Monounsaturated fat has received plenty of attention for its status as a heart-healthy fat, as well as its role (in the form of olive oil) in Mediterranean-style diets. The most prominent monounsaturated fatty acid in nature is oleic acid.
The most common monounsaturated fatty acid (by far!), oleic acid is a long-chain monounsaturated fat that can be produced from another fat, stearic acid. Due to its presence in phospholipids in cell membranes, it plays an important role in cellular function. Along with its well-established benefits for cardiovascular health, oleic may also help fight inflammation, protect against cancer, support a healthy body weight, influence immune function, and even have anti-diabetes effects (including protecting against some diabetic complications).
The next two most common monounsaturated fatty acids are palmitoleic acid, and vaccenic acid. We’ll be adding articles on these fatty acids soon!