Many of us come from a time when fat was considered evil. A high risk of heart attack or prone to high cholesterol levels? Then ‘cut out all fat’, was the mantra. But science is always changing its mind, and it seems that, initially, it may have gotten the wrong idea about some fats.
Certain fats are now considered healthy. But not all fats are created equal. Here are five fatty foods to include in your diet to boost your health.
Fish naturally rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines. Researchers worldwide have also found that eating fish regularly – two or more serves each – may reduce the risk of diseases ranging from cardiovascular diseases, prostate cancer and other diseases typical of Western societies, such as dementia. Healthy ways to enjoy fish include baked, poached, grilled and steamed.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which may offer heart-related benefits and help with osteoarthritis. Another benefit is that when you eat avocado with other foods, it helps your body better absorb certain nutrients. You can enjoy avocado in a sandwich, add it to salads or make a delicious guacamole.
Sunflower, pepita (pumpkin), sesame, chia and flaxseeds: these little babies are bursting with nutrients – and healthy polyunsaturated fats. Add them to salads, muesli and porridge, and use them to your baked goodies.
Similar to seeds, nuts – such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios, etc. – are rich in polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are particularly rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Such fats are good for heart health. Again, you can add these little powerful morsels to salads, muesli and porridge, and use them when baking.
5. Olive oil
Just like avocado, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, so it helps to keep your ticker in check. Olive oil is delicious in salad dressings, and is ideal for low-heat cooking.
In case you hadn’t noticed, these fatty foods are staples of the Mediterranean diet. Obviously, the Greeks and the Italians don’t need science to prove that they’re already onto a healthy diet. But keep in mind fat is fat (i.e. richer in calories than protein and carbs), so it also matters how much you eat. The trick is to aim for quality over quantity.
Which of these fatty foods do you already eat regularly? How do you include them in your diet?
Low-fat or full-cream milk – which is healthier?