Nutrition professionals have had unbelievably incredible success with demonising perfectly healthy food. Eggs, for instance, are among the most beneficial foods on the planet. The contents of an egg are sufficient to turn a single fertilized cell into an entire baby chicken. And just because eggs contain a large amount of cholesterol, people have been made to believe that eggs cause heart problems and other complications. Oh, and it’s probably going to make you fat too.
And then, we are back to the chicken and egg question: to eat or not to eat.
In fact, almost all the benefits and nutrients are found in the yolk while the white is nothing but protein. Telling people to ditch the yellows may be just the most oxymoronic nutritional advice in history.
Fats are macronutrients; which mean nutrients that we consume in large amounts and give us energy. The bastardising of fats has been going on for decades, and especially in recent years, the fat stigma has become more distressing. And all fingers point directly at food as the main culprit.
There may be 101 ways to debunk fat myths, but what have been proven are the functional health benefits of fats, which include improving brain health, regulating production of hormones and genes, as an energy source as well as insulation for body organs and the efficient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K.
At the end of the day, most people have already been ‘trained’ to choose low-fat foods over high-fat options since fat has been positioned as a dietary enemy.
Of course, there are some bad fats in the food chain (and we know what they are) that actually do raise the risk of heart diseases and other health issues. But before we start blaming fatty food for our health problems, let’s break down the fats and look at fat foods that are actually proven to be very good for you.
There are almost 8 million posts on #avocado on Instagram and the avo-craze is still growing across the globe. No stranger to a healthy diet, avocados are loaded with about 77% fat, by calories, making them even higher in fat than most animal-based foods. Studies show that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less and have less belly fat than those who don’t. The fruit also has huge benefits for cardiovascular health.
It takes an entire cup of milk is used to produce a single thick slide of cheese. Cheese is incredibly nutritious as a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium. With every thick slice containing 6.7 grams of protein (similar to a glass of milk), cheese boasts powerful fatty acids that have been linked to all sorts of health benefits, including reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Each serving of dark chocolate (1oz or about 3 fingers’ worth) contains about 9 grams of fat. Though half of its fat content is saturated (eat wisely), dark chocolate contains healthy fats and various healthy nutrients including vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and flavonoids (a type of antioxidants). And did you know 1oz of dark chocolate has 3 grams of fibre? – pretty much a vegetable.
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (essential for brain function), so ground flaxseed is a great way for vegetarians (or those who don’t eat fish) to meet their daily dietary needs. Flaxseed also contains up to 800 times more lignans than other plant-based foods. Just one cup of ground flaxseed contains a whopping 48 grams of healthy, unsaturated fat.
You’ve probably have heard of coconut oil by now. But have you ever come across coconut butter? It tastes like the most decadent, sinful, oh-so-bad-for-you indulgence. Except, it’s not. Coconut butter is actually good for you and is packed with health benefits. Besides boosting immunity and metabolism, coconut butter contains a good amount of healthy fats, which makes you feel full longer. Perfect straight out from the jar, for cooking or even baking – just like butter but way better!
Generally not perceived as a ‘fatty’ food, the small but mighty seeds are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (higher than salmon per serving), fibre, protein, essential minerals and antioxidants. In fact, chia seeds are around 80% fat, which makes them an excellent high-fat plant food. Declared the ‘superfood’ of the century, chia seeds are remarkably flexible in various healthy recipes from smoothies to overnight ready-to-eat-when-you-wake-up puddings.
We’ve said enough. Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth; loaded with vitamins and minerals. In fact, eggs contain a little bit of almost every single nutrient we need in our daily intake. Despite being high in fat, eggs are also a weight loss friendly food – fulfilling and high in protein. And the best eggs are omega-3 enriched or pastured. So go ahead and eat your eggs.