Avocados are not Instagram-famous for nothing. This bumpy on the outside, creamy on the inside fruit is chock full of good-for-you nutrients. Avocados provide 11% of the daily value for fiber and boast almost 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium and folate.
We know this popular fruit is good for us, but new research shows eating an avocado a day may help lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in overweight or obese adults. Previous research also suggests regularly eating avocados may help prevent metabolic syndrome. According to the American Heart Association, as many as 34% of American adults may have metabolic syndrome, a group of factors that increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Some of those factors include having extra fat in the mid-section, low HDL (good) cholesterol levels, higher fasting blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Packed with health-promoting nutrients and phytochemicals, avocados have been shown to reduce many of these risk factors, giving them some serious food fighting powers. This review highlights some of the strongest research. A diet high in avocado and its monounsaturated fat seems to lower total blood cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and may also increase HDL (good) cholesterol. That’s a double win. As if we needed more reasons to scoop, there’s emerging research exploring a potential benefit between avocados and skin, eye and even joint health.
Being an avocado lover obviously has its perks. Data suggests people who eat half an avocado a day, on average, have a better overall diet quality and health status. A recent study revealed frequent avocado eaters had higher intakes of fiber, heart-healthy fats, vitamins E and C and several minerals. At the same time, they tend to eat less total sugar and sodium. It could very well be that people who regularly eat avocados generally follow a healthier diet. And those healthier eating patterns show on the outside, too. Those who eat avocados daily tend to weigh less — about 7 1/2 pounds less. In addition, they experienced lower insulin levels and were 32% less likely to have metabolic syndrome.
Now that you have plenty ways to justify your avocado addiction, you might be wondering how much to eat. Though it’s common for people to eat half an avocado at once, one serving is actually a third of an avocado.
And there’s no shortage of ways to incorporate avocados into your day. Try avocado smashed on toast, whirled into smoothies for creaminess, dolloped on top of burgers or fish, mixed into salsa, as a substitute for butter or oil in baking, or simply scooped right from the skin shell. If you need more ideas, or want someone else to prepare an avocado for you, pop into the world’s first avocado bar, recently opened in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The list of ways to enjoy this creamy fruit goes on and on. And that’s a good thing. Many of the benefits are associated with eating avocado daily, so get creative and enjoy it.
Originally published December 2019
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