Monounsaturated fat is a class of dietary fat. It is known to be one of the healthy fats, along with polyunsaturated fat. Research has shown that monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but begin to harden when chilled.
In a study carried out, saturated fats and trans fats are solid at room temperature. however, these unhealthy fats can enhance your risk for heart disease and other health problems.
Monounsaturated fats are mostly found in plant foods, for instance, it can be seen in nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils. Additionally, consuming moderate amounts of monounsaturated (and polyunsaturated) fats in place of saturated and trans fats can help your health.
How Can Monounsaturated Fats Affect Your Health
Monounsaturated fats are excellent for your health in many ways:
- Monounsaturated fats have been a great source of healthy fat, they can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Cholesterol is a substance that can cause clogged, or blocked, arteries (blood vessels). Having your LDL level low decreases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- They help develop and maintain your cells.
How Much Quantity You can Eat
Your body wants some fats for energy and other health functions. Monounsaturated fats are a healthy option.
How much quantity should you get every day? Below are some recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest taking no more than 10% of your total daily calories from saturated fat (found in red meat, cheese, butter, and whole-fat dairy products) and trans fats (found in processed foods). For a 2,000 calorie diet, that is a total of 140 to 200 calories or 16 to 22 grams of saturated fats and unsaturated fats a day.
- Keep total fat consumption to no more than 25% to 30% of your daily calories. This includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- You should additionally get no more than 25% to 30% of your daily calories from fats including monounsaturated or polyunsaturated types.
Consuming healthier fats is beneficial for your health. But eating too much fat can lead to weight gain. All fats include 9 calories per gram of fat. This is more than twice the amount found in carbohydrates and protein.
It is not sufficient to add foods high in unsaturated fats to a diet packed with unhealthy foods and fats. Alternatively, replace saturated or trans fats with healthier fats.
Making Healthy Food Choices
Most foods have a mixture of all types of fats. Some have greater quantities of healthy fats than others. Foods and oils with higher amounts of monounsaturated fats include:
- Canola oil
- Safflower oil (high oleic)
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil and butter
- Sunflower oil
- Sesame oil
In most cases, to get the healthy benefits, you need to replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats. However, some ideas below can be useful for your healthy lifestyle:
- Consider replacing butter and solid fats with olive or canola oil.
- Eat more nuts instead of cookies for a snack. Just be certain to keep your portion small, as nuts are high in calories.
- Add avocado to sandwiches and salads.