We all know we should reduce our intake of the bad saturated fats and hydrogenated fats found in many convenience foods. But what about the beneficial fats that are essential for health?  And how can the “good fats” help with weight loss?

Omega 3 fats are needed for preventing cardiovascular disease, brain function, controlling blood cholesterol levels, improving immune function and reducing inflammation to name some of its uses. The best sources of omega 3 fats are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. Flax and hemp seeds are good vegetarian sources. Signs of deficiency can include high triglycerides, high blood pressure, tissue inflammation, dry skin and poor memory.

Omega 6 fats are needed for hormone function, keeping blood thin, relaxing blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, skin and hair growth and decreasing inflammation. Good sources of omega 6 are sesame and sunflower seeds, walnuts and evening primrose oil. Signs of deficiency can include loss of hair, behavioural disturbances, dry scalp and skin, heart and circulatory problems.

Fats can be easily destroyed by heat and other processes so follow these guidelines to get the maximum benefits:

  •  Eat some nuts and seeds on a daily basis. The best seeds are flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind then first and sprinkle on cereal and salads
  • Eat oily fish two or three times a week. Eg mackerel, salmon, sardines
  • Use cold pressed oils for salads or drizzling over cooked vegetables
  • Use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for frying as they are most stable at high temperatures
  • Do not overheat your pan when cooking
  • Use a nut butter or olive oil or a small spreading of butter instead of margarines that contain hydrogenated fats.
  • Minimise your intake of fried food and saturated fat from red meat and dairy