If you've scrolled any wellness hashtags on social media, you've likely seen trainers, chefs, bloggers and the occasional layperson stirring grass-fed butter or coconut oil into their morning lattes. The question is: WHY.
And we've got the answer: MCT oil. According to wellness buffs (and some doctors, yes), MCT oil has numerous health benefits, ranging from weight management to improved cognitive function. But let's back up for a minute, because, what exactly IS MCT oil?
MCT stands for "medium-chain triglycerides" (or medium-chain fatty acids) and they're a part of the average American diet that is missing, partially because there's been so much talk in the last few decades about low-fat foods. In reality, these easily digested fats can actually boost your body's metabolic performance and provide quicker energy.
Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, palm oil and full-fat yogurt contain MCTs, which is partially why you might have noticed butter-fueled concoctions becoming as ubiquitous as morning smoothies on health-focused restaurant menus. But adding a straight MCT oil to your morning Joe is a way to skip a step, and wellness gurus are touting those benefits we mentioned earlier.
So does it actually help? Here are three ways MCT oil can contribute to a healthy daily meal plan:
- MCT oil can support a good gut. And we mean that in two ways: a) According to proponents of the ketogenic diet, MCTs can help with managing weight because they're easily digestible and your body uses them as fuel, burning fat first; b) MCT oil's capacity to combat viruses, fungi and parasites helps your body maintain healthy gut flora—and a healthy gut=a healthy body.
- MCT oil can calm inflammation. The antioxidant properties of the MCTs can decrease inflammation in the body, the gut and the immune system. It's why coconut has long been used in folk medicine to treat some diseases, and why auto-immune protocol often relies on coconut to help the body recover.
- MCT oil can benefit brain health. Those same antioxidant properties can contribute to healthy brain function, more focus and more energy.
MCT oil is a seriously buzzy ingredient, with benefits that, we admit, would be nice to balance out our coffee habit. Plus, we know some saturated fats, avocado (toast) included, are great additions to a well-rounded diet. So, we'll raise a mug of MCT oil to that!