Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats have an excellent effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and when used to replace trans fat and saturated fat in your diet.

AHA Recommendation

For healthy living, Mostly the fats that you eat should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Eat foods that contain polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats rather than foods that contain saturated fats and/or trans fats.

What are polyunsaturated fats?

Polyunsaturated fats are fat molecules that have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule, also called a double bond. Oils that contain polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. Olive oil is an example of a type of oil that contains polyunsaturated fats.

How do polyunsaturated fats affect my health?

Polyunsaturated fats can aid decrease bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also store nutrients to help improve and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also provide vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.

Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also provide necessary fats that your body needs but can’t produce itself – such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. You must get essential fats through food. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for many functions in the body.

Are polyunsaturated fats better for me than saturated fats or trans fats?

Yes. While all fats provide 9 calories per gram, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can have a positive effect on your health, when eaten in moderation. The bad fats – saturated fats and trans fats – can negatively affect your health.

Which foods are high in polyunsaturated fats?

Most foods contain a combination of fats.

Foods high in polyunsaturated fat include a number of plant-based oils, including:

  • corn oil
  • soybean oil
  • sunflower oil

Other useful sources include nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds, tofu, and soybeans. The American Heart Association also recommends consuming tofu and other forms of canola, flaxseed, soybeans, walnut, and oils. These foods contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another omega-3 fatty acid.

Are polyunsaturated fats lower in calories?

Polyunsaturated fats – like all fats – contain nine calories per gram.

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