Ask A Practitioner: What’s So Great About Coconut Oil?

Join every week for a Q&A session with one of Basmati’s practitioners, Melissa Hill (FDN-P)! We know that there is a lot of confusing information out there, which can make applying health advice overwhelming.  Sometimes, it’s best to ask a practitioner directly, so each week we’ll cover a common health question!

Do you have a health question you’d like to ask? Write to us at editors [at] basmati [dot] com () and your question could be chosen and featured in a future column!

Q. What’s so great about coconut oil? How can I use it?

A. Coconut oil contains what are called medium chain fatty acids, also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short). These medium chain fatty acids are different from the more common longer chain fatty acids found in other plant-based oils. Most vegetable oils are composed of longer chain fatty acids, or triglycerides which are typically stored in the body as fat, whereas MCTs are capable of being used for immediate energy and burn up quickly in the body.  Like adding kindling to a fire, rather than a big, damp log.
Coconut oil is 92% saturated fat, with two-thirds of it coming in medium chain fatty acids form, making it nature’s richest source of MCTs. The body is able to quickly metabolize this type of fatty acid in the form of energy. These MCTs also raise the body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss, and have numerous other health-giving properties as well. For example, the most predominant MCT in coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid is one of the most powerful components of coconut oil, which is recognized for its strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

There have been many studies done showing the positive impact of virgin coconut oil on:

  • Improving lipid profiles, increasing HDL, and lowering levels of LDL
  • improving or reversing Alzheimer’s
  • improving skin conditions
  • fighting candida overgrowth
  • killing many bacteria and viruses
  • providing peak energy for performance
  • promoting weight loss while preserving muscle mass
  • improving type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • nourishing hair and skin

Beyond its potential major health benefits, coconut oil also has great everyday uses like:

Skin Application 

Topical application of oil is an amazing solution for young, beautiful, flawless skin. In addition to being a great moisturizer, it helps to nourish and heal your skin, and its antibacterial properties can be an effective treatment for acne. Additionally, its cooling properties can help reduce skin irritations. Coconut oil’s antioxidant properties also serve as natural protection from sun damage and free radicals. 

It is also a great choice because it’s all-natural! No hidden chemical ingredients to worry about! Try using it as the base to replace many of your personal care products by making them yourself with coconut oil.

Pre-wash Hair Conditioner 

For healthier and smoother hair, use coconut oil as a natural pre-wash hair conditioner. It can help treat dry scalp, reduce dandruff, promote stronger hair, and help hair retain its natural moisture.  Simply rub a small amount of coconut oil into your dry scalp and leave it on for about 5 minutes (or more) before rinsing. Your dry and dull hair will now be softer and silkier with a healthier scalp.

Dental Health

Because of its anti-microbial properties, coconut oil can be used as a base for homemade toothpaste, or use it in oil puling to break up plaque and pull out accumulated toxins. 


Because of its ability to withstand high heat, coconut oil is a must-have ingredient in the kitchen. Unlike other vegetable oils, coconut oil maintains its structure even at high heat, which means no oxidation and rancidity, making it perfect for high-heat cooking. Try it for sautéing veggies, roasting, and baking. Coconut oil can improve the flavor of most foods, especially chicken, fish, and vegetables. Coconut oil can be a tasty, essential part of your healthy diet.

Be sure to look into the type of coconut oil you are buying and consider how it was processed and refined to choose the kind best suited for your needs. You can read about the properties and benefits of the different types here