Fat plays a vital role in health and is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, maintains our brains and nervous system and keeps our eyes, skin, bones and nails healthy.
However, not all fats are created equal. Dietary fats can be classified into 4 different groups: saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats whenever possible.
Common sources of fat in the diet include:
- Saturated fats: fatty meats, full cream dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, cream), deep fried foods, coconut oil, palm oil and commercially baked products (biscuits and pastries).
- Trans fats: take away foods and commercially baked goods (pies, pastries, cakes and biscuits), small amounts found naturally in rudiments of milk, cheese, beef and lamb
- Monounsaturated fats: avocado, margarine, oils (olive, canola and peanut) and nuts (hazelnuts, cashews and almonds).
- Polyunsaturated fats: fish, vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower and corn), nuts (walnuts and Brazil nuts) and seeds.
Ideas to help you incorporate healthier fats in your diet:
- Eat fish 3 times per week
- Add nuts, seeds or avocado to salads and meals
- Use olive oil sparingly in cooking
- Swap from full fat to low fat dairy