Monounsaturated Fats: A Beginner's Guide

Nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fats. (Image via Unsplash/ Maksim Shutov)
Nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fats. (Image via Unsplash/Maksim Shutov)

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats should make up most your diet for optimal health, instead of saturated fats or trans fats.

Vitamin E, an essential antioxidant that aids in shielding cells from harmful free radicals, is present in large quantities in monounsaturated fats (MUF). When consumed in moderation and utilized to substitute trans-fat and saturated fat in your diet, these fats can have a positive impact on the heart.


What are Monounsaturated Fats?

Monounsaturated fats are a source of healthy fats. (Image via Unsplash/Yoav Hornung)
Monounsaturated fats are a source of healthy fats. (Image via Unsplash/Yoav Hornung)

Dietary fats come in a variety of forms, including monounsaturated fats. Along with polyunsaturated fat, it's one of the good fats. Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature but begin to solidify when cold.

Trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are solid at normal temperatures. These harmful fats can raise the risk of heart disease and other illnesses. Plant-based foods like almonds, avocados, and vegetable oils include monounsaturated fats.

Your health cna improve by replacing trans and saturated fats with monounsaturated (and polyunsaturated) fats in moderation.


Is Monounsaturated Fat Bad?

Peanut butter is a good fat as it contains monounsaturated fats. (Image via Unsplash/Towfiqu Barbhuiya)
Peanut butter is a good fat as it contains monounsaturated fats. (Image via Unsplash/Towfiqu Barbhuiya)

Dietitians, nutritionists, and other specialists generally agree that saturated fat is less healthy than unsaturated fat. Saturated fat's overall health benefits, though, are still debatable.

Due to their demonstrated benefits for insulin levels and glucose control, blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides, and (reduction of inflammation), all of which are key risk factors for disease, a study has shown that MUFAs can be helpful for cardiovascular (heart) health.

Monounsaturated fat-rich diets can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. According to research, eating a diet high in MUFAs lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol but raises HDL cholesterol. There are a few ways they could accomplish that.

Check out the list of foods that are bad for cholesterol

For instance, MUFAs, an unsaturated fat, increase the amount of LDL receptors on the liver. As more receptors are present, more LDL is taken up by them from the blood, lowering LDL cholesterol level.


Monounsaturated Fat Foods

Here's a list of some common monosaturated fats to include in your diet:

Nut

Nuts are a wonderful source of protein and dietary fiber, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. They also contain heart-healthy fats. Just be mindful of portions and pick unsalted varieties.

Oil

Use liquid oils instead of solid fats, such as olive and canola (e.g., butter). Use oil in salad dressing or to saute fish, meat, vegetables, poultry, and tofu.

Avocado

Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats as well as dietary fibers. (Image via Unsplash/GilNdjouwou)
Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats as well as dietary fibers. (Image via Unsplash/GilNdjouwou)

In addition to monounsaturated fat, avocados are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamins (folate and vitamins B6, C and E). Salads, soups, eggs and sandwiches can taste better by the addition of avocado.

Check out the potential benefits of avocado for the skin.

Peanut butter

In peanut butter, monounsaturated fat makes up almost half the total fat content.

Flax seeds

In addition to being an excellent source of healthy fats, flax seeds are well-known for their high fiber content. They can be used in place of eggs when baking or as an additional source of fiber in smoothies.

Sardines

Despite the fact that many varieties of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, sardines are particularly high in monounsaturated fat.


Polyunsaturated Fat vs Monounsaturated Fat

Omega-9s, or monosaturated fats, are fatty acids containing one double bond in the fatty acid chain. These fats are liquid at room temperature because of the resulting L-shaped bend in the molecule.

Fatty acids with more than one double bond in the fatty acid chain are referred to as polyunsaturated fats (also known as omega-3s and omega-6s). A chain bend makes these lipids liquid at room temperature.


The following are only a few of the many health benefits of mono- and polyunsaturated fats:

  • Defend against coronary artery disease
  • Stroke prevention
  • Improve vitamin absorption, prevent diabetes, and promote healthy nerve function
  • Keep your immune system strong
  • Encourage the growth of cells

Generally speaking, monounsaturated fat is slightly healthier than polyunsaturated fat.

The kind of fat you consume matters for your health, even if all forms of fats have the same caloric impact. Although switching from saturated to monounsaturated fats may initially seem intimidating, it's not as frightening as it seems.

Edited by Bhargav