Why you need more (healthy) fat in your life!
If you’ve been scared to eat much fat because you think it’s unhealthy, it’s time to get your head around which fats are actually bad for you & which are actually good. It’s true that some fats are definitely best kept to an absolute minimum (trans fats e.g. deep fried mars bars are a bit of a no no!) but there are others that are really important for staying healthy. These good fats can play lots of roles in your body, including keeping your heart and brain healthy, boosting your immunity, balancing hormones, stabilizing your metabolism (actually helping you lose weight) and keeping inflammation to a minimum. There is masses of science available through google and research but we’d spend months going through it. Trust me.
So now you know how important certain fats are for your body, let’s talk about how you can get more of them in your diet – ie what you eat, not another ‘let’s go on a diet’ boring nonsense. Get these foods down the gullet to make sure you get plenty of healthy happy fats!
Fatty Fish (no they haven’t been eating deep fried mars bars either)
Eating fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines two to three times per week helps you to get a good boost of omega 3 fatty acids (we want more 3’s than 6’s). If you go for tuna, just be aware of the mercury content if you eat it a lot.
Eggtastic Eggs (not the Easter choccy ones!)
Eggs are hugely nutritious and are great for keeping you feeling full thanks to their protein content. For years, we were told that eating eggs would raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels but we know now that this isn’t true. It’s actually the opposite: people who eat plenty of eggs often have lower cholesterol. As an added bonus, eggs also help to keep your heart healthy. Wherever possible, try to make sure that you’re eating eggs that are particularly rich in omega 3 so that you get the most benefits.
Avocado is a great way to get more monounsaturated fats into your diet (good ones). These are a double whammy for heart health as they’re known to raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and at the same time, they also help to lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Healthy fats aren’t the only thing you’ll get from them though; they’re incredibly nutritious and give you a huge range of vitamins and minerals. Guacamole is a delicious way to get more avocado in your life and super easy to make. Not a fan? You can also drizzle avocado oil on salads or even cook with it or whizz the avo with raw cacao powder and a little maple for a yummy pudding.
Obliging (not so offensive) Olive Oil
There’s a big reason why olive oil is such a staple of the Mediterranean diet and this is mostly down to the healthy fats. It is another fantastic source of the same kind of monounsaturated fats that you’ll find in the amazing avo. Studies have shown that it can make you less likely to get heart disease or have a heart attack, especially when it’s used as part of the Mediterranean diet. Avoid cooking with it though as it doesn’t have a high burn point.
It’s a bit more expensive but extra virgin olive oil is the best bet as other types of olive oil won’t bring quite the same health benefits. Drizzle it on salads or whatever for an easy way to use more of it.
Commendable Coconut Oil
A lot of people don’t feel comfortable using coconut oil because of its saturated fat content but it’s actually super healthy and increases levels of “good” cholesterol. Plus, it’s packed full of antioxidants. You can use it in cooking or baking but the fairly strong taste can take some getting used to at first! Use a bit less if you find it overpowering or whack it into smoothies – think pina colada sans rum and even swirl it around your mouth for 10 mins to help whiten teeth and take away impurities (make sure you spit it out not swallow & watch you don’t block your sink, spit into a tissue and put in the bin)).
Naked Nuts (oh er) and Stupendous Seeds
The good fats found in nuts and seeds can help to lower LDL cholesterol so they’re a great choice for super healthy snacks. With nuts, stick to a small handful though – these fats may be of the good variety but you still don’t want to go overboard with them! Do stay away from the pub versions – Dry Roasted or Salted – naked and raw are best and a million points if sprouted. Nuts & Seeds are also a good source of other nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium and selenium. If you don’t want to snack on them, try adding them to baking, sprinkle on salads and whizz into smoothies.
Frankly, Full Fat Dairy not fakey fat free
If you tend to stick solely to low-fat dairy, you’re not quite on the right track when it comes to healthy fats. Full-fat dairy is full of fats that you won’t find in lower fat versions and this can actually have some surprising benefits for your health. Full fat dairy can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity – much more than low fat! Also to note is that low fat has more sugar or sweeteners in which I firmly believe are both worse for our health than fats.
Dreamy Dark Chocolate
Here is a source of healthy fat that you’re sure to love! Dark chocolate ticks two big boxes from a health perspective: antioxidants and healthy fats. You don’t want just any type of dark chocolate though – go for something with at least 70% cacao. If you can find it, 85% cacao is even better. The more cacao, the more benefits you’ll get. Why not try making your own Raw Chocolate at home – watch out for a video workshop coming soon.
As always, be sure to eat a balanced diet of fabulous fresh fruits and veg so that you can ensure you are eating the rainbow and getting the right amount of nutrients each day.
What is your fave healthy fat?