A to Z of MCTs- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

In the quest for holistic health and well-being, many of you might have often come across buzzwords like ‘free radicals,’ ‘cholesterol,’ and ‘MCTs’. These terms can be confusing, but understanding their roles in our bodies is vital. Let’s start with free radicals, those molecular troublemakers. Imagine a molecule with an unstable outer shell, equipped with only one electron instead of the usual pair.

This instability compels the molecule to seek out healthy counterparts and steal electrons, rendering them unstable as well. This chain reaction wreaks havoc within our bodies by creating various unstable cells. healthy body, armed with antioxidants and aided by exercise, can fend off these free radicals. However, certain factors exacerbate the production of free radicals in our body including bad lifestyle habits, alcohol abuse, smoking, tobacco etc wherein even antioxidant-rich diets can’t always counteract the damage. Environmental factors like hair dyes, cosmetics, and refined oils also contribute in these scenarios, leading to inflammation.

While antioxidants can neutralise some free radicals, they can’t tackle them all. The nucleus and DNA of cells may suffer damage, leading to changes in the cell’s genetic make-up and even cell apoptosis (cell death). We all know about the mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of our cells, which plays a pivotal role in the battle against free radicals. They produce ATP, the energy currency of cells, and release water and CO2 as by-products. However, during the process, they also generate free radicals. As we age, contend with heart disease, or face candida overgrowth, our bodies produce more free radicals. These molecules contribute to cellular membrane damage and increased inflammation.

MCTs to the Rescue

Now, changing one’s lifestyle and removing the bad habits or free radicals causing triggers is very important but there’s one more superfood, which comes to our rescue. That is Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil and ghee, which possess a unique ability to repair cell membranes. Let’s picture the formation of plaque in arteries. This occurs when arteries are damaged, typically as a result of inflammation. Bad stomach bacteria or viral attacks can bruise arteries, making them susceptible to plaque formation. Platelets, cholesterol, and calcium rush to the injured site to mend the damage. However, inflammation persists if viruses, toxins, or bacteria are still present. As mentioned earlier, lifestyle changes and exercise play a significant role in maintaining heart health by reducing inflammation. However, introducing MCTs into your diet can complement these efforts.

Uniquely Effective

MCTs, abundant in coconut oil, have been consumed for generations in Pacific and tropical regions; most South Indian meals are made with the same. What sets MCTs apart is that they don’t require the pancreas for digestion. This means they can directly provide energy to cells, even in the presence of diseases like H. pylori or herpes. MCTs can be particularly beneficial for those with high triglycerides, which often result from a sedentary lifestyle and a high-carb diet.

These healthy fats also boost liver function and metabolism, aiding in weight loss and thyroid regulation. Unlike refined oils that can suppress the thyroid gland, MCTs increase the production of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Individuals with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis may find relief by using coconut oil instead of lotions. Although it might temporarily exacerbate the issue, MCTs can ultimately help the skin produce more fatty acids. Even those with oily skin can benefit from MCTs. Incorporating ghee or coconut oil into their diet can regulate sebaceous gland activity, reducing excess oil production.

Fitness enthusiasts might be familiar with the concept of bulletproof coffee, which combines coffee with MCTs. However, this trend has received mixed reviews. A more effective approach involves consuming one tablespoon of coconut oil or a piece of fruit with a tablespoon of coconut oil about 30 minutes before a workout. This strategy prevents a rise in triglyceride levels that can occur when MCTs are consumed without exercise.

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