Fat was under fire for decades until recent years, and it’s still looked down upon by many. However, it’s good news all round because there is plenty of evidence to say we should be including fats in our diets. In fact, some fats are vital to our health.
Why do we need fat?
- Fat provides us with energy.
- Fat helps our cells to repair and restore our bodies.
- It provides insulation and keeps us warm.
- We need fat for Vitamins A, E, D and K to cling onto to do their job.
- Fat prevents water loss in the body, and as a result skin looks plumper and younger.
The fat guide – which types should I be eating?
There are a few types of fat, and some are better than others. This graph shows the kinds of fats that make up our favourite foods.
Trans fat – found in fast food, some margarines and ready meals. Please avoid these kinds of fats as they are artificially made and worse than saturated fat for raising bad cholesterol.
Saturated fat – found in dairy products such as cheese, butter and whole milk, as well as coconut oils. Try and limit these kinds of fats, as studies have shown too much of it can increase cholesterol levels, but they’re still a better choice than trans fats.
EAT FREELY (limit nuts/peanut butter if trying to lose/maintain weight)
Unsaturated fats – also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Found in plant oils, salmon and nuts and seeds.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 – these essential fatty acids are vital as our bodies can’t make them and can only get them from food! Without these, your body may suffer from reproductive, cardiovascular or immune problems. Here are some examples of what to eat to get these fatty acids in.
Omega 3 food choices
- fish (e.g. mackeral and salmon) – have it with healthy homemade chips and mushy peas
- avocado – mash it on some toast or have with a salad
- flaxseed oil or flaxseeds – sprinkle some on your porridge
- dark vegetables such as kale and spinach – blend them in a smoothie
Omega 6 food choices
- eggs – make an omelette or some poached eggs for breakfast
- pumpkin seeds – snack on them throughout the day
- pistachio nuts – replace your bag of crisps with some of these
- peanut butter – spread it on toast or put some in your porridge
Smoothies are an excellent way to get your healthy fats in.
Simply blend half an avocado, a handful of frozen berries, a dollop of peanut butter, one tablespoon of greek yoghurt and a glug of milk, and you’ve got yourself a fats-tastic smoothie for one. Don’t worry about the calories if you eat a healthy, balanced diet.
So there you have it. You can eat fat, just the right kinds and in the right quantity.
I guarantee you’ll feel better for it and happier too! In the words of Joe Wicks, #fatsmeup.