Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and fish are rich in unsaturated fats. Common sources are avocados, olive oil, salmon, soybean oil, peanut butter, mackerel, flaxseed, sunflower oil and walnuts.
Unsaturated fats are broken down into two types: monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are further categorized into omega-6 fats, which come from vegetable oils, and omega-3 fats, which are also found in fatty fish. Polyunsaturated fats are considered essential fats because they provide the body with necessary fatty acids that it cannot make on its own.
While there are no specific guidelines for how much unsaturated fat a person should consume on a daily basis, nutritionists generally recommend keeping monounsaturated fat intake under 20 percent and polyunsaturated fat intake under 10 percent of total calories. To avoid gaining weight, replace unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats with unsaturated fats. Also replace any cooking oils or fats with oils high in unsaturated fat.
Unsaturated fats have been linked to the lowering of cholesterol, reducing the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. One should not attempt to cut out all fats from a diet, as fat is essential for good health. It is responsible for providing the body with energy, helps with normal bone growth and development, and is crucial for the absorption of certain nutrients and vitamins.