The skinny on fat

For years we've been told that eating fat will add inches to our waistline, raise cholesterol and cause a slew of health problems. But it turns out fats can be your friend if you choose them wisely. While the “bad ones” can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats (the mono- and poly- unsaturated kind) can protect your brain and heart.

In fact, your body needs healthy fats such as omega-3s to function. Of your total daily calories, 25 to 30 per cent should come from good fats, since they help you absorb vitamins A, D and E; improve mood; boost energy; are vital for your nervous system and even help control weight.

Fulfil your daily intake with items such as olives, olive oils (1 tablespoon contains 8g of good fat), avocados, nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.) and nut butters, seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flaxseed), fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc.), fish oil, soymilk and tofu, to name only a few good choices.

In addition to sautéing, dipping bread and making your own salad dressing, Oleiva, one of the leading exporters of genuine EVOO in the Mediterranean, shares three ways to help you get your daily dose of good fat.

1. Make a delicious tapenade. If you like olives, you'll love tapenade. Great on breads, vegetables and fish, this versatile condiment can also garnish sandwiches or boiled potatoes. Simply blend black or green olives with garlic, anchovies and herbs and drizzle authentic extra virgin olive oil until smooth and spreadable.

2. Eat your pastas aglio e olio (with garlic and olive oil) or with homemade pesto. Though the most popular pesto is made with basil, you can whip pesto with a myriad of other herbs including parsley, cilantro and even tarragon. Simply blend basil, EVOO, pine nuts and parmesan in a food processor and spoon over cooked pasta, soups or even canapés.

3. Make your own hummus. There is no need to pay a fortune when you can make your own in seconds using one pot. In a food processor, simply blend chickpeas, tahini, EVOO and garlic until smooth. Garnish with your favourite topping like chopped olives, roasted red peppers or simply a gulp of EVOO and enjoy. Need more food foodspiration? Visit for nutritious recipe ideas.