Eating too much fatty food is not good for your health. But when it comes to monounsaturated fat, you do not have to worry about the health risks it might pose. It can actually be beneficial for you.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are one of the healthy types of dietary fat, along with polyunsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but start to turn solid when chilled.
From the chemical standpoint, monounsaturated fats are simply fat molecules that have one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule, which is known as a double bond. The most common MUFAs in daily nutrition are oleic and palmitoleic acids.
Health experts recommend replacing saturated fat and trans fat in your diet with monounsaturated fats. When eaten in moderation, monounsaturated fats can benefit your health in many ways.
Here are some of the health benefits of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).
1. Aids Weight Loss
A diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) is beneficial for weight loss.
These healthy fats help increase your basal metabolic rate, thus allowing your body to burn fat quicker. Also, these fats increase satiety, which means they help keep you full and satisfied longer and prevent overeating.
A 2001 study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that a moderate-fat, Mediterranean-style diet, controlled in energy, offers an alternative to a low-fat diet with superior long-term adherence, with consequent improvements in weight loss .
Another study published in Diabetes Care in 2009 found that in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, high-MUFA diets are an alternative to conventional lower-fat, high-carbohydrate diets with comparable beneficial effects on body weight, body composition, cardiovascular risk factors and glycemic control .
A 2015 study published in Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome found that a diet high in MUFAs promoted weight loss and body composition benefits in women who are obese. There was no influence of the type of dietary fat in obesity-related biomarkers .
2. Decreases Inflammation
A diet high in monounsaturated fat can also help reduce inflammation, a normal immune system process that helps your body fight infections. Too much inflammation in the body can contribute to chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease.
A 2004 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that the traditional Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduction in the concentrations of inflammation and coagulation markers. This may partly explain the beneficial actions of this diet on the cardiovascular system .
Another study published in 2012 in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that high-MUFA diets reduced inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome, compared to high-saturated fat diets .
3. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of MUFAs to lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels and to maintain your high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) level.
These fats do not attach to the walls in your arteries and cause plaque buildup. It also helps prevent unwanted blood clotting, a key reason behind heart attacks and strokes.
A 2016 study published in Jornal Vascular Brasileiro notes that MUFA intake through olive oil and nuts on a regular basis can help improve plasma lipid profile, in terms of the concentrations or of the sizes of HDL-C and LDL-C particles .