We rarely think of fat as healthy, but it does so many good things for us – and is something we can’t live without.
Fat is a macronutrient, meaning that you do need it for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Besides being a major source of energy, it also helps you absorb all-important fat-soluble vitamins, being vitamins A, D, E and K.
You also need fat to build and repair cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. And it is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, inflammation, as well as protecting your organs. If you’re a wee bit vain, you may be interested to know that fat helpsto give your hair – and skin – a lustrous glow. Plus, it plays a central role in promoting proper eyesight and brain development in babies and children.
So don’t cut out the fat – chew it.
But it’s important to know that not all fats are created equal. Good fats include monounsaturated (e.g. cold-pressed olive oil and avocado) and polyunsaturated (e.g. omega-3 fats, which are found in oily fish and walnuts).
Bad fats include industrial-made trans fats. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.
Excess calories from any source is what’s responsible for weight gain, not fat per se. However, fat is higher in calories than any other nutrient, such as protein or carbohydrate. So we need less of it.
Eating less saturated and trans fats may help lower your risk of heart disease. A diet low in saturated fats and trans fats but that includes moderate amounts of unsaturated fats will help you achieve and maintain good health.
Read more at Dieticians Association of Australia.