Monounsaturated Fat (MSF) is fat containing monounsaturated fatty acids – characterized by one double carbon bond in their molecule, while the rest of carbon bonds are single (saturated) bonds.
In contrast to saturated fats, naturally occurring unsaturated fats are actually beneficial to our health, reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, foods rich in this type of fats are considered good for healthy living. When evaluating a specific food item from this point of view, what matters most is the ratio between unsaturated and saturated fat. The higher this ratio, the better. In other words, the higher the content of unsaturated fat versus saturated fat, the healthier the respective food.
Monounsaturated fats increase the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and thereby have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
- Nuts (including peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc), with the exception of coconuts
- Olive Oil (75% MSF)
- Canola Oil (60% MSF)
- Tea-Oil (80% MSF)
- Other oils containing a relatively high amount of MSF are as follows: Flaxseed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil and Corn Oil.
Using the above oils for cooking (especially olive oil and canola oil), is advantageous for one’s cardiovascular health. Olive oil and canola oil are reasonably affordable, and available at any grocery store.
Foods rich in mono-unsaturated fat do not cause weight gain, as long as the recommended serving sizes are not exceeded. However, keep in mind these fats bring a relatively high calorie amount into the body (9 kcal per gram – like any type of fat), so portions need to be limited in order not to overshoot one’s daily calorie allowance.