Who wants Fats?
When we hear the word FAT, the reaction is usually unappealing and displeasing. Nowadays, we are living in a more health-conscious society (because of so many diseases that are suddenly developing) and no one doesn’t want to get fat, to be labeled as fat, or to eat fat.
But over the years, there are numerous studies that slowly proved the mistaken belief of the “all fat is bad” argument. Fats are important part of the diet. The body actually needs fat for energy and to process certain vitamins and minerals. However, not all fats are created equally. They don’t have the same effects on our health. In everything, there is always the good and the bad, even when it comes to fats.
Good fats can actually lower cholesterol levels, boost brain function and promote meal satisfaction while packing up on unhealthy fats can contribute to chronic disease and weight gain.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)
MUFAs have gained a reputation as being one of the “good fats”—that is, fats that are beneficial to health. Recent evidence tends to indicate more favorable effects to general health as well as to reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases and other inflammation-related diseases. This has been strongly supported by many experts.
MUFAs are one of the two types of unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fats primarily come from plant foods, such as nuts and seeds, and are liquid at room temperature. The two types of unsaturated fatty acids are MUFA, which have one double bond in the chain; and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which have two or more double bonds.
The most common MUFA found in food is oleic acid, a fatty acid that occurs naturally in vegetable and animal oils, especially olive oil. Olive oil is 70 – 80% oleic acid. Many studies described its health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and protecting from breast cancer. MUFAs are found often in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados and whole milk.
1. Protects Against Heart Disease
Additionally, MUFA have beneficial effects on blood lipids. They reduce LDL Cholesterol levels (“bad” cholesterol), and increase HDL Cholesterol levels (“good” cholesterol). They also decrease blood levels of triglycerides. So eating MUFA tends to produce a general improvement in the overall pattern of blood lipids, that ought to be quite friendly to the cardiovascular system.
2. Aids Weight Loss
There are studies that establish a concentration of 60 percent monounsaturated fats, with a ratio of 1:5 saturated fats to unsaturated fats, showed the highest occurrence of body fat loss and ability to prevent further fat concentrations within the body.
3. Improves Mood and Lowers Depression Risk
Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in your diet can reduce anger and hostility levels as well as increase your daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure, meaning you burn more calories while at rest. The Mediterranean diet is associated with lower levels of depression.
4. Increases Bone Health
High monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) intake is associated with higher bone density and lower bone fracture risk. It allows your bones to absorb calcium efficiently, leading to denser bones and less occurrence of brittle bones and conditions like osteoporosis.
5. Reduces Cancer Risks
While some researches have been inconclusive, a lot of recent material supports the hypothesis that diets high in fat, especially unsaturated fats, lend themselves to a reduced risk of certain cancer.
Diets containing oleic acid reduced breast cancer risk. A study of women in Sweden found that those with diets higher in monounsaturated fats (as opposed to polyunsaturated fats) resulted in a less frequent incidence of breast cancer.
6. Suppress Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Diet plays a role in improving the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis. Compared to healthy people, rheumatoid arthritis patients ate significantly fewer MUFAs, suggesting that MUFAs may prevent the disease. In addition, olive oil consumption was associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Protects the Liver
MUFAs can protect against liver injury due to a drug overdose. In rats, a high-MUFA diet protected against acetaminophen (Tylenol)-induced liver injuries. The presence of monounsaturated fats in the cell membrane of liver cells reduces the cells’ susceptibility to oxidative damage.
In addition, diets rich in MUFAs tend to decrease liver fat content, which may protect against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
8. Benefits the Immune System and Lowers Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is thought to be the leading driver of some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.
Olive oil is mainly made up of mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, the most important of which is called oleic acid. Oleic acid is known to be extremely heart-healthy and capable of fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress), which has numerous health implications. The high amount of antioxidants in Olive oil means it protects your cells from damage. It also helps improve memory and cognitive function and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Since inflammation is at the root of most diseases, olive oil which is is a major component of MUFA plays a big role in fighting all these health disorders.
It is really important to be cautious about what we eat as it affects our overall health. Choosing the healthy fat over the bad ones will reap you amazing health benefits.
So friends, stay healthy, MUFA more!
About The Author
Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.