A monounsaturated fatty acid or MUFA contains a single incidence of double bonds along its chain. Monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) are produced by the body and are found in fats of both plant and animal origin. Animal sources of oleic acid are usually found along with saturated fatty acids and include beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, dairy products, eggs, and some fish. Oleic acid can make up from 20 to 50% of the fats in these foods. Plant sources include olive, canola (rapeseed), and peanut oils as well as the foods from which these oils are extracted. Nuts also provide a significant source of monounsaturated fat, including almonds, walnuts, avocados, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. A significant intake of monounsaturated fats may improve blood cholesterol levels and have a positive effect on insulin levels, helping regulate blood sugar levels.
A polyunsaturated fatty acid or PUFA would feature two or more connections along its chain where two carbon atoms are double-bonded. Most liquid fats like vegetable and fish oils are polyunsaturated. This type of fat is found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), like MUFAs may also improve blood cholesterol levels and may help decrease risk of type 2 diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acid is one type of polyunsaturated fat. Omega-3 can be found in some types of fatty fish, and can help decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. They may also protect against irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
The Omega-3's are the most important fat to the bodybuilding diet. They increase fatty acid oxidation (burning of fat), and decrease lipogenesis (fat formation), increase basal metabolic rates and lower cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids also provide an anabolic effect by increasing the binding of IGF-1 to skeletal muscle and improving insulin sensitivity, even on diets high in fat which have a tendency to decrease insulin sensitivity. As previously mentioned, Omega-3's also stimulate prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are eicosanoids that regulate activity in body cells on a moment-to-moment basis and are involved in critical functions like blood pressure regulation, insulin sensitivity, immune system and anti-inflammatory responses. They're also involved in literally hundreds of other functions, many of which have yet to be fully identified in research.