Beginner guide to good fats for healthier living

Everyone knows fats are bad for you right? Wrong! But hang on, before you go out emptying the shelves of ice cream and pizza, here is a beginner guide to good fats.

So the secret is out: there is such a thing as good fats. All fat used to be demonised. As a result people started eating more sugar, refined carbs and processed foods instead. They got fatter and unhealthier. Now fat is back on the rise, well some fat.

So-called good fats are mono-unsaturated fats and contain essential fatty acids. They are vital for circulation, metabolism, boosting your immune system, energy and muscular strength. But like everything, it is a matter of moderation.

10 foodstuffs that contain good fats

  • Cold-pressed olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Nuts – cashew, pecan, almond
  • Seeds – pumpkin, flaxseed, sesame, sunflower
  • Organic peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Whole grain wheat
  • Olives
  • Fish – herring, salmon, halibut, mackerel
  • Dark chocolate – yes, you read that correctly 🙂

Saturated fats

There’s nothing wrong with saturated fats; they are essential for life. But they should only be taken in limited amounts.

Too much can raise the level of cholesterol in your body leading to circulation problems, such as narrow arteries and heart disease. They also increase body weight.

Chances are you’re already taking steps to reduce your saturated fat intake – low fat yoghurt, low fat milk, low fat cheeses etc. Simply put, try and do more of this.

Choose lean meats, such as beef and turkey, rather than fatty meats such as pork and bacon. Also, grill or steam your meat rather than fry it in its own fat, and always trim the excess fat off the meat before you cook it

5 ways to ensure you get the right good fat intake

  • Look out for trans fats and avoid them. Check food labels and look for trans fat listed. You will normally see the word ‘partially hydrogenated’ fat or oil. If you see this avoid the food.
  • Avoid solid fats in favour of oils. Use olive oil instead of butter when sauteing a few potatoes
  • Eat boiled or baked salmon, mackerel or other oily fish once or twice a week instead of meat. These contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Ensure you trim the fat off of meat and take the skin off of poultry.
  • Snack on natural foods such as whole fruits and vegetables. Don’t get tempted by processed snack foods. This includes crisps, cookies, cakes, chocolates and sweets.
  • Avoid solid fats in favour of oils. Use olive oil instead of butter when sautéing a few potatoes