OH! Magazine - Australian Version June 2018 - Page 8

( NUTRITION ) FIVE HIGH FAT FOODS FOR GOOD HEALTH Dr Joanna explores new research findings. n the past we were told that fat makes us fat and following a low fat diet was the key to better health and weight control. If you continue to have that hangover from the low fat era, it’s time for a rethink. I Fats play an important role in your diet. They deliver energy of course, but they also carry fat-soluble vitamins and many important plant compounds such as antioxidants. They play a role in slowing the process of emptying your stomach, as well as helping to moderate appetite. They influence cholesterol production in the liver, and specific fats are necessary in the body for the functioning of different systems as well as for optimum brain and skin health. But that is not a carte blanche to tuck into lashings of butter, cream and coconut oil! While there has been some debate over the links between saturated fat and health, the bottom line is that while these fats may not be as bad for us as once thought, they don’t deliver health benefits either. pressure, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes, it’s anti- inflammatory and it’s fabulous for skin health. salads, mix with chilli, lime and red onion to make a glorious salsa, mash with coriander and lemon juice to make a guacamole dip or add to a green smoothie for a deliciously creamy flavour. The fresher and higher quality the oil is, the better it is for you. That’s because not only does Extra Virgin Olive Oil contain predominantly healthy monounsaturated fats, it is also a rich source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds. The majority of Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oils meet the high industry standards recommended and I’m delighted to say that after leading advocacy group CHOICE testing 23 supermarket extra virgin olive oils, they announced Australian Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the best performer! 3. Walnuts Use extra virgin olive oil to cook with (yes it is safe), drizzle, flavour and dress. 2. Avocado On the other hand there are high fat foods that really do have research backing to show that they have many benefits for our health. This is via the types of fats in the food, but also what comes along with the fat. So let’s take a look at five of the top healthy high fat foods that you should be eating: 1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Naturally you knew this one would be top of the list! I’ve been a long term supporter of Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it really is a quality product and when it comes to oil, quality really matters. Research continues to grow to show that Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps to lower blood 8 OH! MAGAZINE ( JUNE 2018 ) There are only two fruits to my knowledge that are rich in fats – olives and avocados. It’s perhaps not all that surprisingly therefore that like olives, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat. This fat helps to deliver the vitamin E also present, an important antioxidant in t he body, and it’s necessary to absorb the array of plant compounds including beta- carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (these play a role in eye health). Avocados also provide fibre, vitamin C, potassium and they are excellent for folate. All up it’s a pretty impressive nutrition package. Try enjoying avocado in place of butter or margarine on bread, chop and add to Some fats we can make in the body – saturated fats for example – but others we must obtain from our food. One of these is a fat called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and this is a plant omega-3 fat. While all nuts are good for us, walnuts are pretty special as they provide almost 2g of ALA per handful – Harvard researchers recommend consuming 2-3g a day. Walnuts also contain vitamin E, the amino acid arginine which helps to keep blood vessels healthy and blood pressure under control, plant sterols that can help you to lower your blood cholesterol and they deliver a powerful boost of antioxidants. All up this makes walnuts stand out for heart health. Try snacking on a handful, adding them to a salad, blitzing with extra virgin olive oil, basil, garlic and parmesan to make a walnut pesto or use them in your baking. 4. Chia Chia as a food source can be traced back to the Mayans and Aztecs around 3500BC. They recognised its value in giving them energy and the messengers who travelled on foot allegedly carried a bag of chia to keep their energy levels up while running. Like walnuts chia are rich in plant