Monounsaturated fat

Monounsaturated fat differs from saturated fat because one of the carbon atoms is missing a hydrogen atom, causing what is known as a double bond. The word mono, meaning ‘one’, tells us that monounsaturated fats have one double bond. The importance of this is that these fats have a bend caused by the double bond and therefore can’t pack together very efficiently, which also makes them flexible, unlike the rigid saturated fats. Because of this, most monounsaturated fats are liquid oils at room temperature. If we have lots of these types of oils in our diets our cell membranes are more fluid, which means that cells can communicate with other cells more efficiently, also promoting the efficient flow of nutrients and waste products in and out of the cells. Monounsaturated fats can be obtained from the diet or made by the body from carbohydrate and protein. Found in foods such as olive oil and avocoados, these fats are considered to be very beneficial to our health and we hear of them mainly in relation to the Mediterranean diet, which has many benefits including reduced risk of major chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer.

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