Fats and cholesterol

Appetite for Life

Fats and cholesterol

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We all need to eat some fat in our diet. But which fats are better than others?  Fats can be classified into two groups, ‘unsaturated’ (better choice) and ‘saturated’ (less healthy choice).

Here are some ideas to help you get more of the healthier fats into your day.

Enjoy healthier fats

Unsaturated fats can help keep your blood cholesterol levels healthy. This can reduce your risk of getting heart disease. Unsaturated fats are found in fish, nuts and avocado as well as olive and canola oils.

Here are some ideas to get healthy fats into your day:

  • Eat fish two or three times a week, especially fish like tuna, salmon and sardines. Tinned or fresh fish are both good options.
  • A handful of nuts is full of unsaturated fats and makes a great snack.
  • Enjoy nut butters and pastes like peanut butter.
  • Use olive oil or canola oil for cooking.
  • Use a canola or olive oil-based margarine or avocado in place of butter.

Reduce saturated fats

Too much saturated and trans fats can increase cholesterol and lead to heart disease.

Saturated fats are found in processed meat and animal fats like lard, dripping or butter. They are also in coconut and palm oil. Replace these products with unsaturated fats where possible. Here are some ways you can help reduce unhealthy fats:

  • Remove the fat from meat and skin from chicken.
  • Eat less processed meats like sausages, salami and devon.
  • Only eat deep-fried foods occasionally.
  • Eat foods such as pies, pastries, cakes, biscuits, buns and chocolate only now and then, when you really feel like them.

Enjoy eating well

To help keep your cholesterol levels in check, enjoy a variety of food every day including:

  • five serves of vegetables
  • two serves of fruit
  • wholegrain cereals, breads, pasta and rice
  • lean cuts of meat, seafood and eggs
  • fresh or canned fish at least twice a week
  • plenty of water.

This general advice was accurate at the time of publication (June 2020). For more information about nutrition and your individual needs, see your GP  or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.