Which fats are good fats?

Nutrition Advice


Fat. Just the word sends a shudder through the diet world. And as a nutritionist, it’s absolutely maddening. Why are people still afraid of fat? It has been reinforced in misinformed diets for decades now, and my hope is that it won’t take that long to undo the damage. The fact is, there is a huge difference between “good” fat and “bad” fat. While I don’t always like using such black and white terms with food, when it comes to fat I believe it fits.

Good fats are packed with so many good things – we need them for so many things, both internal and external. Fats make and balance hormones. They help keep our skin supple and our hair thick and shiny. The simple fact that our brains are made up of fats should make it, well, a no-brainer!

And if you need further evidence, my favourite good fat sources are also packed with other nutritional must-haves:

Avocado: The monounsaturated fat actually helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, and they’re a great source of B vitamins too. I love adding it to salads, gluten-free toast…pretty much everything!

Olive oil: It’s full of fatty acids and antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart disease. One of my go-to oils for homemade salad dressings.

Coconut oil: A true superfood. The saturated fat raise good cholesterol and can improve blood cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. I use coconut oil for just about everything, as it’s great for high-heat cooking.

Tahini: A paste made from sesame seeds, tahini is not only a good source of healthy fats but is also rich in minerals like magnesium and iron, and is a phenomenal source of calcium. I love adding tahini to sauces and even smoothies.

Raw nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are packed with high quality omega 3s, -6s and -9s to reduce inflammation and promote cell growth. They’re a fantastic on-the-go snack, and also make a great crunchy topping for oats and yoghurt.

Flaxseed: The omega-3 essential fatty acids in flaxseed (or linseeds) have heart-healthy effects and are also a great source of micronutrients and dietary fiber. It’s great to add to baking (or morning pancakes), oats and smoothies.

Oily fish: Salmon is my favourite and is an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids, quality protein and essential vitamins and amino acids. Try mackerel and trout, too.

Eggs: Truly the perfect food – as long as you eat the yolks! They contain 100% of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K found in an egg, and 90% of the calcium, iron, folate, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12.

And now, the bad fats. The reason these are best to be avoided? They’re loaded with trans fats – the ones that raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol. They’re typically found (or hidden!) in processed and packaged foods such as:

  • Baked goods (cookies, cakes and biscuits)
  • Salty snacks (popcorn and chips)
  • Deep fried foods
  • Margarine

It’s quite clear that there’s a broad range of fats, both good and bad – and that it’s easy to differentiate the two. Your best bet is to always go for foods from nature; foods in their whole form, not processed. It’s time to feed your body – and mind – the good stuff!




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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.