Unlike omega-3 and omega-6 fats, omega-9 fats aren’t strictly essential nutrients, because the body makes them on its own. Omega-9 fats are also unique because they are monounsaturated, instead of polyunsaturated. This changes the way they interact with out body and gives them their unique health benefits.
The most common omega-9 fat is called oleic acid. It’s the most common form in both our bodies and our diets, and that means it also has the most research backing its health benefits. The most significant of those benefits are omega-9’s ability to strengthen the immune system. These fats also appear to reduce markers of inflammation. Oleic acid, for example, has been studied as a way to reduce inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Oleic acid may also benefit cardiovascular health in a number of ways. When it comes to lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL), omega-9 fats appear to play a role.
Omega-9 fats keep the body’s blood sugar levels in check. They do this by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is a hormone whose main job is allowing glucose in the blood to enter cells. Cells need this sugar for energy to carry out vital functions. Insulin therefore plays a key role in keeping your blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low.
There aren’t very many studies into omega-9 fats, compared, say, with omega-3s. Still, researchers have found that humans who ate high-monounsaturated fat diets saw a decrease in inflammation and an improvement in insulin sensitivity, compared with humans with diets high in saturated fats.
It’s easy to find foods to increase your intake of this healthy fat. Good sources of omega-9 fats include olive oil, cashew nut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, almonds, cashews and walnuts.
Simply put, the foods that contain omega-9 fats are healthy anyway, so adding them to your diet is just a good idea. At the same time, there’s nothing to worry about if you don’t think you’re getting enough of these fats through your diet. If you need more, your body can just make more!
Omega-9 Fatty Acid — 2020
Monounsaturated fatty acid-enriched high-fat diets impede adipose NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β secretion and insulin resistance despite obesity — 2015
High-monounsaturated-fat diets for patients with diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis — 1998