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Nutrition: why fats are not necessarily bad for your health

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All foods contain fat, even carrots and lettuce contain a small amount, but some fats are healthier than others. Sure, fats provide plenty of calories per gram, but they can also be loaded with nutrients. In fact, some are described as “essential fats” and it’s important to include them in your diet.

No more than 35% of your daily calories should come from fat (about 70g for women or 90g for men). While most of us don’t exceed this threshold, we generally eat too many bad types of fat and not enough good ones.

Which fats are good for you?

  • The Mediterranean diet, rich in healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds and fish, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Olive oil reduce blood pressure and total cholesterol. It does, however, contain 99 calories per tablespoon, so it should be used sparingly.
  • Nuts are full of good fats, including short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that, eaten in moderation, they can reduce the risk of heart disease, and they make a great snack!
  • fatty fish contains high levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered important for health but cannot be made by the body. This type of omega-3 is linked to brain development and joint function. Salmon, mackerel and sardines are good examples of healthy fatty fish.

Which fats should you avoid?

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A maximum of 10% of your daily calorie needs should come from saturated fat (20g for women or 30g for men), but many of us exceed that figure. Saturated fats are found in cakes, cookies, cheese, butter, cream, coconut oil and fatty cuts of meat. Here are simple ways to reduce your saturated fat intake.

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