When the word “fat” comes up in conversations with our friends, we often turn our noses at the mere mention of it. After all, adjectives like “chubby” and “plump” might seem like they mean well, but truly some form of negative connotations have been tacked onto it. Harsh realities aside, our body needs fats to survive and there are actually four dietary fats that are found in the food we consume, saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
What most of us understand is that there are two opposing sides to fats, much like how we differentiate the good and evil, healthy and unhealthy. On the corner of ‘bad fats’, you have saturated fats and trans fats since they actually raise our bad cholesterol levels in our blood and this could lead to a higher likelihood of heart disease and stroke. Fighting in the opposite corner is monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which undo the damage and lower those bad cholesterol levels.
Can We Eliminate Fat From Our Diet Entirely?
What we need to know about fats is that it is impossible not to consume food with fat since they are necessary for a healthy diet and our body relies on fat to function. And no, our body is physically incapable of making fat within. What that fat does in our body is to act as an energy store, keep us warm and to keep our vital organs safe behind the layer of fat.
Why Pay Attention to Monounsaturated Fats?
Monounsaturated fats get a bulk of the limelight since they have been known to help with weight loss especially when your diet consists of a moderate to high amount of them. As an introduction, monounsaturated fats stand for monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat that has one double bond within its structure. But if you are only looking out for food that only contains monounsaturated fats, you are out of luck since most food can be high in monounsaturated fats but they are one out of a combination of different fats.
They Can Help You Drop The Pounds
This would perhaps be music to your ears but it is as such since monounsaturated fats will help you return to your slimmer self. What we discovered is that diets that are high in monounsaturated fats were comparable to low-fat diets when it comes to weight loss, provided both meals are of the same caloric count. We are not making this up. A study revealed that their 124 overweight or obese test subjects lost an average of 4 kilograms in a year by keeping to a high monounsaturated fat diet while ensuring a steady caloric burn with exercise. Rather than having to limit your calories, how about making the switch to monounsaturated fats for a much easier weight loss journey?
They Drop Your Risk Of Cancer
Funnily enough, monounsaturated fats have also been linked to lowering your risk of certain types of cancer. Even though this might not be as applicable, monounsaturated fats are believed to help reduce the probability of contracting prostate cancer. Yes, prostate cancer, that is the one that men often contract when they are much older in age. Perhaps, you could start nudging your boyfriend, husbands, fathers and brothers to start adding them into their diet? For us women, it has been suggested that monounsaturated fats are known to help lower the probability of contracting breast cancer. What researchers found out was that subjects who had a much higher oleic acid count from monounsaturated fats, there were far fewer subjects who contracted breast cancer. Interestingly, the study was done in Spain, in which olive oil (a key source of monounsaturated fats) is commonly used in their local cuisine and this points to the cancer-free benefits that monounsaturated fats bring.
They Can Help Reduce Inflammation
Let’s make it clear: inflammation is a natural process in which your immune system experiences to help the body combat infections or viruses. While most of us take inflammation to be a thing to fear due to our weakened system and bloated appearance, it is actually how the body fights back. But if you are looking to reduce the inflammation, diets that are high on monounsaturated fats are the way to go. How it happens is by reducing the development of inflammatory genes in fat tissues and by reducing inflammation, it also helps reduce the chance of chronic diseases like obesity and heart-related problems.
Where Can I Find Monounsaturated Fats?
To tell if a particular food is high in saturated fats or unsaturated fats, there is actually an easy tell-tale sign to differentiate the two. For one, food that contains a higher amount of unsaturated fats often takes the form of liquid at room temperature (think olive oil), while food with a high amount of saturated fats is often solid at the same temperature (think butter and coconut oil). But to answer your question, monounsaturated fats are most commonly found in olive oil (around 73.1 grams are attributed to MUFA in a 100 grams amount of olive oil). Other places you can find monounsaturated fats are in almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, olives (of course) and in pumpkin seeds. Worried that you would have to give up most of the food you love in the quest to lose weight, perhaps it is time to start adding these amazing fats into your diet!