What are monounsaturated fats and foods that contain them?

As you already know, it is important for your daily routine and especially for your health to eat a balanced diet and eat the healthiest possible foods. Fats are a type of nutrient that we eat every day and that is very beneficial; in fact, it is important to eat high-fat foods to give your body the energy it needs to carry out activities.

However, eating too much fat can be harmful to your body. It is essential to be aware of the types of fats you can find, since there are good fats and bad fats. In this article, we want to help you differentiate these fats and show you what monounsaturated fats are and what foods contain them so you can lead a healthier life.

What are monounsaturated fats

To be able to talk about monounsaturated fats and the importance of their consumption, it is necessary to first know the characteristics of the two most important types of fats that exist: saturated and unsaturated. Throughout the text we will focus on unsaturated fats and, more specifically, monounsaturated fats, but let”s first see the different between these types of fat:

Differences between saturated and unsaturated fats

  • The fact that saturated fats are known as “bad or harmful fats” and unsaturated fats, by contrast, are called “good fats” already says a lot about the difference between the two.
  • Saturated fats are in a solid state at room temperature (butter) while unsaturated fats are in liquid states (oils).
  • Saturated fats are present mainly in all foods of animal origin, while you will find unsaturated fats in foods of plant origin.
  • Another difference is that saturated fats raise cholesterol, while unsaturated fats lower it.

Now that we have seen the differences between these fats, you know that when we refer to bad fats we are talking about saturated fats or Trans fats, while if we talk about good and healthy fats we are referring to unsaturated fats, a group in which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

In this way, we see that monounsaturated fats are those that you should ingest due to the multiple benefits they can bring to your body. Also called monounsaturated fatty acids, they are dietary fats that line the arteries and are responsible for:

  • Regulate the physiological functions of the body
  • Participate in the optimal development and growth of children
  • Optimize the functioning of the nervous system
  • Maintain optimal brain health
  • They help improve the absorption of nutrients

Health benefits of monounsaturated fats

The biggest advantage of eating monounsaturated fats is that, unlike saturated or trans fats, they do not cause health problems or damage the heart, but rather prevent possible cardiovascular diseases. But this is not the only benefit of eating monounsaturated fats:

  • It helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and helps prevent arteries from getting clogged or blocked.
  • These fats also help build and maintain your cells.
  • There are several experts who say that the consumption of monounsaturated fats can significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
  • They are good for weight loss, which is why foods that contain monounsaturated fats are often present in diets. These fats are also a great ally to reduce belly fat.
  • Reduces pain in patients suffering from arthritis.

Monounsaturated fat foods

Next, we show you the foods that contain monounsaturated fats so that you know where to find this type of nutrient and you can take advantage of all its properties. Among the most common sources of monounsaturated fats you can find:

  • Avocados: avocados are a great food due to the high protein content they can provide. In this article on what are the properties of avocado, you will discover exactly how this food can help you improve your health.
  • Olive, canola and rapeseed oil.
  • Nuts: Nuts are an essential food for a diet rich in monounsaturated fats. Add almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts or pistachios to your menu and you will soon notice their benefits.

If you want to expand this information further, do not miss this article on What foods contain healthy fats .

Recommended amount of monounsaturated fats in the diet

Your body requires fats to obtain energy and to be able to carry out its vital functions, but you must watch the amount of fat you eat, since especially saturated and Trans fats could cause serious health problems if you consume them in excess. Therefore, the best option is to substitute foods with saturated and trans fats for foods rich in monounsaturated fats. Next, we bring you the recommended amount of monounsaturated fats to ingest:

  • If you want to include fat in your diet, remember that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the best option, but always without exceeding 35% of your daily calorie intake.
  • If you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems, limit saturated fat to less than 7% of your daily calorie intake. If you are not sure which foods contain these types of fats, take a look at this article on What are the bad fats

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