I was delighted to see so much in the news recently about fats and how it’s not fat that is causing our expanding waist lines, but sugar! I regularly discuss the benefits of fats in our diets but with so many slimming companies discouraging the consumption of fat, people have become afraid of eating it.
We Need The RIGHT Fats
It’s important we get the balance correct and choose the correct fats. There are still fats, such as trans and hydrogenated fats found in fried, processed and convenience foods and margarine, that should be avoided. These fats are still dangerous for us and we should always check the labels for these hidden nasties. However, there are fats that are essential for us. These good fats can reduce inflammation, our risk of depression, age-related memory loss illnesses such as Alzheimers disease, heart disease or stroke. These fats are essential while we are pregnant as they not only help with the development of the growing brain of our foetus, but help to reduce our risk of post-natal depression and “baby brain”.
The Good Fats We Should Be Eating
Often avoided due to their relatively high fat content, Avocados are one of the best foods you can eat! Most of the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered to be a “good fat” which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease. Not only do avocados contain an excellent source of potassium (more per weight than bananas), they are also rich in vitamins K, C, E & B – which are known to increase energy.
- Liven up your salad with some sliced avocado
- Too busy for breakfast? Start the day with this quick to make, yet highly nutritious juice – Avocado, Pineapple & Kale Juice
- Egg intolerant? Why not try our Avocado Mayonnaise
Nuts & Seeds
Although nuts and seeds are calorific and full of fat, they are nearly all good fats and are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Walnut, pumpkin, linseed and chia seeds are rich in Omega 3 while sesame and sunflower seeds are rich in Omega 6. Always choose plain unsalted nuts. Limit quantities to a small handful.
- Lightly roast or dry fry (at a low heat) some sunflower or pumpkin seeds and add to your salad
- A small handful of nuts or seeds with a piece of fruit such as an apple or pear, makes a great afternoon or morning snack
- Make your own Fruit & Nut bars which are a great snack choice without the guilt
An eggcellent and inexpensive form of protein, eggs have incredible versatility. They are a good source of B12 and choline, which is essential for the brain. Once considered a risk factor in heart disease, a study released by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show there was no evidence of any increase in risk for overall heart disease or stroke from heart disease. Nutrition guidelines recommend that a healthy individual can have up to seven eggs a week and those on a cholesterol lowering diet can have four to six eggs a week.
- Frittata’s are a great way of using up what’s left in the fridge at the end of the week and are never the same twice!
A middle Eastern food dated back to the 13th Century, hummus is a creamy spread made with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Unfortunately it is too often overlooked and considered a high fat food when in fact it is extremely good for you! It has been shown to be very anti-inflammatory, and with inflammation the root cause of many chronic diseases, it’s not something we can ignore! Hummus is loaded with nutrients, fibre and good fats. It is an excellent source of protein for us all especially vegetarians and vegans who rely on plant based protein. Be cautious when choosing flavoured hummus as they contain additional ingredients which may not be as healthy as plain hummus.
- Hummus and crudities such as carrots, celery, peppers and cucumber make a great snack and a welcomed change to crisps when entertaining.
- Add some hummus to a couple of oatcakes for a perfect mid-morning snack.
Apart from being a really nutritious food, rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, oily fish is an excellent source of Omega 3 which is essential to maintain good health. A deficiency in this essential fatty acid can be linked to low mood, depression, age-related memory loss illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and helps reduce the risk of baby brain. It which can help to prevent blood clots, keep the rhythm of your heart healthy and there is emerging evidence to suggest that eating fish reduces the risk of cancer and arthritis. Omega 3 can help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and is essential for the development of our nervous system.
- Due to the high levels of mercury in our seas, caution should be used when choosing your fish, especially if you are pregnant or hoping to conceive. (Shark, swordfish and marlin should be avoided and tuna should be restricted to one serving per week during pregnancy).