Often made out as the bad guys, fats and oils are really just misunderstood. Fats and oils are imperative to our health and are an essential component in our nutrition plans.
Fats and oils are important for our body, they:
- Protect your organs
- Are important for our nerves, brain and skin cells
- Assist in temperature regulation
- Help to absorb and transport key nutrients in the body
- Play a role in hormone production and release, including hormones involved in signalling our fullness
- Provide us with energy
- Add flavour and texture to food
- Slow the rate of digestion, leaving you feeling satisfied for longer
No fats should be excluded from your diet but evidence suggests Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats tend to be more beneficial for health than the Saturated and Trans fats. The omega-3 fats, a form of polyunsaturated fats, from sources such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna have the best evidence for positive health effects including a reduced risk of heart disease, immune support and a role in the treatment of depression.
Fats are found in oils, butter, margarine, avocados, dairy foods, meat, seafood, nuts, and seeds.
Fats and oils are essential in your nutrition plan for health and satiety. Excluding fats may lead to nutritional deficiencies and could be a trigger for overeating.
- Use salad dressing made from olive, sunflower or canola oils to add flavour to salads.
- Add a sprinkle of seeds to your cereal in the morning such as flaxseeds or LSA mix.
- Have a handful of nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts or cashews as part of a snack.
- Spread some avocado on some grainy crackers with a few slices of tomato for a snack.
- Pop some fish fillets in foil, drizzle with olive oil and top with some mixed herbs, wrap up and throw in the oven to bake. Add a salad and rice for a quick dinner that ticks all the boxes.
References: Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat, DAA Eating Disorders Interest Group, July 2013. Fish and Seafood, The Heart Foundation 2014.