Food Sources and Facts of Monounsaturated Fat


A fatty acid with one double bond is a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). Monounsaturated fatty acids have a single point of unsaturation: two of the carbons in the chain are joined together by a double bond, so there are two fewer hydrogen atoms than in a saturated fatty acid of the same length. Oleic acid is an 18-carbon monounsaturated fatty acid widely found in nature in both animals and plants (it is the principal acid in olive oil). The double bond in oleic acid is between carbons 9 and 10 in the sequence; the shorthand notation for this acid is 18:1n-9 (i.e. 18 carbons; 1 double bond; and n-9 meaning the double bond is between carbons 9 and 10). In many popular and older sources the ‘n’ is replaced by the Greek letter omega (ω) so that oleic acid becomes 18:1ω-9.

Olive oil and rapeseed oil are the most concentrated dietary sources of MUFA. MUFA are present in many foods including meat fat and lard. Dietary MUFA does not raise plasma cholesterol and lowers LDL lipoprotein without a detrimental effect on high density lipoproteins (HDL).

Dietary Sources of Monounsaturated Fats

Food name Weight (g) Monounsaturated Fat (g)
Macadamia nuts 134 78.895
Almonds 157 54.627
Pecans 110 45.067
Pilinuts 120 44.675
Kielbasa 370 43.623
Mousse 808 40.618
Peanuts 144 37.433
Cashew nuts 137 37.424
Sesame seed 150 35.886
Bacon 85 35.220
Pistachio nuts 123 30.177
Margarine 232 25.965
Pine nuts 135 25.331
Avocados 230 22.538
Black walnut 125 19.302
Blood sausage 100 15.900
Egg 67 15.663
Chicken 85 14.875
Sunflower seed 134 14.527
Beef 113 12.863


Health Benefits of Monounsaturated Fat

Here we will know about some health benefits of Monounsaturated fat:

  1. Good for Heart health

High intake of monounsaturated fats provides protective effect against metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of disorders that promote the chances of cardiovascular diseases. Diet rich in monounsaturated fat have shown positive effect on children having high cholesterol and other cardiovascular problems. Monounsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties which contribute to overall health of the body. Inflammation is the major cause for diseases so dietary substitution should be made to lower internal inflammation to promote ability to combat diseases and maintain consistent level of health throughout life.

  1. Promote insulin sensitivity

Insulin resistance is a common condition which affects more than 3 million people in U.S. every year. It has equal impact on age group after 18 and is marked by body’s inability to process or release insulin at appropriate levels. It causes glucose to build up into bloodstream and result type II diabetes. Exercising regularly and losing weight helps to lower insulin resistance but specific dietary actions should be taken to promote insulin sensitivity helping to lower saturated fat in diet and substitute with monounsaturated fats.

Adipose tissue dysfunction is a major cause of insulin resistance. Adipose tissue serves a function in the body to store triglycerides in the body when taking more calories than required then releasing energy during fasting and starvation as glycerol and free fatty acids. As this process occurs, fat tissue secretes extensive amounts of peptides having high positive impact on brain, skeletal muscles and liver by keeping them in homeostasis and maintaining metabolism level.

Replacing saturated fats in diet with high monounsaturated fats promotes insulin sensitivity and also reverse adipose dysfunction. These fats provide positive effect on adipose dysfunction in case of obesity. So monounsaturated fat is effective in weight loss.

  1. Weight loss

Diet rich in monounsaturated fats is helpful for weight loss due to its impact on adipose dysfunction. The patients with high level of some liver enzymes lowers weight, cholesterol and waist circumference along with other obesity related factors. Research has shown ability of PUFAs and MUFAs in various combinations to assist subjects lose weight.

  1. Promotes mood

Intake of more monounsaturated fats is helpful for enhancing mood. Replacement of saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in diet helps to lower levels of anger and promote daily physical activity and energy expenditure which means you burn more calories at rest.

Study conducted on 12000 candidates who were initially free of depression and researchers found that high content of poly and monounsaturated fats in diet displayed lower instance of depression. Dopamine should be activated to feel emotions of happiness and contentment and high saturated fat level in diet helps to inhibit dopamine from signaling happiness to brain. So one should ensure adequate PUFAs and MUFAs with depression diet.

  1. Strong bones

Monounsaturated fats allow bones for absorbing calcium efficiently resulting denser bones and less chances of brittle bones or conditions such as osteoporosis. Diet with high saturated fat and low unsaturated fats are related with low bone density and less calcium absorption.

  1. Lower risk of cancer

Research conducted on diet rich in unsaturated fats lowered the chances of some cancer. Thus foods rich in MUFAs are cancer fighting foods. Monounsaturated and saturated fat has inverse correlation with chances of cancer. It indicates lower chances of endometrial cancer. It helps to lower that risk. Diet with high monounsaturated fats were observed in relation to hepatocellular carcinoma which is a form of liver cancer.



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