Despite all of the low-fat diets people follow, not all fats are bad. Some fats, including monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs, are healthy. MUFAs may help you control your blood sugar and insulin levels, keep your blood clotting normally, increase your good cholesterol and decrease your bad cholesterol, according to MayoClinic.com. Trade saturated fat sources in your diet for foods containing MUFAs. Your body will thank you for it.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and seeds are among the better sources of MUFAs. Each ounce of peanuts contains 14 grams of fat, of which 7 grams are MUFAs. Almonds contain even more of these healthy fats, with 8.8 grams out of 14 grams of fat per serving coming from MUFAs. Spread some peanut butter on your toast in the morning or snack on a handful of mixed nuts to increase your intake of these beneficial fats.
Switching from butter, palm or coconut oil to vegetable oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, high oleic safflower oil or olive oil for cooking and using nut or olive oils for salad dressings can also increase your MUFA intake while decreasing your saturated fat intake. Each tablespoon of olive oil contains approximately 14 grams of fat, about 10 of which come from MUFAs.
Avocados and Olives
Dip your chips in heart-healthy guacamole instead of cheese dip, and snack on olives instead of cheese cubes or pepperoni slices the next time you are munching on appetizers. Adding avocados and olives to your diet increases your MUFA intake. One-fourth of an avocado contains 7.4 grams of fat, 4.9 grams of which come from MUFAs, and a 1/4-cup serving of olives contains 3.6 grams of fat, including 2.7 grams of MUFAs.
While MUFAs are healthy, they are still high in calories with 9 calories per gram, so you want to consume them in moderation. According to the World Health Organization, you should limit your overall fat consumption to no more than 35 percent of your daily calories, with no more than 10 percent of your calories coming from saturated fat and no more than 11 percent of your calories coming from polyunsaturated fats. Determine the amount of MUFAs you should eat by subtracting the amount of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats you eat from the total recommended fat for the day.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Polyunsaturated Fats and Monounsaturated Fats
- Food and Agriculture Organization: Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition
- MayoClinic.com: MUFAs: Why Should My Diet Include These Fats?
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Peanuts, All Types, Dry-roasted, Without Salt
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Oil, Olive, Salad or Cooking
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Nuts, Almonds
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Olives, Ripe, Canned (Small-Extra Large)
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