Some years ago, coconut oil used to receive flak. It was the culprit behind high blood pressure, heart diseases and other cardiovascular problems. Because commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached or deodorized, it has already lost most of its nutritive properties, making it an "unhealthy oil" that is high in trans fats. This view still persists up to this day.

While warranted, this perception is not entirely true. Virgin coconut oil or VCO is a very healthy oil that provides a lot of immense health benefits. Dr. Conrado Dayrit, one of the pioneers of the study of the effects of VCO in the Philippines, shows that it is, in fact, a "drugstore in a bottle." Not only was it found effective in reducing the viral load of patients with HIV, it has also been found effective in the treatment of other infections like psoriasis, flu, cancer and other degenerative conditions.

Virgin coconut oil is fresh-pressed from coconut meat. It does not undergo any processing so its natural components remain unchanged. In the colorless, pure and fresh VCO are medium chain triglycerides or MCTs which makes it easily digestible. Bile is not needed to digest VCO and since it is rapidly assimilated in the body, the metabolic rate and energy levels rise. This results to having more calories burned. Thus, if you are on the road to losing weight, using VCO for your cooking needs will get you there faster. It is even better compared to using oils from safflower or canola which have long chain triglycerides or LCT. Because medium chain triglycerides increases energy expenditure and depresses food intake, it is a natural weight loss aid.

Lauric and caprilic acids are the types of medium chain triglycerides found in virgin coconut oil. These have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties that are essential to disease treatment and prevention. In fact, in the study conducted from 1999 to 2000 by Dr. Dayrit in patients afflicted with HIV at the San Lazaro Hospital in Metro Manila, Philippines, the viral load of patients was shown to be significantly reduced with regular intake of VCO. Aside from its benefits to HIV, VCO has also been shown to be effective in fighting strep, herpes, parasitic and yeast infections. Candida albicans is a fungus that lives in an individual's digestive tract. Varieties which have been shown to be resistant to current pharmacological medications have shown positive response to VCO.

The benefits of virgin coconut oil also extend to giving individuals lustrous skin and hair. A little application of VCO daily prevents wrinkles. Instead of using lotions that are full of synthetic ingredients, VCO can also be applied liberally to the skin to prevent it from drying or chafing. VCO is also effective in the treatment of dandruff, cradle cap in babies and generally itchy scalp. It also improves the condition of the hair.

In the United States, VCO is available in most health food stores. You can also order it online. If the taste is too "oily" for you, you can simply use it in your day-to-day cooking, adding small amounts to your recipes. If taste is not an issue, you can consume one to three tablespoons a day.

If you are serious about nutrition, be sure to check out a Vitamix juicer, there are lots of amazing Vita Mix recipes that are super nutritious.

Author's Bio: 

Proud mother of 2 lovely girls, world traveler, and natural health advocate.