We know the word, but simply, antioxidants prevent oxidation, or, rusting from the inside out.
We know the word, but simply, antioxidants prevent oxidation, or, rusting from the inside out.
Fad foods come and go, but one substance that continues to gain traction is MCT oil. Look around in health stores today, and you’re likely to see multiple products raving that they contain this metabolism-boosting superfood.
But what is MCT oil, and will it make a difference for your health? Here are the things you need to know about MCT oil to decide whether you should add some to your diet.
More than just a buzzword in the health world, MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil is one of the most bioavailable forms of energy in the world today. These natural fat sources create ketones that generate thermogenic effects for your body.
The majority of oils come in three sizes of fatty acid chains: short, medium, and long. Medium chain fatty acids typically contain between 6 and 12 carbon chains. These oils are composed of fatty acids naturally contained within coconut and palm oils. However, coconut and palm oils also include longer chain triglycerides that aren’t considered to be as healthy because the molecules are often stored as fat because they take longer for your system to metabolize.
Most of us are familiar with thinking about saturated fats as forbidden foods. However, their bad rap isn’t entirely earned because saturated fats like MCTs have incredible benefits for your health. Thanks to how quickly they can be digested, MCT oils are almost immediately metabolized into energy.
Longer chain fats like butter, beef fat, olive oil, and unprocessed forms of palm oil and coconut oil are burned more slowly and typically stored as fat instead. For this reason, most MCT products in stores are purified extractions of one or both of these oils, ensuring that they contain only MCTs.
Thanks to its energy-boosting abilities, MCT oil is most typically used by those who want to lose weight or improve their athletic performance.
In many ways, MCTs act like carbohydrates because they provide with a quick energy source. Unlike carbs though, MCTs won’t raise your blood sugar or increase insulin levels.
The mitochondria might not get much attention, but this small cell part is responsible for producing all the energy needed for your tissues to function. MCTs are one of the most efficient ways to fuel the mitochondria because they can quickly cross through the double mitochondrial membrane without L-carnitine, an enzyme necessary for LCT absorption.
This process produces acetyl-coA, which breaks down into ketones within your body.
Your body fuels itself with two primary energy sources: glucose and ketones. Glucose comes from sugars, starches, and proteins that are metabolically processed into blood sugar. Most people predominately burn this fuel type because of how common carbs are in their diet.
In contrast, ketones are substances produced by the liver when it breaks down fat, and they are uniquely suited to fueling the brain. You are more likely to rely on ketones if you fast, go on a low-carb diet, or follow a moderate protein, high-fat diet.
The body can make ketones from its stored fat or from digesting MCTs, which is why this oil chain is considered so valuable.
If you follow a standard western diet, you probably aren’t getting an adequate amount of MCTs in your diet. This is because health nutritionists have long lead the public to believe that saturated fats should be avoided. However, recent research continues to reveal that these fats are far healthier than previously thought. Today, many nutritionists believe that saturated fats have benefits for your heart, brain, and waistline, especially if you eat them daily.
These substances both stabilize blood pressure and enhance your body’s energy production capabilities, making them a proven way to improve your metabolism, enhance cognitive function, and reduce inflammation.
Coconut oil and palm oil contain some of the best natural sources of MCTs, but you can find small amounts of this critical compound in a variety of foods, including goat’s milk, grass-fed butter or yogurt, and ghee.
Roughly 65 percent of the fats in coconut oil are MCTs, including concentrated caprylic, capric, lauric, and caproic acid with all the longer chain fatty acids removed.
Caproic Acid: As the smallest chain of MCT with just six carbon chains, caproic acid is only found in trace amounts of most food. This is a good thing, as too much can lead to digestive problems.
Caprylic Acid: Found in a 6% concentration is coconut oil, caprylic acid has 8 carbon chains and contains the most potent anti-microbial properties of MCTs.
Capric Acid: This 10-carbon chain MCT has potent anti-inflammatory properties and provides quick energy for cell mitochondria.
Lauric Acid: Making up roughly 50% of coconut oil fatty acids, lauric acid behaves similar to long-chain fatty acids and requires liver bile to be metabolized efficiently. Research shows that it acts as an anti-microbial, though capric and caprylic acid are more effective.
One fundamental difference between the functionality of coconut oil and concentrated MCT oil is that MCT oil has proportionally less lauric acid. This is because some of the compound are extracted out with MCT oils.
High-quality MCT oil has many unique features that are worth knowing about before you decide to use the compound for cooking or other uses.
Knowing that MCT oil is beneficial for your health and understanding the best way to take it are different matters. What are the best ways to take this clear, flavorless liquid? Here are things you need to know about MCT oil to ensure you’re using it right.
