Don't cut the fat - It's good for you!
Date Posted:12 May 2014
We all try to avoid fat in our diets but did you know that some fats are actually good for us? It is the saturated fats that we need to avoid and the healthy ones like mono-saturated and poly-unsaturated (Omega-6) fats that we are encouraged to eat and enjoy instead. The Heart Foundation recommends we eat fats as part of a healthy diet and advises we not cut them out.
Saturated fats are the fats you will find in foods such as butter, cheese, fatty meats, different oils, pastries, deep fried foods, fatty snacks or biscuits. This type of fat is the main reason people develop high cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease as the fat builds up in the arteries. This can eventually cause a heart attack in some cases.
It is important to make the right choices when choosing foods and look at the food labels for high amounts of saturated fat. The Heart Foundation recommends we consume less than 7% of our total energy from saturated fats. For example an average person consuming 8700kj/day would eat no more than 16 grams per day. For example one cup of ice-cream contains about 10 grams of saturated fat.
However, the good fats are necessary not only for heart health but also for our brain health, nervous system, mental function, and even controlling weight. They are also fantastic for our appearance by keeping our hair shiny, skin soft and young looking, and nails strong.
Polyunsaturated fat and mono-saturated fats help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. These fats are often found together in a variety of foods.
Polyunsaturated fats are broken down into Omega 3 & Omega 6 fats. Omega 3 might be familiar to you in the form of fish oils and seafood, and omega 6 can also be found in fish, but is also found in large amounts of nuts.
Mono-saturated fats are the ones which are found in avocados, fish, olive oil, tahini, and nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, and our much loved Australian macadamias. The Heart Foundation recommends we eat 2 grams of plant sourced Omega 3 per day, and have 8-10% of our total energy coming from Omega 6 fats. A handful of nuts are perfect!
Macadamias are especially wonderful for getting your good fats; in fact mono-saturated fats appear the highest in macadamias! The Heart Foundation has qualified macadamias with the Heart Foundation Tick of Approval due to their good fats and overall health benefits.