MUFA foods are those high in monounsaturated fatty acids. They are the basis of the MUFA diet, an eating plan designed to improve health and reduce belly fat. Popular MUFA foods include olive oil, soybean oil, olives, peanuts, walnuts and avocados.
MUFA foods are staples of the Mediterranean diet. However, they also offer benefits to individuals who do not fully adopt it. Health improvements associated with MUFA foods include reduced LDL cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure, improved blood clotting and normalization of blood insulin levels.
Proponents of the MUFA diet state that lowering carbohydrate intake and eating more MUFA foods cuts abdominal fat, even without a change in exercise habits. Abdominal fat increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke and diabetes because when it breaks down, it travels directly to the liver and heart. Physicians often recommend the MUFA diet to obese patients, particularly those with high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
Although the MUFA diet emphasizes the role of beneficial dietary fats, calories are also an important factor. MUFA dieters reap the maximum benefits by staying within the recommended daily calorie range, which is based on age, gender, activity level and current weight. MUFA foods are not merely diet additions; they are substitutes for unhealthy fats.