Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated – which is best?

June 22, 2017 4:39 pm Published by 1 Comment

We sell a great range of cold-pressed oils at Naturally Good Food. As well as the usual extra virgin olive oils, sunflower oils and rapeseed oils, we have a host of nut and seed oils, including, for example, hemp oil, avocado oil and peanut oil. Often, we’ll say that an oil is particularly rich in ‘polyunsaturated’ or ‘monounsaturated’ fats. But what are these fats? And is one better than the other?

Polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats - which are best?

Which kinds of fat are good for you?

Saturated fats

Let’s start by looking at what these fats are not. They’re not saturated fats. Saturated fats are a type of fat in which all the fatty acid molecules have single bonds. Still not clear? Here’s Wikipedia:

‘A fat is made of two kinds of smaller molecules: monoglyceride and fatty acids. Fats are made of long chains of carbon (C) atoms. Some carbon atoms are linked by single bonds (-C-C-) and others are linked by double bonds (-C=C-). Double bonds can react with hydrogen to form single bonds. They are called saturated, because the second bond is broken up and each half of the bond is attached to (saturated with) a hydrogen atom.’

Saturation doesn’t mean, as some might think, that a food is simply ‘too full’ of fat – it has a quite specific scientific meaning in this respect.

We think coconut oil is really healthy - do you agree?

Coconut oil is a kind of saturated fat

Foods rich in saturated fats are demonised by some, while others suggest consuming them with gusto. You can do your own research, but we do stock saturated fats at Naturally Good Food, in particular, in the form of coconut oil.

What are polyunsaturated fats?

Soya oil and linseed oil are other good examples of this kind of fat

Sesame oil: a polyunsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond in the chain. You’ll find this kind of fat in oily fish, corn oil, sesame oil and soya oil, as well as in linseed, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts – and in oils made from those products.

What are monounsaturated fats?

Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in the fatty acid chain, with all of the remaining carbon atoms being single-bonded.

Olive oils and almonds are other good sources of this

Rapeseed oil contains monounsaturated fat

Foods rich in monounsaturated fats include avocados, olives, olive oil, rapeseed oil, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios – and oils made from these nuts.

Which is best for you?

There’s a great deal of ongoing research on the very best type of fats – conclusions change pretty frequently. At Naturally Good Food we always recommend eating a balanced diet, with a range of foods, all in moderation. But for what it’s worth, it’s generally agreed that monounsaturated fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats do this too, and also provide essential fatty acids. Saturated fats, meanwhile, are thought to have benefits for liver function and for the immune system.

See all our oils here.

 

 

 

 

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This post was written by Yzanne

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