In my last blog I talked about the importance of carbohydrates in helping the body to manage stress by keeping blood sugar levels stable. Today, I?m going to focus on the importance of fats for the functioning of our brain and general wellbeing.
Over the years fats have had a bad press and we?ve been told that too much fat puts us at risk for heart disease and that a low fat diet is the best way to achieve health and lose weight. We?ve been told that vegetable oils are the healthiest of fats and that we should ditch butter in favour of margarine, but in the years we?ve been following that advice we haven?t gotten any slimmer or healthier as a nation!
It?s really important to differentiate between different kinds of fats and to make sure we get enough of the right ones. Omega three fats from oily fish, walnuts and flaxseeds are anti-inflammatory and as mental health conditions such as depression are now shown to have an inflammatory component these anti-inflammatory fats are essential. Aim to eat oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines three times a week ? the vacuum packed smoked mackerel or tinned skinless and boneless mackerel are really good options here.
A small amount of saturated fat is also important but we shouldn?t overdo it and we should make sure it comes from quality sources. So avoid fatty meats such as sausages, salami and bacon and instead opt for small amounts of coconut oil and butter for cooking as well as olive oil, which is part saturated and part unsaturated. Nuts, seeds and avocado are also healthful fats that we should be including on a regular basis.
The fats that I?d suggest avoiding are the trans or hydrogenated fats, which are created when we turn oils into margarine and are often used for pre-packed cakes, biscuits and pastries to give them a longer shelf life than alternatives made with butter.
The main message is not to be scared of fats ? your brain is around 60% fat and eating omega three fats and olive oil is recommended for healthy brain function.
Take charge of your health….
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