There are two types of unsaturated fats- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
A fat molecule is monounsaturated if it contains one double bond… and polyunsaturated if it contains more than one double bond.
Unsaturated fats have a wide range of health benefits. It has been noted that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats helps to lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improve blood levels of good cholesterol, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Sources of MUFA: Olive oil is about 75% monounsaturated fat and tea seed oil is commonly over 80% monounsaturated fat. Canola oil and Cashews are both about 58% monounsaturated fat.
Other sources include macadamia nut oil, grapeseed oil, groundnut oil (peanut oil), sesame oil, corn oil, popcorn, whole grain wheat, cereal, oatmeal, safflower oil, sunflower oil,tea-oil Camellia, and avocado oil.
Monounsaturated fat sources recommended by bodybuilding experts:
- Natural peanut butter
- Olive oil
This type of fat improves good cholesterol(HDL) levels in blood, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. PUFAs also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
PUFAs are found in safflower, sesame, corn, cottonseed and soybean oils.
Essential fatty acids and their benefits
The essential fatty acids start with the short chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them.
Only two EFAs are known for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).
Essential fatty acids have a wide range of benefits. They are known to prevent diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity… they help in improving the texture and smoothness of skin… they help in better transport of oxygen and produce higher quality of energy and they are known to help in overcoming depression by reducing the cortisol (stress hormones) in the body.
In terms of burning fat, essential fatty acids increase the metabolic rate and burn down excess fat.
Some of the food sources of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids:
- Fatty fish
- Flaxseed (linseed)
- Hemp oil, soya oil, canola (rapeseed) oil
- Chia seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- Leafy vegetables,
Flax seed oil
It is often believed that fish oil and fish products are the best sources of EFSa , however flax seed oil is known to contain at least twice the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids as seen in fish.
and the maximum limit can be upto 5 tablespoons per day.
However it should be noted that flaxseed oil contains low amounts of omega 6 fatty acids, and the ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6 fatty acids is 4 to 1.
Some experts recommend making your own your own “oil blend” by mixing three parts flax with one part sunflower oil.