By now, we’ve all heard of MCTs. Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are healthy fats that have been shown to have numerous benefits for the body, from improving cognitive function to increasing energy levels and even supporting healthy weight loss.
And the best part? Delicious foods with medium-chain triglycerides are likely already in your kitchen! Let’s explore the best foods to incorporate into your diet to reap the benefits of MCTs and how they can help you achieve your health goals.
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Are Foods with Medium-Chain Triglycerides Good for You?
The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, incorporating MCT-rich foods into your diet can provide numerous health benefits, from increasing your energy and focus to helping you manage your weight. Here’s why!
MCTs are a type of fat that is metabolized differently from other types of fats. Instead of being stored in your body as fat, medium-chain triglycerides are quickly converted to ketones, which are a source of energy for the brain and body.
This unique metabolic process is what makes MCTs so beneficial for your health! In the following sections, we’ll explore some of the best foods with medium-chain triglycerides that you can easily incorporate into your diet, even if you follow a ketogenic diet or eat only plant-based foods!
What Foods Have Medium-Chain Triglycerides?
Now that you know how beneficial MCTs can be for your health, let’s take a look at some of the best foods with medium-chain triglycerides to get more of these healthy fats on a daily basis.
Coconut products are one of the best food sources of medium-chain triglycerides. Coconut oil, in particular, is a rich source of MCTs, with about 60% of its fatty acids consisting of MCTs. Coconut oil is easy to incorporate into cooking and baking, or it can be used as a spread.
Palm Kernel Oil
Palm kernel oil is another rich source of MCTs, with about 50% of its fatty acids consisting of MCTs. It is commonly used in the food industry for its stability and texture.
Yes, you read that right! Butter, especially grass-fed butter, is a good source of MCTs. It is also rich in fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
Cheese is another food that contains MCTs. Harder cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and gouda tend to have more MCTs than softer cheeses and other dairy products.
Grass-fed, whole cow’s milk contains small amounts of MCTs, with about 10% of its fatty acids consisting of MCTs. However, if you’re looking to add even more MCTs to your diet, coconut milk and almond milk can be richer in MCTs than cow’s milk, so it might be worth making the switch!
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is a good source of MCTs. It also contains probiotics that can help to improve digestion and boost the immune system.
Dark chocolate contains a decent amount of MCTs, with about 15% of its fatty acids consisting of MCTs. Just make sure to choose chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids to reap the most health benefits.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and chia seeds are good sources of MCTs. They also provide important nutrients, like fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
Goat milk is a surprisingly good source of MCTs, with about 15% of its fatty acids consisting of MCTs. For some, it’s also easier to digest than cow’s milk.
What’s the Best Inexpensive Source of MCT?
So, what’s the best inexpensive source of MCTs? Coconut oil is the best food source of MCTs, and it’s readily available and affordable at most grocery stores. It contains 42% lauric acid, 7% caprylic acid, and 5% capric acid. Be sure to choose organic, cold-pressed, unrefined virgin coconut oil to reap the most health benefits.
How to Incorporate MCT-Rich Foods Into Your Diet
Now that you know which foods are rich in MCTs, let’s explore some easy and tasty ideas for getting more MCT-rich foods into your meals:
- Cook with Coconut Oil: One of the easiest ways to incorporate MCT-rich foods into your diet is to cook with coconut oil. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for stir-frying and sauteing. It can even be used as a replacement for butter and vegetable oil in baking recipes.
- Choose Salad Dressings Made with MCT-Rich Oils: Look for salad dressings made from oils that are rich in medium-chain triglycerides, such as nut and seed oils, coconut oil, or palm kernel oil.
- Snack on Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are not only a good source of MCTs, they’re also a great source of protein and other healthy fats.
- Stir Coconut Oil Into Your Morning Coffee: Coconut oil is a popular addition to coffee for a natural boost of energy and mental clarity. Simply add a teaspoonful to your coffee and blend for an irresistible, frothy, and creamy texture.
- Incorporate MCT-Rich Foods into Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to pack in a variety of nutrients, including MCTs. Add coconut milk, chia seeds, a small handful of nuts, or a teaspoonful of coconut oil to a fruit smoothie for a healthy and satisfying breakfast.
Incorporating MCT-rich foods into your diet doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. With these easy and tasty ideas, you can enjoy the benefits of these healthy fats on a daily basis without making any major changes to your diet or spending a lot of money.
Using Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) Supplements
While incorporating foods with medium-chain triglycerides into your diet is a great way to increase your intake of these healthy fats, you can also use MCT supplements like MCT oil and MCT powder anytime you’re looking for a more convenient or on-the-go option, or simply want to get a concentrated dose of MCTs for energy.
MCT oil is the most popular MCT supplement, and it’s easy to add to coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, and other foods. It’s derived from coconut or palm kernel oil and provides a concentrated source of MCTs in a flavorless, odorless oil that’s easy to incorporate into a variety of foods.
MCT powder is another popular supplement that is made by spray-drying MCT oil into a powder form. It’s also a convenient way to get a concentrated dose of MCTs without the added calories of oil. It can be stirred into many of the same foods as MCT oil or even used as a replacement for flour in some recipes.
When choosing MCT supplements, it’s important to look for high-quality products that are free from additives and fillers. Look for products that contain at least 70% MCTs and are derived from organic, non-GMO sources, and always follow the dosage recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
FAQs: What to Know About Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
Now, let’s cover some of the most commonly asked questions about medium-chain triglycerides to help you make the most informed decisions about incorporating MCTs into your diet.
What are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)?
MCTs are a type of saturated fat that are shorter in length than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which are the most common type of fat in the Western diet. MCTs are easily digested and absorbed by the body and are quickly converted into energy in the liver.
What are the Health Benefits of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)?
MCTs have been shown to have several health benefits, including improved cognitive function, increased energy and endurance, and potential weight loss. They may also have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and may improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels.
Do MCTs Have Any Adverse Effects?
While MCTs are generally considered safe, overdoing it with MCT supplements can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloating. It’s best to start with small amounts and gradually increase your intake to avoid adverse effects.
Is Coconut Oil a Pure MCT?
Coconut oil is a good source of MCTs, but it’s not a pure MCT. It contains a combination of MCTs and LCTs, with the majority of the MCTs in the form of lauric acid. Pure MCT oil is made from refined coconut oil using a process that strips out the long-chain triglycerides and leaves behind only the medium-chain fats.
What’s the Difference Between Medium and Long-Chain Triglycerides?
The main difference between medium and long-chain triglycerides is their length. MCTs have 6-12 carbon atoms, while LCTs have 14 or more. This difference in length affects how quickly the body digests and metabolizes fats, with MCTs being quickly converted into energy and LCTs being stored in the body as fat.
Should You Be Prioritizing Medium Chain Triglycerides in Your Diet?
Prioritizing medium-chain triglycerides in your diet can have numerous health benefits, including improved cognitive function, increased energy, and potential weight loss. And, they’re easy to find in foods like coconut oil, dairy products, nuts, and seeds, as well as MCT oil and powder.
While MCT supplements are generally considered safe, it’s important to start with small amounts and gradually increase your intake over time to avoid digestive issues. It’s also important to remember that MCTs are just one piece of a healthy diet.
Prioritizing MCTs in the diet can be a healthy choice for most people, but it’s not necessary to go overboard. Including a variety of healthy fats, protein, fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet is essential for overall health. And, as always, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or supplement routine.