Why we should be including MCT Oil in our diets
Açaí, CBD, Chaga, and now MCT oil. It can definitely be tricky to stay up to date with all the new trends, concepts and names when it comes to health and wellness.
The MCT oil has been around for a while, but it has recently been on everyone’s lips much thanks to in-the-know health gurus, athletes and people suffering from brain related diseases such as epilepsy. This oil has many health benefits that can help us with everything from weight loss to reducing risk factors of heart disease. It is also easy to use and affordable.
WHAT IS MCT OIL?
MCT oil occurs naturally in coconut oil, which is what it is mostly made from (though it can also be found in palm kernel oil). It is made via a process called fractionation, which basically is extracting it from the coconut or palm kernel oil. It is therefore about 18 times more concentrated than pure coconut oil.
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, which talks about the length of the carbon atom chains, which in turn gives the oil its unique qualities. Saturated fats often consist of long chains; however, MCT has shorter chains since it is a medium-chain fatty acid. The chains that make up a medium-chain fatty acid consist of either 6 or 12 carbon atoms, and the main are:
- C6: caproic acid
- C8: caprylic acid
- C10: capric acid
- C12: lauric acid
However, C12, the lauric acid, does not have all of the unique health benefits as the other have and the C6, caproic acid, is normally not included due to its quite unpleasant smell and taste. Therefore, most MCT oils consist of either 100% C8, 100% C10 or a combination of the two.
Given the shorter chain length of the MCT oils, they can be absorbed and burned quicker than other types of oils in our bodies. It goes straight to our liver, and is therefore quicker converted into fuel. The MCT is hence used as an instant energy source and since the calories in the MCT oil are more efficiently burned by the body, they are less likely to be stored as fat. It takes about the same amount of time for our body to take up MCT oil as glucose, but without an insulin increase.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS
When our bodies burn the MCT oil, it turns it into ketones. Ketones helps signalize to our brain to burn fat from our fat storages instead of taking energy from our muscles. Hence, the MCT oil helps our bodies to stay in ketosis and increase the body’s ability to burn fat and calories. Studies has also shown that MCT stimulates and increases two hormones that help reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Therefore, MCT oil is perfect to use for weight loss and weight management.
Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Brain Function
In addition, research has shown that people suffering from epilepsy may be able to reduce, and even get rid of, the seizures thanks to a ketogenic diet (this especially apply for kids). So, since MCT oil helps the body to produce ketones (which is an alternative energy source for our brain), it helps improve brain function in people following a ketogenic diet. Hence, give it a try if you are suffering from epilepsy.
Moreover, it is also said to improve our cognitive functions, such as boost our concentration, improve our memory and help us better focus. MCT oil has the ability to protect and boost our brain with fuel, which is claimed to may help prevent and manage cognitive related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and autism. Someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s isn’t able to use glucose as efficiently as brain fuel, which means that MCT oil could help manage the disease because of the increase of ketones.
More Health Benefits
MCT oil also supports our gut health and promotes an increase of healthy bacteria, which in turn aids our digestion and uptake of nutrients. The oil also supports our immune system and helps fighting against infections thanks to its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal qualities. Furthermore, the MCT oil has shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and prevent the development of metabolic syndrome since this type of fat is so easy for the body to use as fuel, it is anti-inflammatory and also increase our metabolism. In addition, it also aids the uptake of vitamin E, magnesium and calcium, and it also helps to balance our blood sugar.
INCLUDING MCT OIL IN OUR DIETS
Since the MCT oil is transparent and free from any scent or taste, it is very convenient to use in your food (and there is hence really no excuse not taking it since you won’t even notice it). Add some to a smoothie (you won’t even notice it is there) or a teaspoon to your coffee or superfood latte. Start with one teaspoon and gradually increase the amount to up to two tablespoons. You can also use it in a salad dressing, when baking and even for cooking (the oil can handle up to 160 degrees Celsius).
Below are two recipes with the MCT oil that are quick, simple and delicious. Try to make a habit of always adding a little bit of this super oil to your food, or just take a spoon with it as it is. Remember to be consistent and try it out for at least some weeks in order to experience the benefits of the MCT oil!
1. “Bulletproof” Turmeric & Cardamom Latte
– 6 dl almond milk
– 3 tsp turmeric
– ½ tsp grounded cardamom
– ½ tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
– 1 pitted date
– A pinch of sea salt
– 2 tsp MCT oil
- Heat the almond milk and let it simmer for a few minutes
- Pour it in a blender together with all other ingredients except the MCT oil.
- Mix everything together.
- Pour the liquid in a cup and strain it to get rid of the date and pieces of ginger.
- Add the MCT oil and mix/stir a little with a spoon.
2. MCT Dressing
– 1 tbsp MCT oil
– 1 dl rapeseed oil
– 1 tbsp water
– 2 tsp mustard
– 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
– 1 clove garlic
– A pinch of salt
– A pinch of black pepper
– A pinch of fresh parsley
- Chop the parsley and the garlic into small pieces.
- Add them to a bowl with the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Serve on a salad or use as a marinade for chicken or fish.