Although we tend to shy away from the use of fat in our diets, when used in moderation, some forms of it are actually good for us and should be included for wholesome, well-balanced nutrition. Medium chain triglyceride (MCT), also referred to as medium chain fatty acid, is one of those fats. Easily absorbed by the body, MCTs have many health benefits, including anti-aging properties, increased energy production and immunity defense.
Found naturally in foods that contain animal and vegetable fats, MCTs are also available as a dietary supplement. According to Ward Dean, MD and Jim English of Nutrition Review, MCTs are used primarily as an instant energy source by organs and muscles in the body, rather than being stored as fat. Read below for some of the best sources of MCT to include in your daily meals.
Butter: In the book Nourishing Traditions, authors Sally Fallon and May G. Enig, PhD state that fresh butter is one of the best sources of fat and medium chain triglycerides because they can be used quickly by the human body for energy and have both antifungal and antitumor properties.
Palm kernel oil: As one of the richest all-natural sources of MCT, palm kernel oil and other palm oil derivatives are used as a healthy additive to a variety of foods, including soup mixes and canned goods, according to the American Palm Oil Council (APOC). Palm kernel oil is obtained from the kernel of the palm fruit and can be broken down into two components: palm kernel olein and palm kernel stearin. Palm kernel olein is the liquid component of the oil, while the latter is the solid portion of the palm kernel oil produced during the fractionation process. According to the APOC, palm kernel oil is a healthier alternative to partially hydrogenated oils because it is cholesterol-free and rich in antioxidants.
Coconut oil: Derived from coconuts, this oil is said to have many health benefits. A 2003 study published in the journal Obesity proved men who consumed MCTs from sources like coconut oil burned more calories than those who eat long chain triglycerides that come from olive oil. The reason for this may be because MCTs are more easily digested by the body and used for energy.
Written by John C. Lehner