The amazing coconut is actually not a nut at all, but a fruit…yes, a fruit. It is classified as a fruit because of its fleshy outer layer and because it develops from the ovary wall of a flower. These fruits are known as drupes. Other examples of drupes are nectarines, pistachios, almonds, and mangoes.
Coconuts do not contain any protein (no matter what some coconut drinks say on the label), only a moderate amount of carbohydrates, and is made up of three kinds of fats, namely healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s). These fats are:
This fat composition makes it one of the healthiest fats on the earth, and one of the most beneficial
Just some of the benefits of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) are
- Very small amount stored as fat
- Because they are processed by the liver, MCFA’s are converted immediately to energy instead of being stored as fat (a great weight-loss food)
- Considering the above, it is the MCFA’s in the coconut that actually makes this food a superfood
MCT oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides, found in coconut and palm kernel oil. MCT oil contains 100% MCT’s, whereas coconut oil has 54%.
MCT’s are healthy saturated fat, known for important health benefits, most notably, improved cognitive function, weight loss, and heart health.
Coconut oil naturally contains MCT’s, so eating all coconut products along with the concentrated MCT oil will reap the following benefits.
Top 5 benefits to consuming MCT oil and coconut oil regularly:
- Weight Loss – Because MCFA’s are processed by the liver, the body uses MCFA’s as energy, and does not readily store it as fat. It has been known to help burn fat and calories, and decrease appetite along with belly fat.
- Improved cognitive function, particularly known to help Alzheimer’s patients – the ketones from coconut oil have been said to create an alternate source of energy that can help repair brain function. The MCFA’s are readily absorbed easily into the body and can be accessed in the brain without the use of insulin. They can then fuel brain cells more efficiently.
- Improved Heart Health – Coconut oil and MCT oil help to decrease cardiovascular disease and mortality risk by lowering the risk of obesity. This happens, most likely, because they are anti-inflammatory, easily used for energy, easy to digest, and satiating.
- May improve energy and mood – Since the brain is made up mostly of fatty acids, a steady supply is needed in order to feel your best, think clearly, and perform well at work. Your brain is largely made up of fatty acids, so you need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well, and maintain good cognitive function into old age. Supplying food for the brain, and helping the body absorb vitamins and minerals is a great reason why one feels more clear-headed, and energetic.
- Support digestion and nutrient absorption – Both MCT oil and coconut oil help to balance bacteria in the gut microbiota, which helps the body have a healthier digestive system and improves the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
So eat up.
Enjoy coconut oil in baked goods, sautéed foods, as well as in smoothies and fried foods. It is delicious as is, and can even be used on your skin for soft, glowing results. MCT oil can be used in any way olive oil is used. I particularly like it on my salads. Try it!