May is my month to talk about fat. Not the jelly belly or bingo wing kind, but the fat we put in our bodies with every meal we eat. If you’re reading this whilst munching on a fat-free snack, put it down. There’s no such thing. Even if the fat has been taken out, it has probably been replaced with sugar.
There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated fat and we all need a bit of it in our diets, but it’s about choosing the right kind. Generally, it’s best to avoid saturated fats and focus more on unsaturated fats; the ‘good’ fat as opposed to the ‘bad’ fat.
Unfortunately, the majority of us have too much fat in our diets, so what should we do? One answer lies swapping saturated fats for unsaturated fats by choosing simple replacements.
Before you empty your fridge and pour away your cooking oil, let’s look at some fatty foods that give your heart a boost rather than clog you up with cholesterol.
TYPES OF FAT
Unsaturated fats can be found in foods such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and even butter. There are two main types of unsaturated fat, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, both of which have their own health benefits.Polyunsaturated fats contain essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6. These can be found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Monounsaturated fats help to lower your blood cholesterol and can be found in nut oils, seeds and unsalted nuts.
Above all, your food intake should be about balance. Healthy levels of fat, lower levels of sugar and salt and a generous daily dose of fruit and vegetables are all essential to maintain good health and reduce weight gain. Eating in moderation rather than binge eating different food groups is the key to keeping on top of those unwanted bulges. Beware of diet fads and approach your meals with mindfulness.