What are MCT’s and Why You Should Embrace Healthy Plant Fats
Although the consumption of fat has been controversial in years past, the latest research is showing the right kinds of fat are essential for optimal health. Fat is a macronutrient, a substance required in relatively large amounts in the human diet to help us survive and thrive. Our dairy-free yogurts embrace plant fats like MCT’s and for good reason.
Why We Use Nourishing Plant Fats
We use nourishing, dairy-free fats like coconut and Pili nuts. Pili nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS), which can help to increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol in the body, while coconut is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTS). These fats have a shorter structure than other fat sources, so they are quickly absorbed by the body.
This quickly absorbed fat helps promote satiety and can help prevent fat storage.
Allison Koch, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Board Certified Sports Dietitian says, “Both MUFAs and MCTs may assist with satiety – or that feeling of fullness. What’s more, when consumed in moderation and as part of a healthy diet, research has suggested that both types of fat may also contribute cardiovascular, cognitive and metabolic benefits.”
Our sprouted Pili nuts and organic coconut are naturally rich in fat with a mix of both monounsaturated and saturated fats. Although saturated fats have gotten a bad reputation, nutrition research continues to debunk the harmful effects of saturated fats from plants. Prior studies have lumped all sources of saturated fats together to evaluate the role of saturated fat on the body. This includes saturated fats from animal-based products like red or processed meats in comparison to plant-based sources like nuts. However, when analyses look at only saturated fats from plant sources, they do not show the same negative effects on heart and overall health, like animal-based saturated fats do.
Koch goes on to say, “Back in the 1960s, it was suggested that saturated fat in food was linked to higher rates of cardiovascular disease and so it was vilified and the food industry responded with low fat, high carbohydrate diets becoming all the rage, but nutrition scientists have discovered that not all fats are created equal and so recommendations are starting to favor identifying the specific source of fat as being more important as long as it is within the context of a healthful and balanced diet as a whole.”
May Zhu, MBA, RDN, LDN of Nutrition Happens further explains, “We know that monounsaturated fats, such as the oleic acid found in Pili nuts can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol to reduce the risk for heart disease.” She goes on to remind us, “While there is promising research and data on how plant-based sources of saturated fats may prove to be beneficial, it’s also important to consider your overall diet and intake and practice moderation in all areas. Remember that there are other lifestyle factors to consider too when it comes to reducing the risk for heart disease such as exercise, sleep and whether or not someone smokes. These lifestyle factors may not have been accounted for in the previous research conducted on the correlation between saturated fats and heart disease, which is why newer research may contain better insights to support choosing plant-based versus animal fats. It’s also important to remember that in choosing plant fats, you’re also getting other important nutrients, such as the fiber found in nuts and seeds and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in chia seeds and walnuts, to support brain health.”
The type of saturated fats primarily found in our dairy-free yogurts are MCTS, which is easily digested and are believed to support a healthy metabolism since the body burns these as energy instead of storing them as fat. MCT’s are also thought to support a healthy gut and combat harmful bacteria and other viruses.
How You Can Incorporate More Plant Fats
Besides coconut and Pili nuts, other examples of quality dairy-free fats include:
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Nuts like Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and walnuts
- Olives and olive oil
- Seeds like chia seeds and flax seeds
If you are looking for ways to incorporate more of the right kind of plant fats in your daily diet, we’ve got you covered:
- Add half of an avocado to your breakfast omelet or lunchtime salad.
- Eat a serving of a dairy-free yogurt that already contains quality dairy-free fats and top with your favorite nut or nut butte.
- Keep sources of plant fats like nuts, seeds and unsweetened shredded coconut in your bag, car counsel or desk drawer so you have quick and easy access to a satiating and satisfying snack even on the busiest of days.
- Top your favorite salad with a drizzle of olive oil or give it an extra crunch with a handful of sunflower seeds or walnuts.
- Use dairy-free oils like avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil for baking and cooking.
Gone are the days where we fear fat, so live it up, but in moderation of course! Go and enjoy every spoonful of your favorite LAVVA and remember fat is no longer the enemy, but rather an essential part of a healthy diet.
Follow us @lovvelavva and tag us so we can see how you get in your daily dose of dairy-free fats with Lavva.