In biochemistry and nutrition, monounsaturated fats or MUFA (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) are fatty acids that have one double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded. By contrast, polyunsaturated fatty acids have more than one double bond.
Fatty acids are long-chained molecules having an alkyl group at one end and a carboxylic acid group at the other end. Fatty acid viscosity (thickness) and melting temperature increases with decreasing number of double bonds; therefore, monounsaturated fatty acids have a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fatty acids (more double bonds) and a lower melting point than saturated fatty acids (no double bonds). Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquids at room temperature and semisolid or solid when refrigerated.
Natural food sources
Monounsaturated fats are found in natural foods such as red meat, whole milk products, nuts and high fat fruits such as olives and avocados. Olive oil is about 75% monounsaturated fat. The high oleic variety sunflower oil contains as much as 85% monounsaturated fat. Canola oil and Cashews are both about 58% monounsaturated fat. Tallow (beef fat) is about 50% monounsaturated fat and lard is about 40% monounsaturated fat. Other sources include macadamia nut oil, grapeseed oil, groundnut oil (peanut oil), sesame oil, corn oil, popcorn, whole grain wheat, cereal, oatmeal, safflower oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, hemp oil, tea-oil Camellia, and avocado oil.
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