Avocados have become a favorite brunch option, but our taste buds aren’t the only ones loving them. Despite their relatively high calorie and fat content, especially compared to other fruits, one study found that women who ate avocados every day for 12 weeks lost “visceral” belly fat. Visceral fat is the hidden fat that surrounds our internal organs and is more dangerous to health than visible fat. Compared to people who avoid avocados, other research has shown that avocado eaters generally weigh less, have smaller waistlines, and gain less weight as they age.
In another study, healthy adults were 15% less likely to become obese if they ate one and a half medium-sized avocados per week. It is monounsaturated fats and fiber that most likely explain this phenomenon.
One study found that women were 26% more satisfied three hours after eating a lunch containing half an avocado. Even better, they compensated for most of the extra calories provided by the avocado by eating less at the evening meal.
Beyond the waistline, avocados have many other health benefits.
Heroes for heart health.
An avocado a day can keep the cardiologist away. Avocados have been shown to increase good cholesterol – the type of cholesterol that protects our heart and blood vessels.
The heart benefits are likely due to a combination of monounsaturated fats, fiber and natural plant compounds called phytosterols, such as beta-sitosterol, which help block the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, thereby reducing levels. .
Benefits for blood pressure.
In addition to reducing salt, eating more potassium-rich foods will help keep your blood pressure within healthy limits. Bananas are often considered the potassium champion, but avocados are just as good. A medium-sized banana and half a medium-sized avocado provide about 330 mg of potassium, although some varieties contain even more.
Valuable for vision.
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to a lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Diets high in monounsaturated fats have also been found to protect against age-related eye problems.
Great for the skin.
Avocados contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect cells, including those in the skin, from damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. Additionally, a healthy intake of monounsaturated fats has been linked to reduced wrinkles.
Beneficial for the brain.
Avocados provide folate and vitamins B5 and B6. Low intakes of B vitamins have been linked to depression, anxiety and stress, while low intakes of folate and vitamin B6 have been linked to cognitive decline in older adults.
People who enjoy avocados tend to have better diets overall. In one study, people who ate avocados ate more fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins E and K than those who didn’t, and they also ate less sugar.
The fat in avocados also helps our body absorb nutrients such as beta-carotene (which the body uses to produce vitamin A), lycopene, and lutein. One study found that by adding half an avocado to a salad of lettuce, carrots and spinach, adults took in almost 14 times more beta-carotene and four times more lutein.