When it comes to the world of nutrition, one of the most hotly debated topics is fat. Is fat good, or is it bad for your health?
Healthy fats can help protect you from heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer, to name a few chronic health conditions. The benefits of healthy fats mainly revolve around improving and maintaining good heart health.
While these benefits are impressive, it's important to remember that when it comes to your waistline, all fats have around the same number of calories.
Here is a quick breakdown of the types of fats:
Mostly found within animal products, high-fat meats and dairy products. These fats, when consumed in excess, will have negative consequences for your health.
Found in highly processed foods such as fried foods, processed snack foods and margarine/lard. It is best to avoid these fats altogether when possible.
A helpful fat that can reduce levels of cholesterol and overall improve heart health. Found in foods such as almond butter, nuts, avocado, peanut oil and vegetable oil.
These fats are termed essential because the body cannot produce them. Instead, they need to be sourced from the diet from foods like oily fish, chia seeds, tofu and canola oil.
Out of all the macronutrients, fat is the most concentrated in calories with nine calories per gram. This is twice as many as carbohydrates or protein. Overall reducing the total amount of fat that you consume will not only help you lose weight, but it will also improve your health in the long term.
Here are some heart-healthy foods to include in moderate amounts in your diet:
A foodie's delight, this creamy fruit is rich with monounsaturated fats. This is primarily in the form of oleic acid.
Some easy ways to enjoy avocado are:
- In a dip with lemon juice, chilli and garlic
- As an addition to a salad
- Spread over crusty bread
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and other cold-pressed oils
A good olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, including oleic acid and polyphenols. These give it it's yellow/ dark green tinge.
Some ways to enjoy EVOO are:
- Use in salad dressings
- Served over cooked vegetables
- For cooking and pan-frying
- Nut butter and nuts
A healthy high-fat food providing a good dose of healthy unsaturated fats. Additionally, they also contain a variety of different nutrients, so enjoy a variety in your diet. The best way to enjoy nuts is either raw or dry roasted.
Some ways to enjoy nuts are:
- An alternative to snacking on chips
- A tasty addition to stir-fry’s and pasta dishes
- In a pesto
- In a salad
When it comes to good health, it is essential to enjoy a wide variety of foods to reap the maximum benefits. Don't believe all the hype about fats and remember everything is best in moderation.