What are the benefits of polyunsaturated fats?


Polyunsaturated fats can have benefits for your health, especially for your heart if they are consumed in moderation and if they are used to replace saturated fat and trans fats in your diet.

Polyunsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood, which can help lower the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke (embolism).

In addition, polyunsaturated fats contain nutrients that help healthy cells function. Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also contribute to the supply of vitamin E, a necessary antioxidant.

What are polyunsaturated fats?

From a chemical point of view, polyunsaturated fats are fat molecules that have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule, also known as a double bond.

Foods rich in polyunsaturated fats

-Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame or sesame seeds, pine nuts and flaxseed.

-Tofu.

-Soja (soy).

Vegetable oils such as:

-Olive oil .

-Soya oil (soy).

-Corn oil.

-Sunflower oil.

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The American Heart Association (AHA recommends consuming tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnuts, and flaxseed, as well as their oils as they contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), as well as another omega-3 fatty acid found in fish (salmon, sardines and herring).

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Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats provide essential fats, necessary for the proper functioning of the body and that it cannot produce on its own, such as omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.

Polyunsaturated fats are linoleic acid, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Are polyunsaturated fats better than saturated fats and trans fats?

All fats provide 9 calories per gram. However, polyunsaturated fats have health benefits if eaten in moderation, while excessive consumption of saturated fats and trans fats can be detrimental to health.

Trans fats are present in industrial products and processes in which unsaturated fats undergo a process called hydrogenation in order to solidify at room temperature and have a longer shelf life.

Check the nutritional content labels for the trans fat content of industrialized products. And avoid consuming them in excess.

For optimal health, the majority of fat intake should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. And substituting saturated fat and trans fat for foods containing polyunsaturated fat is what the American Heart Association.

The limit suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 of saturated fat for adults is 10% of the total energy intake.

Tips to include polyunsaturated fat in your diet:

-Focus on replacing foods that contain saturated fat with foods rich in polyunsaturated fats.

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-Use vegetable oil like olive oil instead of butter. And when baking, use canola oil and when frying sunflower oil in moderation.

-Eat twice a week fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon instead of meat.

-Select chicken without skin or lean meat (without fat). Trim visible fat from chicken and trim visible fat from meat.

-Limit processed foods that frequently contain saturated fat. Better eat more fruits and vegetables when you are hungry.

-Substitute dairy for its low-fat version. He prefers low-fat cheeses, low-fat milk, as well as low-fat yogurt.

-Use olive oil as a dressing instead of commercial dressings high in saturated fat (check the nutrition labels).

To help improve your cardiovascular health, start substituting foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat for foods that contain polyunsaturated fats and consume them in moderation.

Source: American Heart Association (AHA), Mayo Clinic.

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