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What Are Unsaturated Fats?
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Hi, I'm Laureen Wallravin, Certified Nutritional Therapist and founder of RelishedFood.com. I'm here today for About.com to answer the question: “What Are Unsaturated Fats?”Unsaturated fats come from vegetables and plants, and can be broken down into two categories: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. What makes these fats different from each other (and different from saturated fat) is their molecular structure.Monounsaturated fats contain only one double bond in their fatty acid chain, while polyunsaturated fats contain multiple bonds. These double bonds eliminate the presence of hydrogen atoms, which is the key difference between saturated and unsaturated fats.Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature; however, monounsaturated fats will turn solid when refrigerated, while polyunsaturated fats usually will not.Foods that are high in monounsaturated fats include: peanut butter, avocados, olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and a wide array of nuts and seeds. Monounsaturated fats are rich in Vitamin E and other nutrients that help create cells within the body and keep them healthy.Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats include: soybean oil, safflower oil, corn oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and trout. Polyunsaturated fats contain essential fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6, which our bodies are unable to produce on their own.These essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, boost our immune systems, and can improve cardiovascular health, so getting the right amount of polyunsaturated fat in your diet is a must for long-term wellness. Unsaturated fats are good for your health and should be chosen over foods that contain trans fats or hydrogenated fats. When taking your cholesterol into account, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower your LDL levels, known as “bad” cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats can also lower your HDL levels, often referred to as “good” cholesterol, but occurrences of this are not usually detrimental. Unsaturated fats are essential in a healthy diet, so be sure you're ingesting the right foods on a regular basis.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at about.com.
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