If you are eating a modern Western diet, chances are, you’re not getting enough healthy fats. Nowadays, most people are eating fast food, junk food, and processed food. These foods are rich in oils and fats (the unhealthy kind). The healthy fats, which help the body function properly, are found in foods such as coconuts, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fish. Read more to learn about the health benefits of MCT oil.
What is MCT Oil?
Another source of healthy fats is MCT oil. MCTs or Medium-Chain Triglycerides, are a type of fatty acid that consist of 6 to 12 carbon atoms in length. There are four kinds of MCTs – caproic acid: 6 carbons (C6), caprylic acid: 8 carbons (C8), capric acid: 10 carbons (C10), and lauric acid: 12 carbons (C12).
MCTs are very easy to break down and be used for fuel by the body. There are natural and synthetic sources of MCT oils. Natural MCTs come from coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy fats. You can also get MCTs from foods such as cheese, butter, milk, and yogurt.
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
• Can Help with Weight Loss
Compared to other types of oils, MCTs have a positive effect on burning fat and weight reduction. As part of a healthy diet, they can increase satiety (making you feel full for longer) and raise the metabolic rate at which your body functions.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2001 compared body weight and fat in groups of adults consuming long chain fats or medium chain fats over a 12-week period. The carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes didn’t differ significantly between the groups, only the types of fats they were consuming. After 12 weeks, the reduction in body fat and body weight was greater in the MCT group than in the LCT group. This suggests that MCTs may help people who want to lose weight.
Experiments demonstrate that MCTs can suppress deposition of fat through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation. It is believed that they help in producing ketones, which gives the same benefits of a ketogenic diet, without the need to cut carbohydrates to drastically low levels. MCTs are called the ultimate ketogenic fats due to their heating effect in the body and ability to be used for energy quickly.
• Promotes Heart Health
MCTs have the potential to aid in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. A study published by The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consumption of MCTs for 8 weeks resulted in a 14% decrease in blood triglyceride levels, (a common marker of cardiovascular disease) in hypertriglyceridemic patients. Another benefit of MCTs is that they can moderately reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol.
Furthermore, a study published in 2010 by The Journal of Neutraceuticals and Functional Foods showed that MCTs might help prevent the development of metabolic syndrome (a term given to metabolic disorders such as dyslipidemia, abdominal obesity, and impaired fasting glucose levels). MCTs appear to lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease by helping lower the odds of becoming obese. This is because they are easy to digest, satiating, anti-inflammatory, and easily used for energy.
• Helps Improve Digestion
MCT oil is beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut and improving digestive symptoms. MCTs also have antiviral and antibacterial properties, killing pathogens that cause digestive issues like diarrhea, food poisoning, and stomach aches. They promote a healthy gut environment by protecting it against harmful microorganisms.
MCTs also help in the absorption of nutrients found in various foods. These include beta-carotene, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, lutein, and vitamin E. Even if you eat a healthy diet but do not get enough healthy fats at the same time, your body cannot utilize nutrients fully. Aside from improving digestion, MCT oil also helps in nutrient absorption.
• Increases Energy Levels
Fatty acids have numerous benefits; they help you think clearly, stay sharp, and perform well at work. MCTs are one of the most easily digested and utilized fatty acids that exist. A study published in The Journal of Neurobiology of Aging found that MCTs helped improve memory problems in older people, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Besides aiding in brain function, MCT oil also improves gut health, which is connected to cognitive functioning due to the so-called gut-brain connection. It helps you better absorb vitamins and minerals so you will be more clear-headed, energetic, and positive-thinking.
If you want to try MCT oil, start off slowly. Start with half a teaspoon per day to test how your body will respond to it. Then, work your way up to one tablespoon per day. You can also use MCT oil topically; it is great for the hair and skin. But most of all, you can incorporate MCT oil into your diet by adding it to bulletproof coffee, smoothies, shakes, yogurt, and salads! Go here if you’d like to try some quality organic MCT oil.