This week our resident Nutritional Therapist, Nichola Flood talks good fats v’s bad fats.
Park the notion that fat is bad. It is not. In fact, most of us aren’t eating enough of it. Fat can help you lose weight, protect against heart disease, absorb vitamins and boost your immune system. Do you know which fats to eat and which to avoid?
My favourite good fats to eat!!
AVOCADOS They go with practically anything and are high in both vitamin E and in healthy monounsaturated fats. Slice it, mash it, love it!
COCONUT OIL There’s so much to like. Apart from helping reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure, coconut oil is an anti-fungal (caprylic acid) when used both externally or internally. The ideal replacement for butter in baking and as your oil of choice when frying (though I think it works best if you’re cooking something with an Asian influence).
NUTS Packed with nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E, nuts bring plenty of essential fats to the table. They make the perfect snack – eat a handful (preferably raw) with a small piece of fruit or spread a little nut butter on an oatcake (peanut butter is just for starters – try almond for a change).
OILY FISH are chock full of omega 3 fatty acids, which are the building blocks of your sex hormones, so are essential for hormone balance. We love them all!
OLIVE OIL Use cold pressed organic oil as a dressing on salads rather than to cook with as the high temperatures reached when roasting or frying can turn the oil rancid
Here’s why good fat is essential in the body…
- - It’s a concentrated energy source. Gram for gram, fat is twice as efficient as carbohydrates in energy production.
- - Fat can be an energy store. Excess fat is stored for future energy production (excess calorific intake).
- - Protection – internal (visceral) fat protects your internal organs, like the kidneys and spleen.
- - ‘Subcutaneous adipose tissue’ (that’s code for the fat that you can feel by pinching your skin) helps to maintain normal body temperature and provides padding.
- - Fats regulate inflammation, mood and nerve function.
- - Every cell membrane in our body is made of fat – the brain is 60% fat.
- - Many hormones are made from fat. These are known as steroid hormones and they govern stress, sex, and immune function.
- - Fats are actually essential for survival.
- - Fat is the preferred fuel for muscles and the heart. The brain can also burn fat for fuel.
- - Essential fatty acids are required for healthy skin, healthy cell membranes, healthy nerves, healthy joints and to help with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.