Although people usually associate the word “fat” with unhealthy, gain weight, and calories, there are various types of fats that we can include in our daily diet: unsaturated, saturated and trans fats. And all the three have different properties and impact on your health, which is not necessarily harmful!
In fact, unsaturated fats are considered as healthy fats, as they may have multiple beneficial effects on our health! And you can consume them not only in the form of cooking oils added to your meals, but also as a natural part of foods, including meat, fish, veggies, nuts, etc.
In this article, we will take a closer look into the properties and nature of the healthy fats, including their sub-types, and the foods that naturally contain them.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What are unsaturated fats?
Unsaturated fats, also known as healthy fats, are types of macronutrients, which are associated with various health-supporting properties. Evidence suggests that regular consumption of such fats may result in health benefits like :
- Reduced artery buildup
- Improved LDL to HDL ratio (good cholesterol to bad cholesterol levels)
- Balanced total cholesterol
- Reduced risk of coronary disease
- Improved skin condition
- Reduced inflammation
The unsaturated fats can be mainly found in nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fish. You can easily recognize them as they are liquid at room temperature and when heated.
Two different types of unsaturated fats exist: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Foods rich in monounsaturated fats:
You can recognize them as they are liquid at room temperature, but turn solid if cooled (or refrigerated). Such fats can be found in various foods, including :
- Nuts: almonds, pecans, etc.
- Seeds: sesame seed, pumpkin seed
- Vegetable oils: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc.
Additional health benefit of monounsaturated fats is that they can supply you with vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant! 
Learn if sunflower oil can actually be good for you!
What are the benefits of polyunsaturated fats?
You can easily recognize them! Those fats stay liquid both at room temperature and when refrigerated. Keep in mind that the human body cannot produce those healthy fats, but it needs them to function properly. That’s why it’s essential to supply them from with food. The purpose of polyunsaturated fats is to regulate blood clotting, inflammation, and muscle development, as well as build cells’ protective barriers. 
The polyunsaturated fats have two different forms: Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids (I bet you’ve heard those two, and you definitely know they are healthy. Now everything makes more sense, doesn’t it?).
Those fatty acids, are responsible for improving cholesterol profile and triglycerides levels, as well as neutralizing artery buildup, and supporting healthy body functions. Their health-promoting properties are the reason why polyunsaturated fats are considered “healthy fats”. 
In that sense, if you replace the consumption of saturated fats with moderate consumption of polyunsaturated fats in your diet, you may lower the risk of developing coronary diseases, stroke, and hypertension. 
Here is a list of foods, rich in polyunsaturated fats: 
- Fish oil
- Fish and seafood
- Nuts and seeds: walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds)
- Vegetable oils (corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil)
By choosing to consume unsaturated fats as the main fat source for your eating regime you can hardly go wrong! The only thing you should be careful about is the smoking point of those oils. Don’t forget also to check which oils are most suitable for cooking.