Monounsaturated Fats Extend Lifespan

Blog Entry #82

By Admin –

Monounsaturated fats shouldn’t need a lengthy introduction as their healthy benefits are well documented, however to recap.

Food sources of monounsaturated fatty acids are as follows; olive oil, avocados, nuts, olives, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and various seeds. Health benefits include; lowering the risk of heart disease, strokes and other circulatory problems, inflammation, total cholesterol and LDL, whilst increasing HDL cholesterol, contain potent anti-oxidants vitamin E and lower cancer risks.

Typically, Mediterranean diets are high in monounsaturated fats, they’re also a population with one of the best mortality rates and absent from many cancers associated with other western countries possibly due to their dietary intake.

Having a high intake of monounsaturated fats (MUFA) has long been attributed to an extended lifespan. This has been confirmed in animal studies as shown in the figure below [1].










Human studies also support this conclusion, which we’re going to discuss today. We’re going to look at a 2005 lifespan study at the University of Bari, and published in Experimental Gerontology, looking at the dietary intake of Italians with diets higher than average in monounsaturated fats [2].

The study lasted 8.5 years and looked at 278 Italian individuals aged between 65 and 84. During this time they attempted to discover dietary patterns linked to mortality risk.

The researchers found that there was no correlation between protein, carbohydrate, and fibre and “bad” saturated fast acids (SFA). The only micronutrients that affected mortality were monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and the ratio of unsaturated fatty acids: saturated fatty acids [UFA/SFA].




















The correlation between consuming monounsaturated fats was more pronounced, which means the more monounsaturated fatty acids they consumed, the longer they lived.

The Italian researchers conclude, “In conclusion, in this prospective study on older nondemented subjects with a typical Mediterranean diet, a higher MUFA intake increased survival, while a higher UFA/SFA ratio increased total mortality, but only marginally.”

Monounsaturated fats should be a part of your diet if you wish to lead a healthy lifestyle and is imperative if bodybuilding or an athlete.


[1].  J Comp Physiol B. 2011 Feb; 181(2): 289-98.

[2]. Exp Gerontol. 2005 Apr;40(4):335-43.