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Saturday, August 5, 2017

7 fatty foods you should be eating and 7 you shouldn't

Time magazine made waves in 2014 when they declared butter to be "back," reporting on a study indicating the consumption of saturated fats did not, in fact, hold the same health concerns as previously believed. "But not so fast!" said the Harvard School of Public Health in 2016, reminding us of their findings that saturated fats, while not the worst fat we can eat, are certainly not as healthy as plant-based, monounsaturated fats. When it comes to the skinny on fat, some days, it seems hard to keep up!

What we do know for certain is that fat is necessary for a healthy, well-functioning body. Many essential vitamins, like A, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning consumption of fats is necessary to transport them through our bloodstream. As Christine Gerbstadt, MD and registered dietician tells SELF, "The body requires fat as a building block of nerve tissue in the brain." She adds, "We need some saturated fat in our diet. The body's production of steroid hormones, including sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, requires saturated fat."

So how can you make the best possible choices when deciding which fats to consume? Read on to discover which fatty foods make the grade, and which you should ditch immediately.

Do eat: Avocado

Avocado is enjoying the fame it deserves, thanks to people waking up to the fact that it's not only delicious, but also incredibly healthy! Loaded with fiber, vitamins, and more potassium than a banana, this incredible fruit is brimming with a special kind of fat called oleic acid. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat known to combat inflammation in the body — but the wonders of avocado don't stop there. Consumption of avocado has been linked to healthier cholesterol levels, a reduced risk of cataracts, and even weight loss.

So here's a case where you definitely shouldn't let the fat content stop you! Whip up some guacamole, puree avocado into some chocolate pudding, or even use some avocado oil when preparing your favorite meals.

Do eat: Coconut and coconut oil

It's pretty challenging keeping up with the debate about whether or not saturated fats are bad for us. While it is indeed true that the fats found in coconut and coconut oil are mostly saturated, they're actually a very special kind of fat called medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs. These fats are metabolized differently in our bodies than other saturated fats, and provide a wealth of health benefits to the body including fighting bad bacteria, boosting weight loss, and improving cholesterol levels. MCTs have even proven to be therapeutic in severe brain maladies like epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.

So go ahead, sprinkle some shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes on your oatmeal, or mix them into your yogurt. If cooking with coconut oil, make sure to look for the unrefined variety, which will be labeled organic, raw, virgin coconut oil, to reap the health benefits that coconut oil can offer.

Do eat: Grass-fed butter

Can butter actually be good for you? While this question is still a central part of the ongoing debate over the health status of saturated fats, there is quite a bit of science that shows that eating butter can indeed provide many health benefits, as long as you pick the right kind of butter to eat.

Unlike conventional butter, butter that has been made with the cream of grass fed cows is higher in heart-healthy, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin K2. Vitamin K2, found only in animal foods, is instrumental in decalcifying our arteries, and can also aid in fighting osteoporosis and heart disease. Butter also contains a unique fatty acid called butyrate, which is a potent anti-inflammatory.

Butter, of course, is also very high in calories, so unless you are embarking on a ketogenic diet, you still want to keep an eye on the amount you eat.

Do eat: Olives and olive oil

While debates are looming over the health benefits of various kinds of fats, one belief seems to hold universal — olive oil is good for you.

While all olive oil contains nutrients and fatty acids with proven attributes, it is extra-virgin olive oil that is touted as a true superfood. Extra-virgin olive oil is loaded with the monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Olive oil is also chock full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, improves brain function, reduces the risk of diabetes, and is the only fat linked to a reduction in risk of stroke.

You only have one thing to worry about when buying extra-virgin olive oil — getting duped at the market. Unfortunately, the olive oil industry is rife with fraud, with many inferior oils being passed as true extra-virgin. So do your research on the brands that you can trust, and enjoy!

Read More: mashed

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