To help look
after your heart it's important to keep an eye on how much fat you
are eating as well as making sure you choose the right type of
Avoid saturated fats
Avoid saturated fats wherever possible. Butter,
lard, ghee, palm oil and coconut oil are all high in
Too much saturated fats can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can
increase the risk of developing coronary
Avoid trans fats
Avoid these wherever possible. These fats are
most likely to be found in foods such as biscuits, cakes, pastries
and deep fried foods.
Trans fats occur naturally in
small amounts in dairy foods and meat, however it is the
industrially produced trans fats which have a similar effect
to saturated fat, as they can increase the amount of cholesterol in
Have monounsaturated fats in small amounts
Have these in small amounts. Olive oil,
rapeseed oil and spreads which are made from these oils, as
well as some nuts and seeds, are all high in monunsaturated
fats. Monounsaturated fats can help to maintain healthy
Have polyunsaturated fats in small amounts
Have these in small amounts. Soya,
vegetable and sunflower oil as well as spreads made from
these oils, are all high in polyunsaturated fats.Polyunsaturated
fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and provide
essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fats are a particular type of
polyunsaturated fat found in oily
fish that can help protect heart health. Try
to have at least one portion of oily fish
a week eg. fresh or tinned salmon,
sardines and mackeral. If you have had a heart attack, aim for
two to three portions a week.
Although other sources of omega-3 fats include
walnuts, tofu and
vegetables, we don't yet know for certain if the
omega-3 fats in these foods bring exactly the same benefits as the
omega-3 fats from oily fish.
Top tips to help you reduce your saturated fat
- Swap butter, lard, ghee and coconut and palm
oils with small amounts of
monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as
olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils and
- Choose lean cuts of meat and make sure you
trim any excess fat and remove the
skin from chicken and turkey.
- Instead of pouring oils straight from the bottle, use a
spray oil or measure out your
oils with a teaspoon.
- Read food labels to help
you make choices that are lower in total fat
and in particular saturated fat.
- Opt to grill, bake,
steam, boil or
poach your foods.
- Make your own salad dressings using
ingredients like balsamic vinegar, low fat yoghurt, lemon juice,
and herbs, with a dash of olive oil.
- Use semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed
milk rather than whole or condensed milk.
- Cottage cheese, ricotta and
extra light soft cheese are examples of low fat
cheese options. Remember that many cheeses are high in saturated
fat so keep your portions small - matchbox
sized. Opt for strongly flavoured varieties
and grate it to make a little go a long way.