This week we welcome health coach Catherine Bales of Seeds of Growth to present her second guest post on the Nourish'd Journal. Today, Catherine gives us the lowdown on fat.
Saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, mono-unsaturated, omega 3’s, omega 6’3 – so many different types of fats. We are constantly bombarded by the media and the latest research as to what are the good fats, and what are the bad fats – and the information changes with each new discovery. No wonder we are all pretty confused.
My wish is to break it down to make it really simple and easy to understand. The main types of fats are saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats.
Saturated – these are the fats that are solid at room temperature. Think animal fats from beef, poultry, pork, butter and full-fat dairy. Avocado and coconut are also saturated fats. It was once thought that these fats potentially increase heart disease, but today the jury is out on this. A prospective study from Australia, which looked at adults over a 15 year period, found that people who ate the most full-fat dairy products had a 69 % lower risk of cardiovascular death than those who ate the least (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 7 April, 2010).
Monounsaturated – these are liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. Think of avocados, olives, olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, halibut and mackerel. These raise good HDL and lower LDL and are encouraged to be eaten daily.
Polyunsaturated – these are liquid at room temperature and also when chilled. Both omega 3’s and omega 6’s fall into this category. Think of salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, fresh tuna, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts. Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory. Aim to eat cold water fish 3 times a week and plant based polyunsaturated fats daily.
Trans fats – can be natural or artificial. Natural trans fats are found in small amounts in milk and beef, and in larger amounts in cheese. Most trans fats are created industrially to make a product more stable and with a longer shelf life. Think of margarine, fast foods, fried foods, processed foods, biscuits, crackers, cakes, chips, soft drinks, pastries, and peanut butters. Trans fats lead to plaque build-up in the arteries and increased risk of heart disease. Products with partially hydrogenated oils listed in the ingredients are to be avoided at all times – these are found in your processed and commercially baked products.
Eating good fats is absolutely vital for our health. It is all about getting the right balance. Fats do not make us fat. The body cannot produce some fats like omega 3 and omega 6 on its own – it must receive these from the foods we eat.
Here are some of the reasons why eating good quality essential fatty acids are vital to our wellbeing:
- Maintain healthy, youthful skin
- Proper functioning of the nerves and brain
- Transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to where they are needed
- Hormone production needed to regulate many body processes
- Energy storage
- A source of energy for cellular growth and healing
It is far better for us to eat real, natural whole foods that are higher in fat, than something that is synthetic and processed, claiming to be low in fat.
I do not buy anything that says low-fat on the label.
My favourite fats include avocados, butter and ghee, chia seeds, hemp seeds, salmon, walnuts, almonds, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil.
With love and blessings,