cooking medium but also as a moisturizer, medicinal tool and a base for cosmetics. The fact that coconut oil has fatty acid composition makes it different from other oils by giving it more resistance against spoilage; however it does spoil after a certain time and is not completely immune to damage.

How Long Does Coconut Oil Last?

The shelf life of coconut oil is a function of the refining method and its brand. According to studies, odorless coconut oil will last for approximately 18 months before it shows any signs of going bad. Such long shelf life is due to the fact that coconut oil contains antimicrobial properties and that it does not oxidase easily. Coconut oil produced from wet milling process will be more resistant to spoilage due to presence of antioxidants in it that guard it against spoilage. Such oil may last for several years before it shows any signs of spoilage. However, it is wise to remember that since coconut oil does contain some portions of unsaturated fats, it is not entirely damage resistant. The shelf life of coconut oil can be increased by storing it away from light or by refrigerating or freezing it after the container has been opened.

One thing that can decrease the shelf life of coconut oil is contamination with food crumbs that accidentally drop into the jar at the time of cooking. This happens because the food that has contaminated the oil is not stable and is prone to fermentation. It is wise to use a clean spoon every time you dip a spoon in the jar. It is best not to take a chance and discard any coconut oil that has changed its color or smells bad.

Why Does Coconut Oil Not Go Bad?

The secret behind coconut oil’s such high resistance to damage lies in its molecular structure. Coconut oil is mainly composed of saturated fats in the form of medium chain fatty acids. Although these chains lack double carbon bonds like all saturated fats, these chains of fatty acids are shorter in length as compared to chains found in saturated fats found in dairy and meat. On the contrary, other oils such as corn oil and soybean oil contain high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids having double bonds in their structure and thus they have a tendency to breakdown faster than saturated ones leading to a comparatively higher shelf life of coconut oil.

How to Identify Spoiled Coconut Oil?

As already mentioned coconut oil has not tasted the “elixir of life” and is therefore prone to damage sooner or later. Spoiled coconut oil can be identified from signs of growing mold, odor and taste. It is recommended to throw away any such oil that gives the slightest indications of damage weather due to appearance of mold, bad odor or poor taste.

In a nutshell, coconut oil may last for long if stored properly. However, if it gets contaminated or if it has been stored for a very long time (5-6 years), it does go bad and in such cases it is better to be safe by discarding it than being sorry by using it.

How to Store Coconut Oil?

Coconut Oil Pills – Learn What to Look for and How to Use

Coconut oil is gaining popularity for a variety of uses, from making lotions and soaps at home to regrowing hair. With all the attention it has received in the media – including a plug on the Dr. Oz Show – you may be wondering just what’s in it for you.

Coconut oil benefits

Some health experts caution against consuming all types of saturated fat, particularly that found in meat and dairy products. While coconut oil is higher in saturated fat than most other plant foods, one of the saturated fats present in coconut oil has been shown to raise “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels and lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. This saturated fat is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) called lauric acid, and it is believed to lower cholesterol by promoting its conversion to a precursor to vital hormones in the body.

There are potential weight loss benefits to using coconut oil as well. This is because MCTs tend not to be stored in the body for long periods of time. Unlike the long-chain triglycerides present in animal-based saturated fats, MCTs go straight to the liver where they are converted into energy you can use right away. Coconut oil can also be of help to those who struggle to lose weight due to an underactive thyroid, since underactive thyroid, reduced metabolic function, low energy levels and weight gain all go hand-in-hand. Let coconut oil help you achieve your weight-loss goals by kick-starting your metabolism!

Preliminary research also suggests that the antioxidant compounds present in coconut oil can help to fight aging and also boost the immune system against viruses and bacteria.

So if you would like to reap the benefits of coconut oil, but find that you are having a hard time incorporating it into your diet you might want to try taking coconut oil supplements, which now come in pill form.

Coconut oil pills: What to look for

When shopping for coconut oil supplements, remember that not all coconut oil pills are created equal.

What are the Different Types of Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is made from the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). This species is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia and Northwest South America and is estimated to be approximately 55 million years old. The oil is used as a main source of fat for millions of people in the world, especially in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. This incredibly healthy traditional oil comes in several forms, which may be confusing if you want to add it to your diet. In order to help you select the variety that best fits your needs and your budget, here is a guide to the different types of coconut oil.

