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Healthy fats & a healthy you   

I’ve noticed with time and working with various clients and talking with friends, that unfortunately the notion that fat is not really good for you, is still lingering out there! So I thought I would just share a few reasons why it is SO important to include healthy fats in your diet. I remember during the 80’s fat became the villain in our society and a lot of food companies came out with low-fat versions of yogurts, cheese, milk etc however so that these goods remained appealing to our taste buds, sugar and sugar substitutes were often used to make up for the lack of fat because let’s face it fat does make food taste good. During this time trans-fats also became very prominent in the food manufacturing industry and they found their way into just about every package food in the store, from doughnuts, baked goods, frozen meals and microwave meals to margarine.  

What are these trans-fats and what do they do? trans fats are in fact vegetable oils to which a hydrogen molecule has been added so that it becomes solid at room temperature, margarine is a great example of this. Trans fats were used because they provided a cheaper option, not only that but the use of them also increased the shelf life of the products in question. However, we now know that they are not good for our health and have been linked with health problems such as strokes, type 2 diabetes and heart attacks. Not only that but research has also shown that they actually increase your ‘bad’ cholesterol while reducing your ‘good’ cholesterol.  

Reading labels and actually looking at the ingredients, is one of the main things I focus on when working with clients, as this can help them make the right decision and understand the product that they are thinking of buying.  

Another type of fat which is found in food is saturated fat, this is the fat found in, meat, red meat, butter, milk, yogurts and cheese. These fats are not necessarily bad for you if eaten in moderation, so it is better to keep the consumption of these fats to about 10% of your daily food intake.

We then move onto the healthy fats, which are actually good for us in so many ways:  

  • They help to keep our skin water-proof. 
  • They support the production of hormones. 
  • They provide fuel for the body.
  • They are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A,D, E and K.
  • They support our immune system. 

These fats are the ones founds in, nuts, seeds, olives, oily fish and oils such as olive oil and nut oils. When looking at the diet that keeps coming out on top, the Mediterranean diet is proof in point that these fats are good for our health but again, without going to extremes. These healthy fats should be making up about 20-25% of our daily diet. So next time you go grocery shopping, just have a look at the ingredients and see what you find, you can then make the right choice for you and your family. 

Susan Alsembach, Registered Holistic Nutrition, RHN.
Ezcape Spa & Wellness

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