Good Fats for Your Health

 We often hear that "fats" are bad for you in which the consequences of eating too much fat in our diet, plus not having enough exercise, might lead to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and also cancer. However, not all fats are bad for you. Fat is very essential to one's health and its functions include:

Supplies essential fatty acids - linoleic and linolenic acid - that our body cannot produce. These fatty acids are essential for brain and eye development in children and also skin health for adults.
Enhances absorption of fat soluble vitamins (e.g. vitamin A, D, E and K).
Supplies energy
Protects internal organs
Insulates the body to keep you warm during winter
Satisfies hunger when moderate amount of fats are included in a meal

In order to enhance heart heath, it is very important to choose the right fats in your diet. It is widely understand that one should limit saturated fats and cholesterol intake in order to prevent raised blood cholesterol. High cholesterol and saturated fat foods include fatty meats, offal, skin, full fat dairy products, butter, coconut and palm oil and fried foods, etc. Conversely, unsaturated fats are actually good for your heart by lowering your bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein - LDL) and triglycerides, and also increase good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein - HDL) in the blood.

Two Major Types of Unsaturated Fats Include:

 1. Polyunsaturated fats - lowers LDL and triglyceride levels

Oil: corn, sunflower and soybean oil
Fatty fish: mackerel, salmon, sardine, swordfish
Soy products: tofu, soy milk, bean curd

2. Monounsaturated fats - lowers LDL and raises HDL levels

Oil: canola and olive oil
Seeds & nuts: almond, hazelnut nut, sesame & pumpkin seeds
Avocado, olive

Tips to Increase Your Good Fats

Use vegetable oil, especially canola and olive oil when cooking.
Eat fish at least 2 times per week, preferably fatty fish.
Eat 30grams (1 ounce) of unsalted nuts and seeds everyday.
Have soy products at least once to twice weekly.
Percentage of Types of Fat in Common Oils and Fats*

Oils Saturated Mono-unsaturated Poly-unsaturated
Sunflower 10 20 66
Corn 13 24 60
Olive 13 72 8
  Soybean 16 44 37
  Peanut 17 49 32
Palm 50 37 10
Coconut 87 6 2
*Values expressed as percent of total fat; data are from analyses at Harvard School of Public Health Lipid Laboratory and U.S.D.A. publications.
Good Fat Recipe:
Soy and Honey Swordfish Fillets (4 serves) on Garlic Spinach


8 pieces


Swordfish fillet, bones removed but skin

Swordfish marinade:  
4 tablespoons Honey
4 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Ginger, grounded
1 teaspoon Sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
Spinach Ingredients:
250 g Spinach leaves, washed
1 clove 1 garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon Olive oil
  Salt & pepper

Cooking methods:

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a container and place the swordfish fillet in it and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the swordfish from the marinade. Place them on a tray under a moderately hot oven. Grill for 5 - 10 minutes on each side until the fillet is slightly crispy.
  3. While fish is grilling, heat olive and sesame oil in a wok over a moderately high heat. Stir fry garlic for around 30 seconds, add the spinach and cook it stirring until the leaves our wilted and tender. Season the spinach with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Place the swordfish fillets on a bed of spinach, then serve.

Written by Sylvia S.W. Lam APD

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