According to the guidelines of the Sinu (Italian Society of Human Nutrition), i fat they should provide 20% to 35% of your daily calories. «The fundamental condition, however, is that those “Good” (ie mono and polyunsaturated) are in clear prevalence », explains Lucilla Titta, nutrition biologist who coordinates the SmartFood project, a research program in nutrition and communication sciences promoted by the European Institute of Oncology in Milan.
The good news is that if you follow this indication, you protect your heart and do not gain weight: this is demonstrated by the multicentre Predimed study, published in New England Journal of Medicine.
What the science says
The research monitored the cardiovascular health of over 7,000 people, divided into 3 groups. The first was recommended to use about 4-6 tablespoons a day of extra virgin olive oil, the second to add 30 g of dried fruit, the third to follow a low-fat diet in general. In the end, it turned out that those who ate more “good” fats (those of oil and nuts) had less heart and circulation problems and did not gain weight, unlike those who followed the low fat diet.
So let’s try to understand, with the help of the expert, how to translate these important dietary indications into practice.
- Almonds, walnuts & Co
30 g per day
Thanks to its essential fatty acids, dried fruit has a protective role for our health. «Attention, 30 grams a day are enough, that is about 5 or 6 walnuts or 15 almonds or hazelnuts. With this quantity it has been shown that total cholesterol is reduced, good cholesterol is raised, HDLand also the waistline decreases », explains the nutritionist.
Feasting on it doesn’t provide the same benefits, plus it can cause digestive problems. It is also essential to choose only unsalted dried fruit, otherwise the protective effect for the heart is canceled.
- Extra virgin olive oil
4-5 tablespoons per day
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins which have a protective role against heart disease and metabolism and, it seems, even some forms of cancer. «It can be eaten both raw and cooked, because even at high temperatures it does not lose its qualities. The right dose? More than what is generally thought: 5-6 spoons a day for a man and 4-5 for a woman », explains the nutritionist. Basically, the seasoning for a bruschetta, a plate of raw vegetables and two cooked ones.
Do you need to control your weight? «Rather than cutting on oil, it is better to limit refined carbohydrates: non-wholemeal pasta and bread and desserts. Of course, the fact that this fat is considered healthy does not mean that you can exaggerate, thinking that the more you eat the better: in addition to having a high calorie content, it also has a fair percentage of saturated fat, about 10% ».
- Blue fish
3 times a week
Salmon, tuna, sardines and, in general, blue fish are rich in precious things Omega 3 fatsessential for the prevention of cardiovascular disorders but also of type 2 diabetes. “To ensure the right quantity, it is enough to eat three portions of fish a week, trying to vary the type,” recommends Dr. Titta.
We do not focus only on salmon, for example, especially since in many cases it comes from intensive farming. Fresh tuna, like all large fish, is at risk of mercury contamination. The canned one, on the other hand, is considered safer (because the specimens used are generally small and younger), but it is still a preserved product and rich in salt. Mackerel, sardines, anchovies from our seas are, on the other hand, a safe and decidedly economic source.