For some time, the healthy food message has been that eating fatty food is bad. Recently, that message has become more sophisticated and it seems that some kinds of fatty food are good. In fact, fat is needed to maintain our health. It enables the body to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamin D and E and also supplies essential fatty acids. Part of the reason that fat intake is sometimes restricted is due to its calorific content. However, cutting fat from a diet to reduce calorie intake and lose weight is not a healthy choice.
There are two kinds of fat: saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease and unsaturated fats, which are associated with some health benefits. For example, some unsaturated fats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and others to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some unsaturated fats are also believed to reduce cholesterol levels.
This list compiled by www.rangecookers.co.uk highlights 10 foods which have a significant proportion of unsaturated fats.
Avocado is an unusual fruit in that it has a high fat content, of largely unsaturated fats. The avocado also contains various minerals, including potassium, zinc, iron and magnesium and vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K.
Olive oil contains a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. It is viewed as a healthy food because of its high percentage of oleic acid, an unsaturated fat which helps the heart and may also reduce the risk of some cancers. Olive oil also contains vitamin E and flavonoid antioxidants, which are good for the heart.
Fatty Fish Such As Tuna and Mackerel
These fish contain up to 30 % oil and in particular omega-3 fatty acids, which is an unsaturated fat. Omega-3 is believed to help protect the heart and it may also be necessary for young children’s brain development. Fatty fish also contain Vitamin A and D.
Walnuts and Other Nuts
Walnuts contain 47 per cent unsaturated fats; other nuts also have a significant unsaturated-fat content.
About half of peanut butter content is fat. It is a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats, with about 80% unsaturated fat a similar proportion to olive oil. Peanut butter also contains vitamins and minerals.
Sunflower oil contains a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. It is also a good source of Vitamin E.
Safflower oil contains high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and there is some evidence that its consumption can lead to reduced cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.
Seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds are another good source of unsaturated fats.
Soya milk contains high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It also provides vitamin B1 and B2 and minerals, including calcium and iron and has no cholesterol.
Tofu is made by curdling soya milk and it has a similar nutritional make-up. The softer the tofu, the lower the fat content will be.
The issue of fats in our diet is much more complicated than was once thought and consuming the right fats is necessary to maintain good health.