Thanks to its lack of flavor, MCT oil is impressively versatile in a variety of dishes, including the following.
Beyond consumption, there are plenty of other ways to take in the benefits of MCT oil. You can use the oil however coconut oil can be used, meaning that it can be a stellar ingredient in homemade lip balms, shaving creams, teeth whitening treatments, facial masks, and more.
Because commercially available MCT oils are often made from blends of both coconut and palm oils, they qualify as proprietary blends, meaning that the company doesn’t need to disclose the exact ratio of fats it contains. This makes it difficult to know precisely what MCTs are within your oil, and the proportions can vary considerably between brands. For this reason, the best strategy for you might be to experiment with several oil brands and try small samples until you find one that your body responds well to.
Don’t worry about believing the hype about MCT oil- this product really does have the potential to make a difference in your health and energy levels.
To get the best benefits for your body, seek out ways to add some MCT fatty acids to your diet each day. Whether that’s from adding a spoonful of coconut oil to your morning coffee or taking a teaspoon of concentrated MCT oil straight from the bottle, your brain will appreciate the quick, high-quality energy supply.
This article is not my own but from
A question was asked yesterday by a man with atrial fibrillation, if he could take fish oil while he is on blood thinners. My response was “yes” but with caution.
From Livestrong: Fish oil does thin the blood in similar ways to blood thinners, notes leading health and medical writer Jack Challem in his book, “The Inflammation Syndrome.” This effect happens through the prevention of the platelets found in blood from sticking together and forming clots. Challem adds that the blood-thinning effects may be magnified if you are taking natural blood-thinners, such as vitamin E or gingko. Therefore, it’s important to tell your doctor if you are taking fish oil.
From Heart MD: Modest amounts of fish oil, say 1–2 grams daily, generally can be tolerated even if you are taking prescription blood thinners. However, doing this is not without some risk—so it’s absolutely essential that you be up front with your doctor about the fish oil products you’re taking and how much, to avoid unsafe drug interactions. I cannot emphasize this enough. You must work collaboratively with your physician and regularly monitor the clotting agents in your blood.
Yesterday in the store it was a typical scenario; a woman experiencing hot flashes walked up to the women’s section and browsed all the supplements for menopause. Then she asked me “What is good for hot flashes? I sweat when it’s hot.”
I replied most people do, but after a bit more dialogue we got right to the main issue. She is 64 and has been sweating like this since she was 50.
I asked her if she knew what her hormone levels were and she said she did not.
I thought she needed to put the supplements down since she did not know if her irregular temperature was due to insufficient or elevated progesterone, insufficient or elevated estrogen, insufficient or elevated DHEA, cortisol, TSH, etc. A saliva test by a qualified health professional can determine this though insurance does not cover it. Generally it is $125 to $200.
I believe that if you don’t know what is causing hot flashes, start with food first. It is often more helpful and is cheaper than experimenting with pricey supplements for menopause control (although many are very beneficial when you know what hormone you are supporting).
When you think of inflammation, think “heat”. When you think of hot flashes, think “the body is trying to cool the heat”. When you think of foods to cool the body, think “Omega 3s”, such as salmon or fish oil and flax seed or flax seed oil.
Start with flax seed and grind what you need when ready for use. Use only 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed daily as it may cause bloating. Flax seed contains omega 3 fatty acids. These omega 3’s “put out the fire”
At the store, we sell whole flax seed for $1.99 for 13 ounces. Start there. You might even find your cholesterol levels have improved.
This, by far, has got to be my best keto treat yet. And it is so easy to make!
2 Heaping Tablespoons Extra Virgin, Cold-Pressed Unrefined Coconut Oil
1 Scoop (about 2 Heaping Tablespoons) Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (Pea Protein, Egg-White Protein or other Protein Powder of your choice is also good but I like the vanilla or you may choose chocolate)
1-2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (dark)
2 Tablespoons Grade B Pure Maple Syrup (Grade B is more expensive but has high nutritive value. Grade A is good for taste alone, but I want to make sure that whatever I do is high in nutrition.)
1 capful Chocolate Peppermint Extract
Sunflower Seeds (unsalted)
Let the coconut oil sit at room temperature until soft. If it is not soft and you don’t mind using a microwave for 10 seconds, that is fine as well.
Add the next four ingredients to the coconut oil and blend well, using a spoon, until it forms a thick paste.
Spread the mixture onto a paper plate (or flat plate with parchment paper) until thinly spread to cover as much area as you can, being careful to not spread so thinly you can see the plate.
