Why Should Your Diet Include Monounsaturated Fats?
Fats have built up a bad reputation over the years, being linked to some serious potentially life threatening diseases that mainly affect the cardiovascular system.
While some fats are bad for our health it is important to realize the difference between the various types of fats that we regularly find in the foods we eat. This is because certain fats are not only beneficial for our health, but are absolutely essential for our good health.
Our body needs fats to produce certain things in the body such as our hormones, which means that eating these “good” fats can improve many different aspects of our health. This includes fighting depression, heart disease, certain cancers and can also help us to lose weight.
Not all fats are the same however, and it is important to know the difference between the different types, their sources, and how they affect the body.
What Kind of Fats Do We Find in Our Diet?
Before anything else, if you don’t know the difference in fat types and the health ramifications of each, this needs to be the first step you take to changing your diet.
There are three major fat groups we get from our diet, being saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Saturated fats are ones which typically come from animal sources and are also associated with increased rates of cardiovascular related diseases. Mono and poly unsaturated fats tend to come from plant sources, and both can help to lower blood cholesterol levels and improve our overall health.
There is another type of fat known as transfats which you want to avoid altogether. This is not a naturally occurring fat, but one that is the bi-product of processing. This type of fat is associated with heart disease and other serious diseases we want to avoid.
Many manufacturers are starting to move away from trans fats due to the health consequences of eating them, however they can still be found in many baked goods and prepared foods.
The Evidence Based Reasons Why MUFAs Are Good for Your Health
1-Reduces Risk of Cancer
The link between a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids(MUFAs) and a reduced rate of cancer has been shown in research as of late. They have shown to be effective in doing so for multiple cancer types, and are extremely beneficial for both men and women.
MUFAs were especially effective in being able to form dense tissues of the breast in women, which has shown to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer down the line.
2-Keeps You Happy and Energetic
One of the largest benefits that MUFAs can provide to us is to keep us in a good mood. This is because these fats are used in hormonal production, which of course greatly affects our well being. Replacing foods high in saturated fats with those high in MUFAs can help you better control your anger as well, which shows promise in those dealing with minor psychological issues.
Replacing those saturated fats with MUFAs will also give you more energy to do more throughout the day, and has also shown the ability to increase your resting metabolic rate for extra fat burning capability when you aren’t active.
3-Keeps Your Bones Healthy
Another added benefit that comes along with eating MUFAs is that these fats are loaded with vitamins as well. These vitamins found within foods containing these fats allow the body to absorb calcium more effectively, allowing for better bone and skeletal health.
Diets high in saturated fats have shown to produce the opposite effect, in that calcium is leeched out of the bones, causing them to become less dense over time. This can lead to problems like bad posture, weak joints, or even osteoporosis.
How Should You Modify Your Diet Based on This Information?
The takeaway here is that not all fats are the same, and that different types can affect different aspects of your health. You don’t want to avoid mono, poly or saturated fats all together, however you should eat each type based on your health needs.
Monounsaturated fats are excellent in the fight against heart disease and insulin resistance, while polyunsaturated fats and more anti-oxidant rich and thus are more effective anti-inflammatory agents. Saturated fats on the other hand should be eaten sparingly compared to the other two types, however it does play an important role in our immune health.
You should look to consume whole foods whenever possible as well as organic varieties, as they are going to be the most nutritionally dense. Certain foods that contain some of these beneficial fats will not be giving you as much nutrition as you think due to the difference in manufacturing and processing methods.