Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fats are different from monounsaturated fats. This type of fats is lipid and these fats can be found mostly in different nuts, seeds, fish, algae, leafy greens, and krill. Chemically, polyunsaturated fats are fat molecules. Each of the molecule has more than one unsaturated carbon bond. This carbon bond is also called a double bond. Oils that contain polyunsaturated fats are normally liquid at room temperature. It is also a type of dietary fat. It is one of the healthy fats, along with monounsaturated fat. If you are health conscious and concerned about your belly fat and weight, then these fats can be in your list of healthy diets.

Polyunsaturated fat is found in plant and animal foods. Olive oil is a common example of an oil that contains polyunsaturated fats. Moreover, salmon, vegetable oils, and some nuts and seeds are also good example of polyunsaturated fat. If you build a habit of eating, moderate amounts of unsaturated fat instead of saturated and trans fats, then it can benefit your health.

Weight Control and Other Health Benefits

Remember that eating healthier fats has several benefits. But also remember that eating too much fat can lead to weight gain. All types of fats contain 9 calories per gram. This amount is two times the amount of calories found in carbohydrates and protein. Therefore your choice of fats and fat-based foods is important. Polyunsaturated fat base foods can help you control your weight.

There are several health benefits of polyunsaturated fats. Like monounsaturated fats, these fats can also benefit our heart, provide nutrition to our cells and become a good source of anti-oxidant.

1) Heart:

These fats have beneficial effects on your heart health when eaten in moderation. These fats are widely used to replace saturated fats and trans fats in your daily diet. These fats have the ability to reduce risk of heart disease or stroke. These fats reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance. This substance can operate within blood and cause clogged or blocked arteries. Polyunsaturated fats can help you keep low level LDL cholesterol. Maintaining low LDL cholesterol level reduces your risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association has provided their observations in this regard. They say that the consumption of these fats actually improves blood lipid profile.

2) Nutrition:

The development and maintenance of body cells require nutrients. These fats can provide with those nutrients.

3) Anti-oxidant:

These fats also enrich the diet with vitamin E. As an antioxidant vitamin E has many beneficial roles in combating disease like cancer. The risk for breast cancer is also decreased. A study had been conducted on the women in Sweden. The study found that those women who take diets with higher polyunsaturated fats, has less chance of getting breast cancer.

4) Body Functioning:

Those oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fats, provide useful fats that the body cannot produce but requires itself. These useful fats are known as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These have to be taken in the body through food. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for many regular functions in the body. When eaten in moderation, polyunsaturated fats not only provide with 9 calories per gram but also make positive effects on your health. The bad fats – saturated fats and trans fats – can negatively affect your health. Polyunsaturated fats provide with essential fatty acids that the body needs for brain function and cell growth.

5) Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Polyunsaturated fats are source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help reduce triglycerides. Triglyceride has been identified as a kind of fat in blood. Moreover these fatty acids are also responsible to reduce the risk of an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), to slow down the build-up of plaque in your arteries. They can  lower your blood pressure as well. They also can control blood sugar and in this way, reduce your risk of diabetes.

6) Blood Pressure:

Polyunsaturated fats have positive roles in controlling your blood pressure. ty acids can help lower blood pressure. A study on polyunsaturated fats was conducted by researcher Hirotsugu Ueshima and it was published in the 2007 journal "Hypertension". The study showed that people who consume fish oils and polyunsaturated fats have lower blood pressure.

7) ADHD and Depression:

Polyunsaturated fats have the potential to improve depression symptoms. Researcher J. Sarris conducted a study on it in 2009. Details of the study were published in "Nutrition Reviews". The study showed that omega-3 fatty acids from polyunsaturated fats are beneficial when it is used in conjunction with an antidepressant.

These fats may also benefit Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Researcher J. Burgess had conducted a study on it that was published in the 2000 "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition". The study demonstrated that 100 boys with ADHD were found to have low levels of polyunsaturated fats. This observation provided with the link to the ADHD symptoms and the potential possibility of lessening ADHD symptoms.

Food Sources and Food Preparation

Those foods that are high in polyunsaturated fat include a number of plant-based oils. These are soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower oil. Moreover, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout are also regarded as good sources of polyunsaturated fats.

There are other sources as well. These include some nuts and seeds (for example, walnuts and sunflower), tofu and soybeans. The American Heart Association has recommendations on this. They recommend eating tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed, and their oils.

Here are some of the tips to prepare healthy foods rich in polyunsaturated fats.

  • You can eat walnuts instead of cookies for a snack. You’ve to be sure to keep your portion small. This is because nuts are high in calories.
  • Sometimes you can replace some meats with fish. Also, you can try eating at least 2 meals with fish per week.
  • Remember, you can sprinkle ground flax seed on your meal.
  • You can add walnuts or sunflower seeds to salads.
  • And you can cook with corn or safflower oil instead of butter and solid fats.


How Much To Eat

You have to be calculative when taking polyunsaturated fats with food. You know that the body always requires fat for energy and other body functions. In this regard, these polyunsaturated fats are good choice. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the followings:

  • 25% to 30% of daily calories should be from fats. Therefore, your choice of fats can be either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
  • You should limit saturated fat intake which is mostly found in red meat, butter, cheese, and whole-fat dairy products. It should be less than 6% of your daily calories. In case of a 2,000 calorie diet, this percentage is around 120 calories, or 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

You have to replace saturated fats in your diet with polyunsaturated fats instead of just adding to your existing diet. Eliminating saturated fats is two times effective compared to increasing polyunsaturated fats. Therefore replace the unhealthy fats in your diet whenever it is possible to do.

Last update: February 04, 2017 04:29:26 pm

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