Fat. Just thinking about it would make you feel guilty. However, fat is as important as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It helps nerve transmission, hormone production, brain function, and insulation of the body and its organs.
Fat can be placed into three categories - monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated.
Monounsaturated fats lower cholesterol and are high in vitamin E, an essential fatty acid
. Our bodies can't produce it so it is important to get it from foods like sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocados, olives and olive oil.
Polyunsaturated fats include essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6. It produces neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps us concentrate and perform at our best. Omega 3 reduces the thickness in the blood and controls cholesterol and fat levels.
Lower levels of omegas can be found in oily fish. It is recommended the amount of unsaturated fat should not exceed 30 per cent of a person's daily caloric intake.
Saturated fat should be consumed in small quantities. It is found in dairy products, sausages, red meats and coconut oil. A high saturated fat intake may put you at risk of heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol.
In 1999 volunteers were assigned either a Mediterranean or a controlled diet. Those assigned the Mediterranean diet showed a significantly decreased likelihood of suffering a second heart attack, cardiac death, heart failure or stroke.
The world health organisation has concluded that saturated fats affect our cholesterol and heart disease in a negative way. It recommends avoiding saturated fats to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If worried about your fat intake get in touch with your GP or other health professionals.