Most of us are now familiar with omega-3 fatty acids. Whether from fatty fish like salmon, chia seeds,walnuts or a fish oil supplement, getting enough in our diets can help lower inflammation, sreduce risk of heart attack, as well as improve mood, brain function & memory. However, MCTs, or medium chain triglycerides, seem to be the new kid on the block when it comes to healthy fats. Let’s discuss how both can complement your supplement routine in a bit more detail
These are defined as essential fatty acids because they cannot be made by our body– we need to get them from outside sources. Fatty acids are the important building-blocks of our cell walls (think of it as creating a screen door to allow just the right amount of good stuff in & out of the cell). Specifically, two active types of omega-3s, namely EPA & DHA have been largely found to contain the most benefit. They help to balance our immune system by controlling the signals that create allergies and asthma. They are also responsible for reducing pain due to inflammation that can be seen in arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune conditions. Did I mention they help to keep your cardiovascular system healthy and even as little at 200mg a day can reduce your risk of a fatal heart attack?
How do we get enough?
The problem with omega-3s is simply that getting enough from food alone is difficult. For the greatest impact on overall inflammation, most people should be getting at least 1000mg per day (keep in mind, this the total amount of active omega 3s, also known as EPA & DHA). If you want to support your diet with omega-3 rich options, here are some of the best sources:
SOURCE Amount of omega-3s (EPA + DHA)
Salmon, 3oz 1500mg
Chia seeds, 2 tbsp 450mg
Walnuts, 20 halves, 250mg
Fish oil*, 1 serving 500-1500mg
As you can see, getting enough omega-3s from food alone can be a bit of a challenge. Balancing out a healthy diet with a liquid or encapsulated pure fish oil can make all the difference. Be sure to choose formulas that are tested for heavy metals and are sourced from smaller fish.
MCTs- the new fat in town
Medium chain triglycerides are simply a fancy way of saying ‘medium sized fat’ molecules. Although they are technically a type of saturated fat, they are unqiue because they are easily absorbed in the digestive system (they do not need to be broken down by your body’s enzymes like other fats). As a result, they are used quickly for energy and not stored for later use. This means better metabolism, cogntive function and hormone balance.
Coconut oil vs. MCTs
Coconut oil is a an excellent source of MCTs (about 65% of coconut oil is made of this type of fat). However, more recently, manufacturers have extracted just the MCT portion and made it more effective to get at higher doses daily. Both are components of a healthy diet, but MCT oils are more concentrated– especially if you’re looking for more energy, fat loss or are following a ketogenic lifestyle. Why not try adding a tsp of MCT to your next coffee or morning smoothie and see how your body feels! Goodness Me has a wide variety to choose from.
In summary, we can all benefit from adding more healthy fats into our daily diets. Whether in food or supplement form, keeping our bodies at their best requires more anti-inflammatory omega-3s as well as easily digestible MCTs on a regular basis– why not make the commitment to add more to your diet today!