For decades, full fat anything became the ultimate villain. Choosing the low-fat option was considered the best option for health. The opposite is in fact true.
Marketing in the diet industry pushed low-fat messaging, creating a whole host of products from fat-free cookies to frozen yoghurt. Low-fat spread and skimmed milk became the go-to items of women looking to ditch the fat.
But it’s all a lie.
Whilst all fats are not equal in the health stats, and you should steer clear of foods such as butter, cream and anything that clogs your arteries, eating a diet rich in essential fatty acids is essential for all women, but particularly midlife women.
Keep your hormones happy
Low fat diets decrease the production of oestrogen and progesterone, contributing to symptoms like insomnia, night sweats and heart palpitations.
Boost your mood
Eating good dietary fats such as avocados, nuts, extra virgin olive oil and dark chocolate helps to balance insulin and increase regular production of serotonin which helps regulate good mood. For a delicious breakfast recipe that is low in sugar but high in those good fats, try our granola recipe.
Improve brain function
Have you started to notice that you go upstairs to get something only to forget what it was you went up there for? A recent study suggests that people who eat more omega-3 fatty acids in midlife have better thinking skills and better brain function. Include oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines to get a good dose and for plant based diets, good choices include flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory, helping to boost post training recovery. This becomes even more important in midlife as muscle recovery DOES take longer as we get older. We lose the size and number of muscle fibers (strength training can slow this down) and thanks to changes in the immune system as we age, older adults tend to have a delayed inflammatory response meaning it may take a bit longer for the muscles and tissues to get what they need to recover.
That diet rich in vitamins and minerals you are eating will do nothing for your health without fat. Vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E cannot be absorbed by the body without the help of fats.
And fat really does make food taste better.