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Monounsaturated Fat: Foods and Health Benefits

Monounsaturated Fat: Foods and Health Benefits

While saturated and trans fats increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) have the opposite effect. Find out exactly what is monounsaturated fat and which food you should eat to get all of its benefits.

What is Monounsaturated Fat?

Fats with a single double-bonded carbon atom are called monounsaturated fats and they’re mostly liquid at room temperature. Olive oil, peanut oil and safflower oil are foods with a very high content of monounsaturated fats that start turning solid when placed in the refrigerator.

When replacing trans or saturated fats, monounsaturated fats can have a very healthy effect on your body, since they lower levels of “bad” LDL Cholesterol and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, including strokes. MUFAs also help stabilizing insulin levels and controlling blood sugar levels, which is very important for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Monounsaturated Fat: Foods and Health Benefits

Foods High in Monounsaturated Fats

One of the best monounsaturated fat foods is olive oil. It’s not good just for salads, you can also substitute less healthy oils when you cook with olive oil. Use it when you cook on the stove or oven and forget about deep frying. If you’re not a fan, but would like to heat more foods high in monounsaturated fats, simply eat more olives. Whether they’re black or green, they contain plenty of healthy fats and can be added to a wide variety of recipes.

Nuts, from almonds and macadamias to peanuts, are even better examples of foods rich in monounsaturated fats. They also pack a lot of calories, so don’t substitute every snack with nuts, especially if they’re salted. Peanut butter is another great source of monounsaturated fats, but avoid varieties with a very high sodium content.

Monounsaturated Fat: Foods and Health Benefits

Avocados have plenty of monounsaturated fats and can be an excellent replacement for mayonnaise. Since they’re also rich in protein and fibers, avocados are one of the foods high in monounsaturated fats, and more, they can also help you feel fuller for longer.

Other foods with monounsaturated fats include peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, along with nuts and peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. Remember to eat them in moderation, they can have a high calorie content and monounsaturated fat should replace saturated fats and trans fats, not simply become an addition to your diet.

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Photos: Thinkstock

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