Are unsaturated fats good for you? 7 Benefits to know

Longevity.Technology System users:

To check your unsaturated fats:

  1. Download the LT System app on your Android or Apple smartphone.
  2. Open the LT System app and select ‘DNA Results.’
  3. Under ‘Diet,’ scroll down and find ‘Unsaturated Fats.’
  4. Now, scroll down to find your results and recommendations.

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You may be confused about fats and wondering which ones are good for you. You’re not alone. With all the conflicting information, figuring out which fats to include in your diet can be tough.

However, there’s good news about unsaturated fats. These fats, especially polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, offer many health benefits.

Studies have consistently shown that swapping out saturated fats for unsaturated fats can significantly lower your risk of coronary heart disease [1]. By making this simple dietary change, you can improve your heart health and overall well-being.

In this blog, we will explore seven key benefits of unsaturated fats and how they can positively impact your health.

Which is better, polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat?

Regarding unsaturated fats, it’s important to know that there are two main types: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats [2]. Both types are essential for maintaining good health, but they offer different benefits and are found in different foods.

Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats offer significant health benefits. However, understanding their differences and how they contribute to your health can help you make more informed dietary choices.

AspectPolyunsaturated fatMonounsaturated fat
SourcesFatty fish (salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn oil)Olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts, other nuts and seeds, canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
NutrientsOmega-3 fatty acidsHigh in vitamin E and antioxidants
Recommended intakeBalance intake with omega-3 and omega-6Incorporate regularly, but balance with overall fat intake
Role in dietEssential for various bodily functions and reducing inflammationImportant for heart health, blood sugar control, and overall cellular health

What are the health benefits of saturated fat?

Unsaturated fats offer numerous health benefits that can enhance your overall well-being. From improving heart health to supporting brain function, these fats are essential for maintaining a healthy body [3].

Unlike saturated fats, which can increase the risk of heart disease, unsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, lower inflammation, and even aid in weight management.

By incorporating unsaturated fats into your diet, you can take a significant step towards better health. Let’s discuss the specific benefits these fats provide.

1. Heart health

Unsaturated fats play a crucial role in maintaining and improving heart health. One key benefit is their ability to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, significantly reducing the risk of heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats to improve heart health [4]. Consuming unsaturated fats in moderation as part of a balanced diet significantly benefits your cardiovascular system.

Actionable advice: To reap these heart-healthy benefits, incorporate more foods rich in unsaturated fats into your diet. Add avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel to your meals. Swap butter and other saturated fats for olive or canola oil. 

2. Cholesterol levels

Consuming foods rich in unsaturated fats, such as those containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helps reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood.

High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can significantly decrease these risks.

Moreover, unsaturated fats help boost HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol is beneficial because it helps transport LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it can be processed and eliminated from the body. 

Actionable advice: To improve your cholesterol levels, incorporate more sources of unsaturated fats into your diet. Opt for foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. Replace saturated fats like butter and lard with healthier options like canola or sunflower oil. 

3. Anti-inflammatory properties

Polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids in foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are especially effective at combating inflammation [5]. These fats help to regulate the body’s inflammatory response, reducing the production of inflammatory compounds.

Monounsaturated fats in foods like olive oil, avocados, and nuts also reduce inflammation. They contain antioxidants and other compounds that help to lower inflammatory markers in the body, promoting overall health and well-being.

Actionable advice: To leverage the anti-inflammatory benefits of unsaturated fats, incorporate more sources of these fats into your meals. Aim to include fatty fish like salmon or mackerel at least twice a week, add a handful of walnuts or flaxseeds to your salads, and use olive oil as your primary cooking oil.

4. Brain health

The brain comprises nearly 60% fat, and a significant portion comprises omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are integral to the structure of brain cells and their communication [6].

Adequate intake of omega-3s is associated with improved cognitive function, better memory retention, and a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Monounsaturated fats also contribute to brain health by protecting brain cells from oxidative stress. These fats help maintain the integrity of cell membranes, ensuring efficient communication between neurons, which is vital for learning and memory.

Actionable advice: To boost your brain health, incorporate more unsaturated fats into your diet. Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, in your meals. Add monounsaturated fat-rich foods like olive oil, avocados, and nuts to your daily diet. 

5. Weight management

Unlike saturated fats, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity, unsaturated fats can help you feel fuller for longer, reducing overall calorie intake [7].

Unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated fats in foods like avocados and nuts, promote satiety. This can help control your appetite and reduce the temptation to overeat, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Additionally, unsaturated fats regulate metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to enhance metabolic rate, aiding in the more efficient burning of calories. 

Actionable advice: To support weight management, eat more unsaturated fats. Snack on nuts like almonds or walnuts, add slices of avocado to salads and sandwiches and cook with healthy oils like olive oil instead of butter. 

6. Skin health

Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain the skin’s lipid barrier. This barrier is essential for keeping moisture and irritants out, leading to hydrated and supple skin.

Additionally, omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and inflammation associated with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Monounsaturated fats are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, such as vitamin E [8]. These nutrients help protect the skin from oxidative stress and environmental damage, promoting a more youthful and radiant complexion. 

Actionable advice: To enhance your skin health, make sure to incorporate foods high in unsaturated fats into your diet. Enjoy a variety of fatty fish like salmon or mackerel, add a handful of flaxseeds or chia seeds to your smoothies, and use olive oil in your salad dressings. 

7. Epigenetic benefits

Unsaturated fats are increasingly recognized for their potential epigenetic benefits, which can influence gene expression and overall health.

Epigenetics involves changes in gene activity that do not alter the DNA sequence but can affect how genes are turned on or off. Diet, including the types of fats consumed, plays a significant role in these epigenetic modifications.

Polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, have been shown to affect gene expression related to inflammation and metabolism positively.

Incorporating these fats into your diet can help regulate genes that control inflammatory responses and metabolic processes, leading to better health outcomes.

Monounsaturated fats also contribute to favorable epigenetic changes [9]. These fats can influence genes involved in heart health and cellular function. A diet rich in unsaturated fats can support optimal gene expression, promoting overall well-being and longevity.

Actionable advice: To understand how your unique genetic makeup interacts with your diet, consider using the Longevity.Technology System Epigenetic & DNA Test. This test provides personalized insights into how your genes respond to various dietary components, including unsaturated fats. 

Integrate the Longevity.Technology System Epigenetic & DNA Test in your diet

Understanding how your body responds to different types of fats, such as unsaturated fats, is crucial for optimizing your health, and the Longevity.Technology Epigenetic & DNA Test can provide valuable insights into your unique genetic makeup.

This test analyzes your DNA to reveal how your genes interact with various dietary components, including unsaturated fats.

By taking the Epigenetic & DNA Test, you can gain personalized recommendations tailored to your genetic profile. This can help you make more informed decisions about your diet and lifestyle.

For instance, if you discover through the test that your body responds exceptionally well to omega-3 fatty acids, you might prioritize including more fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts in your diet.

On the other hand, if your genetic profile indicates a better response to monounsaturated fats, you could focus on incorporating more olive oil, avocados, and nuts.

Taking the Longevity.Technology System Epigenetic & DNA Test is simple and convenient. By following the personalized insights it provides, you can tailor your diet to support optimal gene expression, which can enhance your heart health, brain function, weight management, skin health, and more.

What foods are high in unsaturated fat?

Now that you know how to maximize the benefits of unsaturated fats and how you can leverage the advantages of the Longevity.Technology Epigenetic & DNA Test to improve your diet and lifestyle, let’s discuss the foods that are rich in these beneficial fats.

Understanding which foods to include in your meals will help you make informed choices to support your overall health. Let’s discuss some of the best sources of unsaturated fats and how they can fit into your daily diet [10].

Polyunsaturated fats

FoodExamplesBenefits
Fatty fishSalmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and tunaRich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation
SeedsFlaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seedsExcellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, promoting heart health and aiding in digestion
NutsWalnuts, pine nuts, and pecansHigh in omega-6 fatty acids, which help maintain healthy skin and cell membranes
Vegetable oilsSunflower oil, soybean oil, and corn oilVersatile cooking oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids, supporting heart health and lowering cholesterol levels
Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats
Photograph: NatalieZera/Envato

Monounsaturated fats

FoodExamplesBenefits
OilsCanola oil, peanut oil, and sesame oilGreat for cooking and high in monounsaturated fats, these oils support heart health and provide a good alternative to saturated fats.
FruitAvocadoHigh in monounsaturated fats and vitamins, avocados are excellent for heart health and skin health.
NutsAlmonds, cashews, and peanuts
Provide a good amount of monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber, aiding in weight management and reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Nut buttersAlmond butter, peanut butter, and cashew butterDelicious and nutritious spreads that offer monounsaturated fats and are perfect for snacks or additions to meals
SeedsPumpkin seeds and sesame seedsContain monounsaturated fats along with vitamins and minerals, supporting overall health

Incorporating various sources of both fats can help ensure you receive a wide range of nutrients and health benefits. To achieve a healthy balance, include a variety of foods rich in both types of unsaturated fats in your diet.

Aim to consume fatty fish like salmon a few times a week, use olive oil or avocado oil for cooking, and enjoy a handful of nuts or seeds as a daily snack. This balanced approach will help you maximize the health benefits of unsaturated fats and support your overall well-being.

Final takeaways

Incorporating unsaturated fats into your diet is a simple yet powerful way to enhance your overall health. By understanding the different roles that polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats play, you can make more informed dietary choices that align with your health goals.

Balance and variety are key. Include foods rich in these beneficial fats, such as fatty fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. This approach ensures you get a broad spectrum of nutrients contributing to your well-being.

Ready to take control of your heart health? Don’t let genetics be your destiny. Take the Epigenetic & DNA Test, discover how your body uniquely processes fats, and tailor your diet for optimal heart health.

FAQs

What are the main sources of polyunsaturated fats?

Polyunsaturated fats are found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil.

How do monounsaturated fats benefit heart health?

Monounsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels, promoting better heart health.

Can I consume too much unsaturated fat?

While unsaturated fats are healthy, it’s important to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet to avoid excessive calorie intake.

How can the Longevity.Technology Epigenetic & DNA Test help me?

The Longevity.Technology System Epigenetic & DNA Test provides personalized insights into how your genes interact with your diet, helping you optimize your intake of unsaturated fats and other nutrients.

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109715046914
[2] https://www.centrafoods.com/blog/monounsaturated-vs-polyunsaturated-vs-saturated-fat-what-are-they
[3] https://www.verywellhealth.com/foods-that-are-high-in-unsaturated-fats-697736
[4] https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats
[5] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-skinny-on-unsaturated-fats-why-you-need-them-the-best-sources
[6] https://www.doctorsformulas.com/en/category/newsposts/fatty-acids-contribute-to-brain-health.htm
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9082591/
[8] https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/teach-me/get-the-skinny-on-fats-the-good-the-bad-and-the-worst-for-you 
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6275017/
[10] https://www.pro-activ.com/en-ie/heart-and-cholesterol/cholesterol-and-fats/what-foods-contain-unsaturated-fats

Photograph: Olena_Rudo/Envato
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