By Lucy Marks
FAT- if you just screwed your face up, I don’t blame you. People have been screwing up their faces at the word since the 1980s, moreover, if you’re in your twenties now, the global demonization of fat was probably occurring during your most formative years. In fact, you probably watched on as your mum tried one of the many fat-free/low-fat fad diets. The word itself has a bad reputation. Although also being a noun, society tends to use ‘fat’ more predominantly as an adjective, of which the dictionary explains is; having a large amount of excess flesh/large in bulk or circumference.
Unfortunately, the negative and undesirable light that has been shone on the basic food type has resulted in the general public having a very tainted understanding of its essentiality and the health advantages it provides.
The benefits of fat
è Fat supports brainpower and the normal functioning of our major organs
è Fat keeps our skin and hair glowing
è Fat helps our bodies to absorb essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, D and E
è Fat gives us energy, providing our bodies with fuel throughout the day
è Fat regulates blood-sugar levels, keeping hunger and cravings at bay
So, what’s the best way to eat fat?
Fats to forgive:
When choosing fats to include in your diet, it is best to aim for the unsaturated variety; these include monounsaturated fats, found mainly in food items such as olive oil, avocado and nuts. Monounsaturated fatty acids are beneficial as they help to lower the bad cholesterol in our blood, whilst boosting our metabolism and further helping with its regulation. There are also polyunsaturated fatty acids, primarily found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and certain seafood. Included in this particular classing are Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for all human beings. Omega-3 fats reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by preventing blood clots and protecting against an irregular heartbeat.
Fats to forget:
The fats we need to moderate in our diets are trans and saturated fats; it is these that greatly jeopardize our health. Trans fats, found in almost all processed foods have been linked to obesity, certain forms of cancer and even infertility. They can also increase your risk of heart disease and have been shown to reduce muscle tone and metabolism, rationalizing why it is best to avoid them at all costs. Saturated fats, being natural, are not as bad for you, and some can even offer health benefits, for example, coconut oil boosts thyroid function. However others can increase bad cholesterol levels and the chances of heart disease. Hence, they should be avoided wherever possible.
So, next time you hit the aisles of your local supermarket, choose the full-cream milk over the skim, butter over the margarine. Choose the full-fat version over their low-fat substitutes, they’re less processed and contain less salt, sugar and preservatives. They’re full of fat and better for us.