Healthy fats: Why you need them

Fat is slowly losing its stigma as more people realise that it’s not just the amount of fat, but the types of fat you eat that really matter.

Bad fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for like weight gain, blocked arteries, and so on.  But good fats like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and Omega-3s have the opposite effect.

In fact, healthy fats are essential in helping you stabilise your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue and even control your weight.

Swap bad fats for healthy fats

If you’re worried about your weight or heart health, don’t completely avoid fat in your diet. Rather replace trans fats and saturated fats with good fats.

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Before buying, check food labels for trans fats and try to stay away from fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods.

How to get more good fats in your diet

The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and fish.

  • Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil or coconut oil for stovetop cooking, rather than butter or margarine. For baking, try canola or vegetable oil.
  • Eat more avocados. Avo’s are loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, and are delicious in sandwiches, salads and dips.
  • Go nuts. Add nuts to a healthy stirfry or use instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.
  • Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, but make for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping.
  • Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat and sugar. Make your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil or sesame oil.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil.

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