In recent years, fat has finally left the naughty corner of nutrition and been welcomed with open arms into our daily diets. If you still don’t believe the hype, and fear high fat content you need to know that it is an essential nutrient for the body to function correctly. It is necessary for the following: facilitating the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, membrane integrity, nerve transmission and maintaining body temperature. Good fats also provide the body with fuel alongside the feeling of fullness and can actually stimulate fat burning.
We spoke to the experts at Fresh Fitness Food to find out which fats we need to include on the menu and why. It’s important to remember that not all fat is created equal. Some fats promote good health while others increase the risk of heart disease, which is why choosing the right type of dietary fat is important.
Polyunsaturated (PUFA’s) and monounsaturated (MUFA’s) fats are the good guys, while trans fats should be avoided completely, and saturated fats limited. Consuming PUFA’s and MUFA’s actually help to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the beneficial kind), intake has also been found to help in weight loss, particularly in reducing body fat.
The best fat sources to include in your diet are:
Oily fish - such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. Arguably the best type of fat, the fats produced by oily fish contain the highest concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids, which are proven to make a positive difference to heart and brain health as well as improving the skeletal system. Omega 3 fish oils can also be found in supplement form so if oily fish is not your thing try UnoCardio 1000 which was recently named the highest quality fish oil on the market.
Nuts - including walnuts, almonds and pistachios, which contain omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fibre which will help you feel full and suppress your appetite for longer.
Avocados – prized in particular for its skin-boosting effects. In addition to its nourishing, moisturising and protective fats, they also contain significant levels of antioxidants such as vitamin E which help keep skin supple and smooth.
Olive oil – an integral part of the traditional ‘Mediterranean Diet’, which is associated with vitality, longevity and low incidence of chronic disease, olive oil is widely prized for its health-giving properties. It is particularly helpful in promoting optimal cardiovascular function, maintaining good blood flow and bettering cognitive function
Seeds - pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Seeds are a great source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and folate. They are also prized for their beneficial effect on hair, skin and nails, with people who regularly use and consume hemp oil reporting thicker and shinier hair, softer skin and stronger nails.