Fat might be back, but some are still better than others. Nutritionist Kathleen Alleaume points out the ones to eat.
Fats to eat daily
Known as the butter fruit, just half an avocado contains 18g of body-beneficial monounsaturated fat. Researchers found that eating avocado daily significantly decreases cholesterol markers associated with heart disease risk. Even though they’re high in calories, research also shows that avocado-eaters tend to weigh less and have less belly fat. Why? Adding avocados was shown to increase feelings of fullness, helping reduce portion size.
Polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acids are essential — your body can’t make them from scratch, and must get them from food. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are abundant in omega 3 fats, and contain heaps of other nutrients too, including vitamin D, selenium and protein. Research shows that eating oily fish two to three times a week has powerful health benefits for your body and brain, helping to reduce depression, fight Alzheimer’s disease and improve heart health.
A Mediterranean-style diet filled with healthy monounsaturated fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, has been scientifically proven to be good for your heart health. No other food comes close to EVO oil for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Contrary to popular belief, EVO oil has a relatively high smoking point, and is perfectly suitable for cooking, frying and roasting.
Eating nuts daily is a must. Their unique blend of poly and monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals help to reduce heart disease and diabetes risk and lower cholesterol. Researchers recommend eating a handful (30g) every day, and it doesn’t
really matter which ones you go for.
It’s now well established that foods high in cholesterol have little impact on raising your blood-cholesterol levels. Eggs, which have been the bad guys of cholesterol levels for a while, are actually very low in saturated fat and contain at least 11 different vitamins and minerals, as well as high-quality protein, omega 3 fats and antioxidants.
Fats to enjoy in moderation
Over 65% of the fat in butter is saturated, and there’s no evidence that eating saturated fat has any health benefits (and that goes for coconut oil, too). What we do know is that given the choice between butter and olive oil, you can feel confident knowing that olive oil will be far better for your health.
While there’s still room for the occasional slice of bacon or a few snags, the latest evidence suggests that excessive intakes of processed meat can raise your risk of cancer. Current national dietary guidelines recommend that people who eat red meat limit processed varieties and consume no more than 65-100g of lean sources of red meat three to four times a week.
Full cream dairy
Emerging research is showing that milk drinkers, including full-fat dairy drinkers, have a slightly lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and typically gain less weight, as dairy makes you feel fuller for longer. If you don’t consume a lot of milk, full-cream will be fine, but if you consume two to three glasses a day, reduced-fat or low-fat varieties will help to control your calories.
Kathleen Alleaume is a nutritionist, exercise scientist and founder of The Right Balance. Follow her @therightbalance on Instagram.