Many are familiar with the division between HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, but a similar division exists in fats. The Trans fats and the refined polyunsaturated fats in processed food harm the body while the monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) found in several fruits and their oils are beneficial. Olives and olive oil, avocados and certain nuts provide the prime MUFA sources. Foods rich in these good fats have a prominent place in the traditional Mediterranean diet. Experts believe that a diet rich in MUFAs helps explain why people in Southern Europe and the Middle East suffer less from obesity and other common western health issues.
Those with too high levels of bad cholesterol face an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart problems. All the authorities agree that large amounts of unhealthy fats in diets push up cholesterol far too high. Changing meal plans to use MUFAs is an excellent way to help restore a healthy cholesterol balance. It costs a little more to cook with olive oil, but the gains from healthier eating far outweigh the cost of this moderate increase in household expenses.
Losing weight is vital to heart health and improves energy levels, and a slimmer appearance improves self-esteem. The fact that users of MUFAs tend to keep their weight down more successfully than those who use others fats provides one of the strongest reasons for making the change. Ideally, this change in diet should be combined with sessions at the gym, walking, cycling or other exercises. However, even in its own right, the move to MUFAs is worth making. It does not require major changes in what you eat but a change in how you prepare your food.
People who suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis pains and stiffness in their joints that impairs mobility may ease these symptoms by eating more healthily. Research shows that one of the major improvements they can make is to start eating foods prepared with MUFAs in place of processed foods made with less healthy fats. Unfortunately, they cannot expect to cure their arthritis so easily, but whatever relief they can find this way is appreciated. This benefit comes in addition to other the general health benefits MUFAs can bring them.
The importance of a good vitamin balance to healthy bodies is a matter of common knowledge. Ideally, people need to get their vitamins from foodstuffs, sunlight and other natural sources but they can use vitamin supplements if these natural sources are insufficient. Using olive oil for cooking and replacing other fats with MUFAs helps the body absorb those vitamins that are fat-soluble, for example, vitamins A and D. Therefore, even if the actual vitamin intake remains the same their effectiveness increases.
At their mildest level, inflammatory illnesses force people to lose time from study and work and causes them a great deal of distress, but if not properly treated they develop into serious health dangers. Positive changes in diet help reduce the risks of these illnesses and assist the body in overcoming them. Removal of junk foods from the menu and increasing the use of MUFAs are two of the recommended steps to take. These changes become more effective when combined with an exercise program.
It is easy to underrate the importance of getting sufficient sleep. The body needs these hours of sleep to recharge its batteries. After a decent night's sleep, a person becomes energized and hence better able to meet the physical and emotional challenges life poses. Laboratory studies on mice showed that the animals who received MUFAs slept much longer than those given other kinds fats. This suggests that diets with good MUFAs can contribute to healthier sleeping patterns.
There is wide scope for additional research to explore the links between memory and diet. Preliminary studies indicate that high amounts of saturated fats in meals impede memory functioning. It follows that replacing these unhealthy fats with MUFAs can potentially enhance memory. The pressing need to treat patients with Alzheimer’s and similar diseases encourages researchers to investigate the extent that MUFAs might perhaps reduce the risks of such mental deterioration and help to treat it.
This life-threatening disease has become more common in western countries. One of the areas medical researchers investigate is the influence of diet on the risks of developing the disease. A study in Sweden showed that women who have good amounts of MUFAs in their meals seem to face a lower risk. The medical profession requires additional surveys and tests to draw firm conclusions, but nobody argues that this change in diet is undesirable.
While taste in food is obviously a very subjective matter, there is general agreement that the use of MUFAs improves taste as well as bringing many health benefits. People need to overcome their natural reluctance to change diet, and they are pleasantly surprised. For example, avocados make an excellent addition to any salad. And avocado paste is a good substitute for fatty butter and margarine. The bookshops and culinary websites are full of inventive recipes using MUFAs.
The classic image of a healthy body is one with a very good ratio of muscle mass to body fat. Regular workouts in the gym, weightlifting and other sports definitely contribute to achieving this desirable body. Replacing unhealthy fats with MUFAs also helps get the body into good shape. Besides cutting out one of the causes of body fat accumulation, these good fats combine well with protein to aid in muscle development.
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