What Are the 3 Types of Healthy Fats?
There are three types of healthy fats: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating these fats into your diet can:
- Increase brain function
- Promote glowing skin
- Boost your energy
- Control your appetite by helping you feel fuller, longer
- Promote healthy bones, hair, and nails
- Increase heart health
Read on to learn more about each healthy fat!
1. Monounsaturated Fats
These are fat molecules with one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule. They are most prevalent in plant-based liquid oils such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and sesame oil. They can also be found in avocados, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts.
Monounsaturated fats raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). This improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
Our fave monounsaturated fat: Avocados and nuts/nut butters!
Avocados are wonderful for protecting the skin and boosting collagen (talk about getting your youthful glow back!). They also stabilize blood sugar and raise good cholesterol, all while lending extra creaminess to you smoothie.
Nuts are monounsaturated fats that promote good cholesterol, while also providing fiber and a good amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals Try throwing a small handful of walnuts, cashews, or almonds into your green smoothie, or raw nut butter to add a creamy, sugar-stabilizing effect.2. Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fat molecules have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule. They are mainly in plant-based foods and oils including soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, fatty fish, walnuts, sunflower seeds, tofu, and flaxseeds.
Studies show that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Polyunsaturated fats are rich in vitamin E, which is an essential antioxidant.
Our fave polyunsaturated fat: Seeds/Seed Butter!
Seeds are another source of protein and monounsaturated fats. Try adding ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds for a boost in anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids supporting brain development, regularity, and cell hydration.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are polyunsaturated fatty acids with a double bond at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to maintain a normal metabolism. Foods with the highest amount of Omega-3’s are fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and bluefish. If you are vegeterian, however, you can still get those Omega-3 healthy fats in by eating a diet rich in walnuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, coconut, and canola oils.
Aside from maintaining your metabolism, Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits including, fighting inflammation, helping control blood clotting, lowering blood pressure and triglycerides.
Our fave polyunsaturated fat: Coconut Oil!
Coconut oil is a particularly nice smoothie add-in because it’s a source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are very easily digested. These fatty acids metabolize in the liver and send a signal to your brain to burn fat as an energy source, increasing your energy and working as an appetite suppressant.
Photo by: Glen Carrie