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The Benefits Of MUFAs For Health
Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are detrimental to our health. The benefits of MUFAs for health are vast but what exactly are they and how can they help? While all fats have 9 calories per gram, monounsaturated fats can improve your health if you consume them in moderation. Additionally, they give your body’s cells the nutrients they need to grow and remain healthy. These kinds of healthy fats compete with unhealthy fats to help reduce the risk of developing many diseases.
This article will discuss what monounsaturated fatty acids are and the various health benefits you can enjoy while consuming them in moderate amounts.
What are MUFAs?
The “mono” in the term means “one,” indicating there is only one double bond in the fatty acid. This is a type of plant-based fat that is liquid at room temperature and solidifies when chilled. MUFAs are primarily consumed to replace trans fats and saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats that are good for health.
These fatty acids provide numerous health advantages for the human body. As recommended by health professionals, the American Heart Association advises that the majority of the fats you consume should be mono or polyunsaturated. Replace foods that contain trans fats and/or saturated fats with foods that contain monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats.
Types of MUFAs
There are various types of MUFAs. Oleic acid is the most prevalent and makes up 90% of the total amount of fat found in the daily human diet.
Palmitic acid and vaccenic acid are two additional MUFAs. It has been demonstrated that palmitoleic acid (palmitoleate), an omega-7 MUFA found in plants and marine sources, favorably modulates lipid and glucose metabolism. A trans fatty acid that occurs naturally is vaccenic acid. It is the most common type of trans-fatty acid found in dairy products like milk, butter, and yogurt and in the fat of ruminants.
Other Popular Names You Have Heard of Include:
- Gondoleic acid
- Gondoic acid
- Cetoleic acid
- Erucic acid
- Nervonic acid
- Undecylnic acid
- Myristoleic acid
- Petroselinic acid
- Elaidic acid
The Benefits Of MUFAs For Health
Monounsaturated fats are easily found in various healthy foods, including olive oil (it’s better if it’s extra virgin olive oil), avocados, and certain nuts. This makes it important for one to consume MUFAs of plant origins so that the body can absorb the healthy nutrients and take advantage of the numerous benefits they provide, such as:
1.) Reduces Chances of Heart Diseases
There is strong evidence that consuming more MUFAs, especially if you replace saturated fat, can lower heart disease risk factors. A high blood cholesterol level increases the risk of developing heart disease because it can block arteries and cause heart attacks or strokes. MUFA-rich diets have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
A meta-analysis of 32 studies involving 841,211 participants found that oleic acid, olive oil, and the Mediterranean diet all help prevent heart disease-related deaths. Furthermore, both a high-carbohydrate diet and a diet high in monounsaturated fat decreased total blood cholesterol levels in studies of patients at risk for heart disease. On top of that, compared to those on a carbohydrate-based diet, patients on the high monounsaturated fat diet had lower LDL- and triglyceride levels.
2.) Weight Loss
Not all fats are created equal. Some foods contain good fats that give you a feeling of fullness. Compared to processed carbohydrates, which make you feel deprived and want more, this type of fat fills you up and makes you feel satisfied.
By substituting the fatty acid meals in your diet, MUFAs help you feel full for a longer period and target stubborn belly fat. Simply put, MUFAs are a type of fat that is not only healthy but can also aid in weight loss.
3.) Enhances Insulin Sensitivity
A recent multicenter study (KANWU) has demonstrated that switching from a diet high in saturated fatty acids to one high in monounsaturated fat positively affects insulin sensitivity in healthy adults.
To avoid type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar, insulin production is crucial. High-MUFA diets have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in people with and without high blood sugar, according to studies. Additionally, they have been shown to help with glycemic control. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion is specifically stimulated in vitro by MUFAs, an anti-diabetic hormone.
4.) Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Numerous studies have looked into the possibility that a healthy intake of MUFAs lowers the risk of developing cancer. The fact that MUFA and PUFA can activate both endogenous and exogenous apoptosis pathways in cancer cells and maintain the metabolisms of normal cells may be the cause of the potential anti-cancer mechanism.
Studies on humans have shown that consuming extra virgin olive oil, a healthy source of monounsaturated fatty acids, has a protective effect against cancer. That’s because, in nature, fats are found in foods that also contain other substances, such as polyphenols. Consuming olive oil, especially EVOO, has been linked in case-control studies to a lower risk of developing all cancers, particularly breast and digestive cancer.
5.) Reduces Inflammation
Consuming a considerable amount of monounsaturated fats in your diet can help lower inflammation. Compared to a diet high in saturated fat, MUFAs can lower the expression of inflammatory genes in adipose tissue.
According to one study, high-MUFA diets reduced inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome compared to high-saturated fat diets. According to another study, individuals who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in MUFAs had significantly lower levels of inflammatory substances like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 in their blood. The MUFAs ultimately help in preventing the emergence of chronic diseases by reducing inflammation.
Foods Rich in MUFAs
Looking for mouth-watering foods to increase your MUFA intake? Here are a few options you can include in your diet:
- Oils extracted from plants such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- Dry fruits – almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios
- Seeds such as sunflower and flax seeds
- Chocolate (YES CHOCOLATE!!)
The Benefits of MUFAs Conclusion
The benefits of MUFAs are clear. Not only do they provide essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can help improve your overall health, but they also help to reduce inflammation in the body and protect against chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
By swapping out unhealthy fats like trans fats with MUFAs, you can make a positive change in your diet that can benefit your health for years to come.
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