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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Fats >>  Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fatty acids are gaining popularity these days, experts and health care professionals are advising sensible dose of unsaturated fatty acid in diet to decrease the dangers related to many diseases.

In unsaturated fatty acid either one or more than one pair of hydrogen atom is missing. If there is one gap (one hydrogen atom missing) then it is called monounsaturated fatty acid and if there are many gaps (many hydrogen atoms missing) then it is called polyunsaturated fatty acid. Polysaturated and monosaturated fatty acids are mainly found in plant origin and some sea foods, while saturated fatty acids are found mainly in animal origin.
Depending up on the site of missing hydrogen molecule polyunsaturated fatty acid is of two kind omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid.
Monosaturated fatty acid is liquid at room temperature but solidifies in the refrigerator, while polyunsaturated fatty acid is in liquid form at both room temperature and in the refrigerator.

Unsaturated fatty acid is commonly derived from plant origin like vegetable oils and nuts and from oily fish like herring, salmon, tuna and sardines. The omega-3 and omega-6 (fatty acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own and have to be supplied to the body externally through diet) is present in all these oil but the amount in all oils vary. These fatty acids when consumed in appropriate proportion helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases, improves memory and other cognitive functions (thus fish is often considered as a ‘brain food’).

There are various ways through which unsaturated fatty acid can be incorporated in the diet; by eating more fish (baked not fried) and less meat, adding virgin and nut based oils in salad dressings, or by exchanging dairy product with soybeans and its products. However it is wise thought to avoid trans fatty acids completely. These fats are very high in cholesterol and are produced by hydrogenation of vegetable oils. Trans fat content in a product is generally not mention on the nutritional label, avoid foods that contains hydrogenated vegetable oils in such case. Trans fats are generally found in industrially processed fast foods, cakes, cookies, biscuits, french fries, onion rings and margarine.

All fats are high in calories and gives almost double the calories that we get form proteins or carbohydrates. So even though unsaturated fats are considered healthy they should be consumed in moderate amounts to avoid obesity or any other health related complication. The total fat intake should not exceed beyond 30% of the total caloric intake in a daily diet.

Submitted on January 16, 2014