Monounsaturated fats will change your general perception of fats. They have always had a bad reputation because they are associated with weight gain and cardiovascular disease, but this is not the case. Healthy fats are essential for many metabolic and physiological processes that are fundamental to health.
The body needs fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, support immune response, form neurotransmitters and regulate gene expression.
The key is to know which type of fat is the right one when to eat these foods and how much. In this article, we will answer all these questions, and explain the different types of fats and in which foods you can find monounsaturated fats.
What does monounsaturated fat mean?
Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are a healthy and essential component of the diet. Unlike saturated fats, which can have negative health effects, monounsaturated fats can promote cardiovascular health and help control weight, among other benefits. It is important to choose the right foods when to eat them and to eat them in the right amounts.
What are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats?
According to their chemical structure, there are 4 types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans-fatty acids.
Fat is an essential macronutrient that should always be present in the diet in adequate amounts. The recommended fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
The fats to avoid are saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, as they do not provide any benefit to the body, yet increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Foods high in saturated fats, such as butter, are usually solid at room temperature.
Healthy fats: what are they?
Monounsaturated fats: a type of unsaturated fat, usually in a liquid state at room temperature, such as olive oil, and with only one double bond in its structure. There are many types of monounsaturated fats, but oleic acid is the most common (90% of those in our diet). Others are palmitoleic acid and vaccenic acid.
Polyunsaturated fats: There are 2 types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are essential fatty acids that the body needs for brain function and cell growth. However, our body cannot produce them, so it is necessary to obtain them through diet.
According to Harvard University, the main sources of polyunsaturated fats are oily fish, sunflower, corn, soybean and flaxseed oils, walnuts and flaxseeds.
4 benefits of monounsaturated fats
Numerous scientific studies show that monounsaturated fats have important health benefits that you should know about:
They help to lose weight
All fats provide the same amount of energy, 9 calories per gram. Unlike carbohydrates and proteins which provide 4 calories per gram.
This leads people to think that cutting down on fat is an effective way to reduce calories and lose weight. However, science tells us that a diet with moderate-high amounts of monounsaturated fats is one of the best options for weight loss, as long as you don’t take in more calories than you burn.
Studies have shown that when calorie intake is maintained, diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help weight loss.
It is more effective to consume more monounsaturated fatty acids to replace other calories than to consume more carbohydrates or add extra calories to the diet.
Contribute to reducing the risk of cancer
Diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids may help reduce some types of cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer.
Helps reduce risk factors for heart disease
Increasing monounsaturated fats can reduce risk factors for heart disease, especially if they are replaced by saturated fats.
A high intake of monounsaturated fats can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, which helps prevent clogged arteries, heart attacks or strokes, as well as lowering blood pressure.
Help to improve insulin sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar by moving it from the blood into the cells. Its production is important to prevent type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar levels.
A diet rich in monounsaturated fats can improve insulin sensitivity.
A study of 162 healthy people found that a diet rich in these fatty acids maintained for 3 months improved insulin sensitivity by 9%.
Another study of 472 people with metabolic syndrome showed a reduction in insulin resistance after 12 weeks on a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
Healthy foods with monounsaturated fats
Many foods are high in this type of fatty acid, but most are a combination of different fats. There are very few foods that contain only one type of fat. For example, olive oil is very rich in monounsaturated and other types of fats.
These fats are found in foods of plant origin:
- Olive, peanut and canola oil.
- Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts.
- Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame.
- Olives (glutamate-free recommended).
Recommended daily fat intake
In terms of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), fats should provide 30-35% of daily energy intake in adults.
Most people do not consume enough healthy unsaturated fats. The American Heart Association suggests that eating more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Monounsaturated fats are essential for our health
Fats have essential functions for the body, which is why they should never be eliminated. It is necessary to choose more healthy fats and avoid saturated fats, always taking into account the quantities to comply with the recommended daily calorie intake according to each person’s habits.
Fats carry vitamins A, D, E and K for absorption, help us withstand low temperatures, provide energy, and protect vital organs such as the kidneys and heart.
To enhance its benefits and support the daily diet, G7 Orgono Col capsules naturally contribute to cardiovascular health. They contain grape extract and omega-3 fatty acids.
Along with polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats are considered healthy fats, as they can reduce the risk of heart disease.
It is important to emphasise that all the benefits of monounsaturated fats mentioned in this article are not obtained by adding more calories to your diet, but by replacing foods that contain more simple carbohydrates or saturated fats with foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Remember that if you are considering a dietary change, it never hurts to consult a nutritionist to ensure that your change will be healthy, progressive and effective.