A balanced diet includes a lot of things: vitamins, minerals and, well, fat. Why? Because the nutrient keeps your organs, cells, and body running smoothly.
While years ago we feared the concept of eating fat – as it led to weight gain and was bad for your heart – now, we know that this concept is not actually true. In fact, fat can reduce inflammation, prevent certain cancers, and improve heart health.
But some sources of fat are more beneficial than others, says leading dietitian, Susie Burrell.
“Unsaturated fats which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats play a functional role in the body,” she tells Men’s Health.
“While we still need to consume controlled amounts of fats, they do not directly increase inflammation or blood cholesterol and are more likely to be utilised as fuel. This is compared to saturated and trans fats of which we need very little of, and can increase blood fats, inflammation and are associated with fat storage and inflammation.”
These are often referred to as “healthy fats.” So why are they healthy?
“There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6, whereas monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, canola oil, avocado and different types of nuts and these fats can be included as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Adding a handful of nuts or spreading a 30g serve of Mayver’s Peanut Butter onto a corn or brown rice cake as an afternoon snack is an easy and tasty way to begin incorporating portion controlled serves of the right unsaturated fats into your diet.”
1. Jam for 100% natural nut spread
Typically, jams contain around 60% sugar which makes it very easy to exceed your daily recommended intake of sugar. Instead switch jam for a 100% natural nut spread like Mayver’s Peanut Butter. Natural nut spreads don’t contain any sugar, include protein which helps keep you fuller for longer and good plant-based fats.
2. Chicken breast for salmon
Both chicken and salmon provide great sources of protein and while chicken takes the lead in total protein per 100 gram serving (31 grams) over salmon (25 grams), salmon offers a lot more variety in terms of nutrition and is a fantastic source of Omega-3.
3. Sourdough bread for soy linseed
If you’re looking for a bread that will not only provide a boost of Omega-3 but also dietary fibre, zinc and magnesium, swap your sourdough loaf for a soy linseed.
4. Handful of dried fruit for a handful of mixed nuts
While dried fruit can boost your fibre and nutrient intake, it’s also high in sugar and calories when eaten in excess. Swap your handful of dried fruit for a handful of mixed nuts for a zero sugar and protein filled snack that has plenty of good fats.
5. Chocolate spread for a 100% natural cacao spread
When choosing a chocolate spread you should always look at the list of ingredients first as they’re listed in order of percentage. If the first couple of ingredients include sugar and vegetable oil then you should put it back on the shelf. But if you’re craving a chocolate hit, a much more nutritious option is a 100% natural cacao spread like Mayver’s Cacao Super Spread. It contains a high amount of protein (17.6g per 100g serving), plenty of healthy plant based fats and a lot less sugar.