Yes, there is such a thing as healthy fat!
There’s a misconception that all fat is bad. In fact, what are known as “essential fats” really are essential – they are, indeed, healthy fat. Their benefits include speeding up your metabolism, strengthening your immune system and helping your body fight degenerative disease.
Don’t avoid these foods because they’re “fattening”. They are healthy, real foods, full of nutrients. Processed fats, on the other hand, offer your body no nutritional value and many low-fat products are actually much higher in sugar than the full-fat alternatives.
Healthy fat – the Goodies
• Oils found in avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs and oily fish.
• Extra virgin olive oil (must be cold pressed i.e. not heated during production, which kills its nutrients).
• Coconut oil is an incredibly nourishing oil and its nutritional value is unaffected by being cooked at high temperatures.
• Other great oils are cold pressed rapeseed oil and hemp oil.
• All the fats in processed foods, pastries and cakes.
• Hydrogenated fats, also known as trans-fats, which are very highly processed and a threat to your health (their carcinogenic effect is well documented).
How to use healthy fat
• Extra virgin, cold pressed olive, rapeseed, or hemp oils are best used cold – drizzled on salads, bread, pasta, or vegetables. They are not ideal for cooking – when you heat them, you destroy their taste and most of their health benefits. Buy the best you can afford, looking for a dark coloured bottle (so light doesn’t damage the oil).
• Coconut oil is the healthiest cooking oil, brilliant for pan frying or stir-fries. It’s not compromised when heated to high temperatures and doesn’t make food taste ‘coconutty’. You can also dollop it in a smoothie, spread it on toast, or use it as moisturiser.