Sprinkle with walnuts, chia seed, sunflower seeds and salt to lightly cover. There is no set amount but a guideline might be a tablespoon for nuts and seeds and 1/2 teaspoon for the salt.
Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove from freezer and cut like a tic-tac-toe board.
I learned about cardamom when a new Indian restaurant opened up in the neighborhood, and we had to check it out. Prior to that, I had not had Indian food (“I had been deprived of many cuisines growing up in an Italian household” she said, tongue-in-cheek).
When I first bit into my food, I tasted a burst of perfume on my tongue; I wasn’t loving it. After a few visits, the flavor of cardamom started to intrigue me but I wasn’t yet ready to experiment with it in any of my dishes I prepared at home.
I loved its fragrance in my nose but not on my tongue, so I experimented with perfume making and massage oils. After awhile, I was ready to try it in my own foods. The key to keeping from biting into the enormous burst of perfume taste in your mouth is to use very few pods at a time (unless you are a cardamom pro and have developed a taste already.) This is not a spice that requires several pods.
I recently learned that cardamom was more than just a fragrant spice. It has some nutritional benefits, quite a few in fact.
So, what is it? Cardamom is a spice that is in the Zingiberacaea family (the same family as ginger), and is found in hard-shelled pods. It is often called The Queen of Spices, and ranks as the third most expensive spice in the world, following saffron and vanilla pods. However, you can buy it in small quantities and use just a little at a time.
Cardamom, as previously stated, is a burst of perfume in your mouth, however, in small doses, the taste is hardly noticed. It is the aroma in the nose that compliments, but it is more than a fragrant spice used in Indian dishes. Its health benefits include preventing colorectal cancer, improvement of cardiovascular health, prevention of gastrointestinal disorders, as an anti-depressant, and has antispasmodic and antibacterial properties as well.
For all its benefits, including its wonderful aroma, I wanted to experiment on my own with this intriguing herb.Because I am on the keto diet (High fat – moderate protein – low carb), I often experiment with various good Omega-3 or 6 fats in various dishes. This morning, I made
Keto Chocolate Cardamom Fudge
2 Tablespoons Unrefined, Extra Virgin Cold-pressed Coconut Oil (left at room temperature so it mixes well but you can pop in microwave for 10 seconds if you like)
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter (without added sugar or salt)
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour (meal is okay)
2 Tablespoons Vegan Cream Cheese (I used this brand).
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
2 Packets of Pure Stevia (or erythritol)
4 Cardamom pods
Blend first seven ingredients by hand, using a fork or spoon. Stir until well-blended. Break open the 4 pods and sprinkle in your mixture. Stir throughout.
Scoop out 1 teaspoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls and put on a dish. Flatten with two fingers if you like, or just leave in a ball. Or, if you want to get fancy, you can put in a candy mold. (I didn’t get fancy this morning).
This mixture should give you about 10 balls/bars.
Add about 2 chopped walnuts to each bar (or you can grind your walnuts and sprinkle on top).
Pop in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Enjoy. (This is not a low-calorie food, however, because of its high fat content, one or two should satisfy you.)
While this looks like dessert, on a keto diet, you actually eat these first. One should fill you so you don’t overdo your regular meal. I can eat 2-3 for breakfast alone.
I love what the cardamom adds to this. If you are not sure about cardamom just yet, no worries, it isn’t essential to making keto fudge. You can leave it out but I’m an herbalist! I need herbs and love what they add to my creations.
Play around with it. Instead of chocolate powder, add a teaspoon of Golden Milk powder if you have it. Or you can add unsweetened coconut flakes instead of walnuts.
But if you do use cardamom, I’d love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.
Sesame seeds top flax seeds in lignan count – anti inflammatory and chemoprotective
I am new to the ketogenic diet so I’m having a lot of fun reading on it and experimenting with new ways to bake. Oh my goodness! Cream cheese is in so many recipes – it is becoming a staple.
The ketogenic diet is designed to help you burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Our bodies will burn carbs before they burn fat but fat is what we want to burn! When you eat carbohydrates, it triggers your pancreas to produce insulin in order to allow for glucose metabolism. When too much insulin is triggered, the body resists the insulin and insulin is then stored as fat while the carbs spill over into the urine and the bloodstream, not entering your cells to provide any nutrition. Fat does not trigger the pancreas so there is no insulin secreted; therefore the insulin cannot be stored as fat, and fat is used as the primary fuel source.
This is virtually a guilt-free plan and I can eat these cupcakes for lunch!
This recipe was tweaked just slightly to suit my taste and it came out delicious!
