NZ Woman's Weekly

Benefits of unsaturated fat

Next time you make a salad, add a sprinkle of nuts or a few slices of avocado and drizzle with olive oil.

Adding unsaturated fats makes a salad even better for you because when they are eaten together, the two types of food combine to create compounds called nitro fatty acids.

These fatty acids react with an enzyme in the body that can lower high blood pressure. This in turn can reduce the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers at King’s College in London found that a chemical reaction occurs in the body when nitrates in foods high in unsaturated fats – such as olive oil, nuts, avocados and oily fish – are digested at the same time as nitrates in vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, celery, carrots and beetroot.

They believe this combination of foods may be one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet – in which lots of olive oil is consumed – is so good at reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Take a look at the health benefits of potassium here.

Image: Andrew Young/


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