8 Amazing Secrets About Avocados You Never Knew
Man does not live by bread alone; he needs toast. And, apparently, not just any toast—avocado toast. Americans are avocado obsessed. Consumption has tripled in the past 20 years according to the USDA, and now we're eating the buttery fruit to the tune of 7 pounds per person per year. Some of us are eating much more, like, every day. You? In honor of National Guacamole Day, which we celebrate every September 16, here are the 20 Best Guacamole Recipes Ever and 8 reasons to eat this stunning fruit every day.
Here's what happens to your body when you eat avocados every day. And for more info about the benefits of eating healthy foods regularly, check out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day.
You may lose weight
Because avocados are high in fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats like those found in olive oil, they are highly satiating. A half an avocado contains 10 grams of monounsaturated fats and 5 grams of fiber. Overweight adults who added a half of an avocado to a lunch meal reported increased meal satisfaction of 26% and a decreased desire to eat by 40% in the three-hour period following the meal compared to people who didn't have avocados with lunch, demonstrated a study in Nutrition Journal. One caveat: the addition of avocado to the lunch contributed an extra 112 calories to the meal.
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You may end up eating more fruits and vegetables
A 2013 study in Nutrition Journal determined that people who regularly eat avocados tend to have significantly higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, dietary fiber, monounsaturated fats, vitamins E and K, and lower consumption of added sugars than people who did not eat avocados. Eating avocado regularly isn't enough to guarantee you're eating enough fruits and vegetables. To make sure you're meeting the recommended amount, see 9 Warning Signs You're Not Eating Enough Vegetables.
You may lower your risk of metabolic syndrome
We're talking about "metabolic syndrome," a cluster of cardiometabolic health problems (let's rattle off a few: a large waist circumference, high triglycerides, and blood sugar, high blood pressure, low "good" HDL cholesterol) that puts you at much greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, arthritis, and even schizophrenia. Metabolic syndrome affects approximately one-third of American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Got your attention? A large study of more than 17,000 adults found that the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 50% lower in avocado eaters compared to people who never ate them. Did you know that metabolic syndrome is a major risk factor for dying from the coronavirus?
You could squash your hunger pangs
In a study published in Nutrition Journal, participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40% decreased desire to eat for hours afterward. At only 60 calories, a 2-tablespoon serving of guacamole can provide the same satiety benefit with even more of a flavor punch. Did we just make guac your go-to weight-loss app? Here are 50 more foods that will help you lose weight.
You may lower your blood pressure
You probably know that potassium regulates fluid in the body, and it can help reduce the blood-pressure raising effects of dietary sodium. You're probably aware that bananas are a good source of the helpful mineral. But did you know that 1 cup of cubed avocado packs 728 milligams of potassium, 300 mg more than a medium banana? In addition to helping to flush sodium from the body, potassium relaxes the walls of blood vessels, further lowering blood pressure. "People who don't eat a lot of potassium-rich foods are more likely to develop high blood pressure and have a stroke," says Anthony L Komaroff, M.D., Editor in Chief of Harvard Health Letter. If you're hypertension prone, check out these 14 Mistakes that are Making Your High Blood Pressure Worse.
It may lower your 'bad' cholesterol and protect your heart
"An avocado a day, may keep the cardiologist away," could become the new "apple a day" saying for the avocado-toast generation. A study by researchers from Penn State University's Department of Nutrition Sciences linked eating one avocado daily to lower levels of LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, and specifically the most heart-harming kind of LDL, called small dense LDL particles. When 45 obese or overweight adults were assigned three similar cholesterol-lowering diets for five weeks, researchers found that only the diet that included avocado reduced levels of LDL, according to the report in The Journal of Nutrition. "When you think about bad cholesterol, it comes packaged in LDL particles, which vary in size," said one of the study authors, Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition. "All LDL is bad, but small, dense LDL is particularly bad. A key finding was that people on the avocado diet had fewer oxidized LDL particles. They also had more lutein, which may be the bioactive that's protecting the LDL from being oxidized."
It will load you up with plant sterols
Avocados boast a bumper crop of plant compounds that are believed to have a positive effect on heart health. Avocados contain almost 20 times more fat-soluble phytosterols than other fruits, according to research in the journal Critical Review of Food Science and Nutrition. Phytosterols are known to lower levels of LDL cholesterol.
It may prevent type 2 diabetes
There may be something special inside avocados that may make them particularly effective at preventing type 2 diabetes. In an animal study from the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph in Canada, researchers found that a fat molecule called avocatin B (AvoB for short) found only in avocados can restrict the cellular process that may cause diabetes. "The treated mice showed greater insulin sensitivity, meaning that their bodies were able to absorb and burn blood glucose and improve their response to insulin," wrote study author Paul Spagnulo in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Ready to eat more avocados? Make sure to read about 7 Secrets for Buying the Perfect Avocado before you hit up the grocery store.
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