As you already know, it is important for your daily routine and above all for your health to have a balanced diet and eat the healthiest foods possible. Fats are a type of nutrient that we eat daily and that is very beneficial; in fact, it is important to eat foods rich in fat to provide your body with the energy necessary 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 that 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 first necessary to 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, on monounsaturated fats, but first let’s see the differences 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, on the contrary, 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 mainly present in all foods of animal origin, while you will find unsaturated fats in foods of plant origin.
- Another difference is that saturated fats increase 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 Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found.
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 organism
- 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 instead 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 becoming 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 containing monounsaturated fats are often present in diets. These fats are also a great ally to reduce belly fat.
- Reduces the pain of patients suffering from arthritis.
Foods with monounsaturated fats
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 give you.
- 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.
Recommended amount of monounsaturated fats in the diet
Your body requires fat to obtain energy and to perform its vital functions, but you must be careful with 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 replace foods with saturated and trans fats with foods rich in monounsaturated fats. Next, we bring you the recommended amount of monounsaturated fats to ingest:
- If you want to include fats 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.