We hear a lot about coconut oil, indeed just quick search will bring up many uses from removing eye make up to being good for the brain, there are many anecdotal stories on line recounting the benefits to memory, but could this fat, coconut oil, benefit your brain health and memory?
There are only two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are fats that are not processed by your body in the same manner as long-chain triglycerides, most of our dietary fat. Normally, a fat taken into your body must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder before it can be broken down in your digestive system.
But the fat in coconut oil goes directly to your liver, which naturally converts coconut oil into ketones, bypassing the bile entirely. Your liver then immediately releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transported to your brain to be readily used as fuel.
While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there’s evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in, and previous investigation suggests that these ketone bodies, offered as an an alternative fuel for your brain, might offer profound healing benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
So use coconut oil in cooking, melt over vegetables, add a spoon to a cup of coffee. Here are some recipes that include coconut oil;
This is a simple recipe, packed full of brain boosting nutrients, rich in good fats and fibre with no added sugar. These easy to make and they taste so good, have one after your lunch or dinner.
Walnuts, peanut butter and chia seeds are good sources of of vitamin E, and healthy fats. Berries and cocoa are full of antioxidants that protect the brain.
- 1 cup of Walnuts
- 2 mugs of dates
- 4 tablespoons of raw cocoa
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
- 1 tablespoon of Dried blueberries.
Blend in food processor and roll into balls, store in fridge. As a treat dip in dark chocolate or roll in shredded coconut.
Sleepy Hot Chocolate
Heat some milk, I like to use coconut milk and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Blend some extra milk with 1 tablespoon of raw cocoa (or to taste) with just a hint of maple syrup or honey, pour on the hot milk and enjoy, perfect
for a good night’s sleep. Cocoa is naturally rich in magnesium, a natural relaxant and the brain just loves coconut oil.
Erina MacSweeney, BSc Food Science & Diploma Naturopathic Nutrition.