PSA: Superfats Are Officially the New Superfoods

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PSA: Superfats Are Officially the New Superfoods
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The school of thought surrounding fat in your diet has officially swung from avoid at all costs, to consume readily. Throughout the ’90s—until Atkins began really monopolizing the fad-diet industry in 2003, and we all promptly agreed to hate carbs instead—oily foods were the devil, lurking in any supermarket product not clearly marked with “low-fat” and just waiting to settle permanently only your hips. 

Now, of course, the tables have turned: Wellness tastemakers and thought leaders in 2016 can’t get enough of high-fat foods. Specifically: avocado, coconut, and plant-based fats. Health blogs have even started using the phrase superfats to really drive home the superfood-like qualities of this greasy, delicious food group. Perhaps my favorite myth to bust is that eating fats will make you become fat—because in fact the complete opposite is true. While definitely calorie-rich, a high-fat diet keeps you feeling full for longer, and has been shown to prevent overeating and help people to actually lose weight. There are thousands of experts—and plenty of research—that will back me up about this.

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Fats are also critical for healthy bodies (not just skinny ones) and can fight inflammation, including signs of aging, and help your heart, brain, eyes, and more. “Fat aids in brain and eye development (the brain itself is made up of 60 percent fat), regulates blood sugar, promotes tissue healing and proper immune function, and is critical for vitamin D synthesis,” nutritionist and author of Inflamed, Shelley Malone, spelled out for us. It’s also the vehicle your body uses to deliver certain vitamins (A, D, E, K) and nutrients that are believed to have a role in preventing cancer and inflammation. “This is why not consuming enough fat could result in various skin symptoms, brittle nails, aching joints, depression, ADHD, diabetes, and weight gain,” Malone explained. 

Malone suggests eating one serving of oil with every single meal, whether it’s from seeds, nuts, fish, or avocado. You could try adding one or two tablespoons of oil as a salad dressing, or a couple of tablespoons when cooking—or you could click through the slideshow and try one of these (healthy) fat-filled recipes. Go ahead, eat the avocado!

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Coconut oil would definitely win a popularity contest right now among other fats such as sunflower-seed and olive oil, despite some experts still sitting on the fence about whether coconut oil is the answer to everything.

Coconut oil's actually very high in saturated fat (about 84 percent of total fat is saturated), but those in favor like that the saturated fats are MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), which are a little different from other versions. "Your body handles MCTs differently than other types of saturated fat found in animal-based foods like butter, cheese, and meats," explained dietitian and Shopwell app founder Lara Felton. However, if you have heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic diseases, it’s still recommended to follow a diet that’s low in saturated fat.

5-Ingredient Sweet Potato Quinoa Fritters

Simply Quinoa

Photo: Simply Quinoa

Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Gimme Some Oven

Photo: Gimme Some Oven

Thai Coconut Curry Turkey Meatballs

Wholesomelicious

Photo: Wholesomelicious

You know how everyone keeps telling you to eat more fish oil? That's because fish oil's high in omega-3, but so is flax, plus the latter is plant-based and vegan-friendly.

Dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield suggests using the oil in smoothies and dressing: "I recommend grinding flax seeds over the oil to maximize the health benefits of flax. If you have the oil, use it in salad dressings. Don't cook with it," she explained.

Homemade Kind Bars

Eat Yourself Skinny

Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny

Soft Baked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Love and Zest

Photo: Love and Zest

Best Paleo Sandwich Bread

An Edible Mosaic

Photo: An Edible Mosaic

Good news: Your avocado toast addiction also has health benefits. "Avocado is a great source of monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to improve cardiovascular health. It is also high in antioxidants," explained dietitian Shelly Malone

Avocado + Heirloom Tomato Toast with Balsamic Drizzle

Blissful Basil

Photo: Blissful Basil

Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Meal Prep Magic

Pinch of Yum

Photo: Pinch of Yum

Vegan Avocado Banana Chocolate Pudding

Apollo and Tuna

Photo: Apollo and Tuna

“Algae is a rich source of one type of omega-3 fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA) that helps to reduce the inflammation in the body,” explained Rebecca Stritchfield, a registered dietitian whom you may have spotted talking about food and health on "Today," Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. Compared with other cooking oils, algae has a higher smoke point (485˚F), which basically means it’s way easier to cook with.

Blistered Greens with Ginger-Soy Drizzle

Thrive

Photo: Thrive

Green Warrior Protein Smoothie

Oh She Glows

Photo: Oh She Glows

Little Gem Salad and Balsamic-Infused Dressing

Thrive

Photo: Thrive

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