Benefits of monounsaturated fat
Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, and certain nuts. In fact, the evidence shows that monounsaturated fats have several health benefits. They can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease inflammation.
They May Help Reduce Risk Factors for Heart Disease
There is a big debate in nutrition about whether excessive saturated fat increase the risk of heart disease.
However, there is good evidence that increasing MUFAs in your diet can reduce risk factors for heart disease, especially if you are replacing saturated fat.
Too much cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease, as it can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks or stroke. Various studies have shown that a high intake of monounsaturated fats can reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides
For example, one study of 162 healthy people compared three months of a high-MUFA diet with a high-saturated fat diet to see the effects on blood cholesterol.
This study found that the diet high in saturated fat increased unhealthy LDL cholesterol by 4%, while the high-MUFA diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 5%.
Other smaller studies have found similar results of MUFAs reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
High-MUFA diets can help lower blood pressure, too. A large study of 164 people with high blood pressure found that a high-MUFA diet lowered blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, compared to a high-carb diet.
Similar beneficial results in blood pressure have also been found in people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
However, it is important to note that the beneficial effects of high-MUFA diets are only seen when they replace saturated fat or carbs in the diet.
Furthermore, in each of these studies, the high-MUFA diets were part of calorie-controlled diets, meaning that adding extra calories to your diet through high-MUFA foods may not have the same benefits.