The 6 Benefits of Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)
Good fats, bad fats, what’s the difference?
With all the nutritional information out there it can be tough to keep everything straight. In fact, just a few years ago, low fat diets were all the rage.
But cutting edge research supports what people living in Mediterranean climates have known for generations: a diet with monounsaturated fats is a recipe for a healthy heart and a slim body.
Monounsaturated Fats: That Means Good, Right?
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) are good fats. Liquid at room temperature, they turn solid when they are chilled. Common sources of MUFAs are olive oil, avocados and nuts.
Monounsaturated fats are a healthy alternative to the trans fats and refined polyunsaturated fats you find in most processed foods.
Research shows that diets with healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats have a host of amazing health benefits, including:1
- Decreased risk for breast cancer. A study of women in Sweden found that those with diets higher in monounsaturated fats (as opposed to polyunsaturated fats) resulted in less frequent incidence of breast cancer.
- Reduced cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of MUFAs to improve your blood lipid profile.
- Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. Diets with monounsaturated fats correlate with healthy hearts and fewer strokes.
- Weight loss. Studies have found that switching to monounsaturated fat from diets with trans fats and polyunsaturated fats results in weight loss.
- Less severe pain and stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in improving the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reduced belly fat. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that diets with monounsaturated fat could improve the loss of belly fat better than high carbohydrate diets.
Besides protecting your heart, decreasing your risk for certain cancer AND helping you maintain a healthy weight, sources of monounsaturated fat taste great!
You can do something good for yourself with every delicious mouthful of foods rich in monounsaturated fat.
Make the Most of MUFAs With These Foods
Great sources of monounsaturated fats are:
- Olive oil
- Tea Seed Oil (more on this oil below)
- Almonds, cashew nuts and pecans
- Macadamia nuts
The Body Ecology system for health and healing recommends using a delicious variety of healthy fats…including plenty of the monounsaturated fats mentioned above. Use them instead of the hydrogenated fats found in margarine and processed fats found in refined vegetables oils. If you haven’t changed your oils yet and still eat bad fats…changing to the wonderful fats and oils recommended on the Body Ecology Diet is one of the most important first steps you can take.
If cooking with monounsaturated fats is new to you, here are some Body Ecology-friendly tips to help you get started!
- Use a bit of olive oil when you low-temperature sauté your vegetables to keep them from sticking to the pan.
- Roll avocados, blanched and sliced vegetables and cultured vegetables in sheets of nori for a vegetarian, heart- healthy sushi roll.
- Macadamia Nut Oil adds a delicious buttery flavor to any Green Smoothie recipe.
- Imperial Republic’s culinary Tea Seed oil from the Camilla sinensis (tea plant) is an extra virgin oil from China. It has a high flash point of up to 485 degrees so can be used for low-temperature sautéing. It’s also delicious on top of vegetables, quinoa and in salad dressings.
- Dip celery and carrot sticks into raw almond butter for a delicious treat.
Switching your fat intake from bad fats to good fats could be one of the best (and best tasting) decisions you ever make!
Not only will your body thank you, but also your taste buds will benefit from the change.
- Mark Wolk, Alicia, “A Prospective Study of Association of Monounsaturated Fat and Other Types of Fat With Risk of Breast Cancer,” Archives of Internal Medicine.
- Donaghue, K, “Beneficial effects of increasing monounsaturated fat intake in adolescents with type 1 diabetes,” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.
- American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3045795
- Mediterranean Diet Offers Multiple Benefits to Arthritis Sufferers http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=btnews&dbid=13#article
- Manzella, Deborah, “A Diet Rich in MUFA’s Can Reduce Belly Fat,” About.com. http://diabetes.about.com/b/2008/01/13/mufa-rich-diet-can-reduce-belly-fat.htm