1 ¼ cup almond flour
¾ cup sugar substitute ( I used a stevia/erythritol blend)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 ½ ounces cream cheese
1 tbsp creamy almond butter (no sugar added)
1 tbsp maple syrup grade B
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl beat on high the butter and stevia or other sweetener until well blended.
Add cream cheese, vanilla and maple syrup and mix well. Then add the eggs. It is best to add one egg at a time then mix after each addition to make sure they are incorporated well.
Add the dry ingredients until well blended.
I used muffin cups but if you don’t have muffin cups be sure to grease your muffin pan well. Fill muffin cups almost to the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Pop out of the muffin pan when cooled – OR – if you used muffin cups – pop out of the pan and place in refrigerator to cool. These are best when cooled.
After 30 minutes take out of refrigerator and add a spoon of cream cheese to the top. (or use your favorite topping – whipped cream, preserves, yogurt and fruit, crushed walnuts, etc.) You can even substitute the vanilla for almond extract and add crushed nuts to the top instead of cream cheese.
Black pepper. Have you wondered much about what it is, where it comes from, what nutritional value it has? Most of us think of black pepper in the shaker or grinder and not much beyond that.
In fact, I remember the day I found out that ground black pepper actually came from peppercorns and I could crack them in the grinder. (It was a long time ago lol). I was in a restaurant and the waitress came to the table and asked if I wanted freshly cracked pepper. I looked at her with a blank stare as if to ask “what do you mean?” As she cracked the pepper over my salad, I could really taste and smell the freshness and was ruined for anything else.
Black pepper always seemed like salt’s tag-along buddy; salt being the more boisterous friend. But black pepper has some wonderful magic all its own.
The What and Where of Black Pepper
Black pepper comes from the Piperacae family (sounds like papparazzi – sorta), and is not at all like bell pepper, or sweet pepper, chili or jalapeno. In fact they aren’t even in the same botanical family. Black pepper comes from peppercorns; berries from the blossoms of a trailing, woody vine grown in tropical climates. Many years ago, black pepper was a sign of a man’s wealth.
An ounce of black pepper provides 79% of manganese, 57% of Vitamin K, 45% of iron, 30% fiber. Although an ounce is way more than we would have at one time, it provides perspective; a teaspoon of black pepper provides 6% of the total manganese we would need in a day.
But here is another fabulous black pepper fact – it has potassium – and I’ve been writing about potassium a lot lately because it is THAT important to our health. Potassium is responsible for improving our stomach’s ability to digest food. If you were to look at many supplements on the market, turmeric, for example, you would see that Piper nigrum or Piperine is added. That is black pepper. In fact, turmeric which has been touted as a giant superfood, may not be useful at all unless paired with black pepper, because it is not bioavailable, or absorbable. Black pepper or piperine, increases its absorption. The use of piperine can boost blood levels of curcumin from the spice turmeric by up to 2,000%. Source
Piperine also increases the body’s ability to absorb betacarotenes, selenium and B-vitamins (which, in black pepper means pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin), as well as other nutrients from food.
Black pepper is also a carminative; that is, it keeps the intestines from forming gas. And when black pepper is freshly cracked from the peppercorn, the outer layer of that pepper corn helps to break down fat stored in the body. Source
One study showed that black pepper inhibited the growth of various types of bacteria in the gut, and the report concluded its findings with a statement that black pepper is not only anti-inflammatory, but antioxidant, fever reducing, and immune enhancing.
The free-radical scavenging activity of black pepper and its active ingredients might be helpful in chemoprevention and controlling progression of tumor growth. Additionally, the key alkaloid components of Piper Nigrum, that is, piperine assist in cognitive brain functioning, boost nutrient’s absorption and improve gastrointestinal functionality. Source
Black pepper or piperine treatment has also been evidenced to lower lipid peroxidation in vivo and beneficially influence cellular thiol status, antioxidant molecules and antioxidant enzymes in a number of experimental situations of oxidative stress. The most far-reaching attribute of piperine has been its inhibitory influence on enzymatic drug biotransforming reactions in the liver. Source
Piperine had been reported to inhibit tumors formation in different experimental models. Many studies revealed the antitumor activity of piperine by the oral administration. The alcoholic extract of peppercorn and piperine exhibited effective immunomodulatory and antitumor activities. Piperine is also reported to reduce lung cancer by altering lipid peroxidation and by antioxidative protection enzymes activation Piperine has distinct pharmacological activities along with Anti-cancer activity. Source
Using Black Pepper for Weight Loss
Because black pepper has the ability to reduce fat in the body, and boost metabolism, you can add this to your healthy diet as you lose weight. Add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to boiling water, along with a little ginger, lemon and honey or stevia, and sip as a tea before breakfast.
