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What are unsaturated fats ?

Oils, or unsaturated fats, are a type of fat that is generally liquid at room temperature. This is because they are rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

Unsaturated fatty acids are divided into mono-unsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Depending on the fatty acid they contain, unsaturated fats are categorised as either mono-unsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats.

Mono-unsaturated fats are fats which are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids. They are found in a variety of foods and are particularly abundant in oils such as olive oil and peanut oil.

Polyunsaturated fats are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and are found in oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel. They are also found in some oils such as soybean and rapeseed. Other sources include some nuts and seeds, including walnuts, sunflower seeds and chia seeds.

Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like omega 3 and omega 6, is recommended; they do not increase ‘bad’ cholesterol and actually help to maintain ‘good’ cholesterol. These omega fatty acids are called essential fatty acids. The body cannot produce them by itself, meaning they have to be obtained from food.