We’re constantly bombarded with information about diets – the latest superfoods, the next best supplement, current trends. Although eating fat is pretty popular on some of today’s trending diets (Banting and Keto), there’s still an overriding message out there to eat less fat. Foods like diary come in low-fat and fat-free, meat is leaner than ever, and more and more processed foods are available in fat-free options.
It can be confusing to decipher all the messages out there, but overall, the elimination of fat in the diet can actually be detrimental to your health. While it is definitely a good idea to reduce your intake of saturated animal fats, cutting out the unsaturated, or ‘good’ fats as well is not the way to go.
Fats are a vital nutrient for the body – virtually every hormone is manufactured from fat, including oestrogen and testosterone. They are essential for the day-to-day functioning of our bodies. The key to getting the balance right is to ensure you are eating the right types of fat.
Everyone has heard of Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids, but beyond knowing they’re good for you, it all gets a bit hazy. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid found in oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies), nuts and seeds. It’s hard to get adequate quantities from food alone, so it’s often deficient in the body, yet it’s one of the most important tools for treating any kind of inflammatory issue, like eczema and acne. Omega 6 fatty acids are derived from seed oils. They too, have vitally important functions in the body, also delivering anti-inflammatory effects.
The guideline to consuming the fatty acids is a ratio of 2:1, in favour of Omega 3. The general thinking is to focus on getting the Omega 3 fatty acids into your body, and not to worry too much about the Omega 6. Try to increase your consumption of the good fats, like oily fish, but if that’s really not your cup of tea, get yourself some Omega 3 capsules from your pharmacy.