To low sodium V8, add black pepper to enhance the absorption of all that good potassium.
Add to all your foods, including steak and eggs.
And now, for my favorite way to have black pepper:
|2 tablespoons salt||1 pound grass-fed beef or buffalo/bison strip loin||¼ cup peppercorns, crushed roughly||¼ cup butter|
|1 teaspoon tamari sauce (wheat-free)||2 tablespoons beef stock||2 tablespoons lemon juice|
This recipe makes 3 to 4 servings.
(From Dr. Mercola’s No-Grain Diet)
Enjoy black pepper in a whole new way!
Potassium doesn’t get the attention it needs, IMHO, and yet it is (also IMHO) one of the most important minerals our bodies need. Here is the reason: The human body needs 4700 mg per day in order to function in optimal health. We need potassium for heart health, kidney health, blood pressure support, weight maintenance, and more. Too low of potassium can cause fatigue and slow heart beat, muscle spasms and malfunction, kidney malfunction, severe dehydration, migraines, edema, and death. Too high potassium can cause rapid and irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, kidney malfunction and death.
Necessary for Brain Health and Reduction of Stroke Risk
Your nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. When you are low in potassium, your blood pressure rises and fluids don’t move “fluidly” around your cells, which, in the brain, means higher probability of severe headaches. Because it also protects your nervous system, water balance and heart function, potassium reduces your risk of stroke.
Necessary for Heart Health
Low potassium can cause muscle spasms and cramping. Because your heart is also a muscle, low potassium is responsible for many heart attacks. A diet rich in potassium will keep your muscles functioning properly and your heart beating regularly.
Necessary for Blood Pressure Maintenance You need 4700 mg but only 1500-1800 mg of sodium per day. High blood pressure often occurs because of the imbalance of the ratio between sodium and potassium; we get too little potassium and too much sodium. The average daily intake of sodium is just over 3000 mg per day. The average intake of potassium is 2,640 mg per day. Source
A single teaspoon of table salt has 2300 mg of salt. Combine that with any processed foods you eat, and sodium that is naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables, there is an upset in the average daily diet, ripe for high blood pressure. Source
Bone Health Potassium reduces bone absorption and is responsible for increasing bone strength.
Decreases Cellulite and Helps Maintain Desired Weight by keeping the fluids moving in the body.
So you see, it is extremely important to be monitoring how much potassium we take in daily. I know, it sounds like it’s just another thing to monitor but I have good news. Most of your other minerals are found in potassium rich foods so if you only watch your potassium levels daily, you will be getting most, if not all, of the other minerals your body needs, such as the all-important magnesium and calcium, boron, phosphorous and others.
Here is a list of the 25 Top Potassium-Rich Foods Source
For those of you on a Low-Carb Diet, or Sugar-Restricted diet, getting potassium from foods will be challenging, especially if you also are on a Paleo Diet, which restricts legumes and peanuts. Fear not! That’s why there are potassium-rich herbs.
Hibiscus – The American Heart Association reported that the blood pressure is lowered by the consumption of hibiscus tea. The study made by Odigie IP addresses that those people having the chances of cardiovascular disease and hypertension may be benefited by the hibiscus tea due to the presence of cardio-protective and anti-hypertensive properties. The research made at Tufts University in Boston summarizes that the anti-inflammatory properties in hibiscus tea helps to lower the blood pressure. Three cups of hibiscus tea should be consumed daily for few weeks to achieve the improvement. Due to the diuretic properties, the blood pressure is lowered by increasing urination. Those who drank 3 cups of hibiscus tea for 6 weeks found that the arterial blood pressure was decreased. The blood pressure would be effectively controlled if 8 ounces is drink 3 times per day regularly. Source
Hibiscus Tea also has 21 mg of potassium per tablespoon.
Anise Seed – 97 mg per tablespoon
Citrus Peel – 293 mg per tablespoon
Myrrh-C Tea has hibiscus, red rooibos, passionflower, anise seed, citrus peel, oatstraw, oats, cinnamon, and myrrh gum – formulated for my husband after he had a mild stroke and was put on Warfarin and could not take herbs due to contraindication. Myrrh-C tea is not contraindicated and is useful for blood pressure support.
Try including myrrh-c tea in your daily strategy of increasing potassium in your diet, while helping to maintain normal blood pressure. It sells for $10 per ounce plus S & H. Payable via paypal at email@example.com.
Be sure to specify Myrrh-C tea.