What is Refined Coconut Oil?

The majority of coconut oils available on the market have been heavily refined. In modern production processes, most commercially-available coconut oil is made by drying the meat of the coconut, a process which is often unsanitary. In order to make it fit for consumption, it must undergo harsh and extensive processing. High temperatures are used to extract and deodorize the oil, which causes severe nutritional degradation and alteration of the structure of the fats, and is then filtered through bleaching clays to sift out any impurities.

After that, it is processed with sodium hydroxide, or lye, to stabilize it and extend its shelf life. This stabilization process is necessary because the initial heating the oil undergoes ruins its natural ability to remain shelf-stable. Many modern production processes also involve the use of chemical solvents to gain higher oil yields. The main benefits of refined coconut oil are its relatively low price and ability to be mass-produced. Furthermore, it has an exceptionally high smoke point, which makes it ideal for frying.

Sometimes, the end product may be fully or partially hydrogenated to increase its melting point and keep it solid at normal ambient temperatures. This process produces harmful trans fatty acids which are now widely known to contribute to numerous health problems. However, you will almost never find hydrogenated coconut oil for sale on its own as it is mostly used to make baked goods, candy and other processed foods. While run-of-the-mill coconut oil is still a healthy food, harsh processing methods cause it to lose some of its beneficial properties. Because of this most people who purchase coconut oil for use in their home will want to avoid refined oil.

What is Organic Coconut Oil?

Organic coconut oil is pressed from the meat of coconuts that have undergone rigorous inspection by either a government or independent certification board and have been determined to be organic. The exact standards may vary depending on the country of origin, but the term is generally understood to mean that the coconuts were grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Many people believe that this makes a safer, healthier product. While some coconut plantations do use pesticides, it has been widely speculated that the pesticides are unable to reach the fruit due to the thick, fibrous hull it is surrounded by. However, it may still be possible for the chemicals to reach the coconut fruit through the plant’s root system.

The only difference between organic and non-organic coconut oils is how the coconuts were grown.

What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Virgin coconut oils are produced in two ways. The first method, which is used to produce most of the virgin oils available in stores, starts with fresh coconut meat that is mechanically pressed to remove the oil. The chief difference in this type of oil, besides the lack of a drying process, is that it undergoes no heating or chemical processing. Due to these superior processing methods, the end product is naturally shelf-stable and will stay fresh for up to two years. This oil is more natural and much healthier than the chemically refined oils that are more readily available. It is usually more expensive and, depending on where you live and shop, might only be found in health food or ethnic grocery stores.

The second method of producing virgin coconut oils is the traditional method that has been used for thousands of years and is considered to be the healthiest by far. It is a wet-milling process known as fermentation, but in this case, fermentation means that the coconut oil is naturally separated from the water by gravity. The process starts with coconut milk expelled from fresh coconuts that is allowed to sit for approximately 12 hours.

During this time, the water sinks to the bottom because it is the heaviest constituent of the milk. The coconut solids, also called ‘curd’, float to the top, leaving the pure, unadulterated coconut oil in the center. This oil is collected and gently heated for five to 15 minutes to get rid of any residual water content that could cause spoilage. Interestingly, this part of the process also helps to increase the product’s already high antioxidant levels. The end result is a superior-quality oil that still tastes and smells like coconuts. Oil produced using this method contains the maximum amount of nutrients and antioxidants compared to other coconut oils, but they are very expensive and can be difficult to find. However, there are numerous online stores that carry them.

What is Extra Virgin Coconut Oil?

Unlike with olive oils, there are currently no industry standards for extra virgin coconut oils. Some companies might do something special with their coconut oil that they label as extra virgin. However, since there is not industry standard, some unscrupulous companies will add the word ‘extra’ onto virgin oils to give the illusion of a superior product that commands a higher price.

What to Look For When Buying Coconut Oil

For a number of years many experts thought that coconut oil was bad for your health, but it has been making a steady comeback in recent years, and is now thought to boost your metabolism, help to curb aging, and increase the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Just like any other health product, there are good and bad options when it comes to buying the best oil. Below are some questions to ask when deciding on the right product to buy.