Not just any fat can help lower your cholesterol, your blood sugar, and your risk of heart disease–but MUFAs can…specifically Monounsaturated Fatty Acids that REPLACE saturated and hydrogenated fats in your diet. While you may have never heard of the term MUFA, you surely have heard of the Mediterranean Diet that is based around the healthy MUFA fats.
Take a minute to read this concise article from livestrong.com on such a broad topic to get yourself thinking about how you might improve your healthy fat intake today!
“Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, constitute the cornerstone of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet. Although there are many regional variations of the Mediterranean diet, all of them are based on whole, healthy foods with an emphasis on monounsaturated-rich fats. MUFA fats are associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Moreover, many MUFA-rich fats provide a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that prevents chronic diseases. If you wish to base your diet on MUFA fats, preparing a meal plan can help you better stick to your new way of eating.
Olive oil has the highest concentration of MUFAs among oils. Choose extra-virgin olive oil for preparing vinaigrettes, but select a regular olive oil for heating and cooking. Although olive oil is the fat of choice on the Mediterranean diet, to increase your MUFA intake, canola oil and sesame oil also constitute good options, according to the American Heart Association. Your MUFA diet should also include plenty of avocado and avocado oil as well as most nuts and seeds, especially macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts and sesame seeds.
To prepare your MUFA diet meal plan, have a few breakfast options based on MUFA-rich foods. For example, you can cook your scrambled eggs in olive oil, with a handful of spinach and mushrooms. Top your morning eggs with avocado slices. Almost half of the fat in egg yolks is MUFA. You can vary your meal plan by changing your eggs for a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal mixed with some plain yogurt, a small diced apple or pear, 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond or peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For a quick and easy MUFA lunches that you can bring to work or to school, prepare your meal plan ahead of time and make sure you stock up your kitchen with all the ingredients you need. A salad is a good way to increase your vegetable intake on your MUFA diet. Fill up a bowl with leafy greens, cucumber, shredded carrots and cherry tomatoes. Add a source of protein, which you can vary from one day to another to have a different salad every day of the week on your meal plan. For example, you could have canned tuna, chicken breast, salmon, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, beef or pork. Prepare a vinaigrette with extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil mixed with balsamic vinegar to add MUFAs to your lunch. You can also garnish your salad with slices of avocado and almonds for extra MUFAs.
Base your MUFA diet dinners on a combination of vegetables, protein and MUFA-rich fats. Plan ahead your meal plan for the entire week by varying the vegetables, protein and fat each night. For example, you can have either broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, bok choy, eggplant, zucchini or a combination of them, along with fish, seafood, poultry or meat and a MUFA fat. Whether you simply have slices of beef with a tomato salsa, lettuce and guacamole, a quick stir-fry with pork, bok choy, a few peanuts and sesame seeds drizzled with sesame oil or a more elaborate eggplant chicken lasagna with plenty of olive oil, you dinner will help you get the MUFAs your body needs.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Here’s a list from Prevention.com of some great MUFA’s to start making a part of your diet:
Pick your MUFA: Canola oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, peanut oil, pesto sauce, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil
Use them like this: Stir-fry with sesame, peanut, or canola oil; pan-fry in walnut or olive oil; cook with safflower, soybean, or sunflower oil; use flaxseed oil in salad dressings (flaxseed oil cannot be used for cooking)
One serving equals: 1 tablespoon
Pick your MUFA: Almonds, Brazil nuts, natural peanut butter, dry-roasted cashews, dry-roasted peanuts, dry-roasted sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
Use them like this: Eat as a snack; sprinkle on a salad
One serving equals: 2 tablespoons
Pick your MUFA: Florida avocado, Hass avocado
Use them like this: Slice and serve with a salad or any entrée; mash with lime juice, salt and pepper and serve with chips; chop and fold into store-bought salsa
One serving equals: 1/4 cup
Pick your MUFA: Black olives, black olive tapenade, green olives, green olive tapenade
Use them like this: Serve olives as a snack; sprinkle sliced olives on pizzas, salads, or pastas; spread tapenade on crackers or sandwiches
One serving equals: 10 large olives or 2 tablespoons of tapenade
Pick your MUFA: Dark or semisweet chocolate chips, shavings, or chunks
Use them like this: Any way you crave!
One serving equals: 1/4 cup”