Including avocado with your meals may help you feel fuller for longer and reduce the urge for overweight adults to eat more, according to new research just released on the consumption of avocados.
Researchers at Loma Linda University investigated whether adding fresh avocado to a midday meal had any effect on insulin response, blood sugar levels, feelings of fullness and food intake for the rest of the day.
Their initial findings determined that there was indeed a basis for further research into the benefits of adding avocado to a meal or replacing some parts of the meal with fresh avocado.
The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is currently financially supporting several clinical trials to discover if there is a relationship between increased consumption of avocados and positive effects on diabetes, weight management and risk factors of heart disease.
In the meantime, here are 10 health benefits of avocados that we already know:
1. Benefits in pregnancy. Avocados are a natural source of folate which contains folic acid and is important for the development of a healthy fetus. Synthetic versions of folic acid are recommended for all women who are planning to get pregnant; eating avocados is a simpler and tastier option!
2. Avocados are brimming with ‘good’ fats. You may have heard that you should avoid avocados due to their high fat content. This is not quite the case. While they are very high in fat (and calories) these are monounsaturated fats or ‘good fats’. They assist good heart health and help to lower blood pressure. The monounsaturated fats found in avocados can also help to reverse insulin resistance which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
3. Fantastic source of Vitamin E. Avocados are the fruit with the highest level of Vitamin E (yes avocados are a fruit!) Vitamin E is an essential vitamin and helps to maintain overall health. Vitamin E also has positive effects on heart disease, stroke, cancer prevention, and development of cataracts and is widely claimed to have anti-aging properties.
4. Source of dietary fiber. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber meaning they help to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing re-absorption, help to maintain bowel function and can assist the body to avoid blood sugar spikes after meals.
5. You know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an avocado. At the time of writing there are no genetically modified avocado crops. Avocados have such a thick skin that the inner fruit is protected from pesticides making the cost of organic avocados something you can easily bypass.
6. Avocados are a ‘brain food’. Dr. Daniel G. Amen considers them one of the best brain-healthy foods that you can consume to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin E are naturally occurring in avocados and have been clinically proven to stop Alzheimer’s disease from progressing and possibly even reversing the very early stages.
7. Better nutrient absorption. Adding avocado to a meal has been found to increase the amount of carotenoids absorbed from that meal by up to 5 times. Carotenoids include beta carotene and lycopene which are important nutrients for good health. This increase is through to be due to nutrients and enzymes in avocados that reduce stomach inflammation and inflammation in the small intestine’s mucous lining. So you not only get the powerhouse of nutrients contained in the avocado but you get greater benefits from the foods you choose to eat with it.
8. May aid in stroke prevention. The high folate levels that are beneficial to pregnant women may also play a part in reducing the incidence of stroke. Those who eat diets that contain a lot of folate have been shown to suffer stroke far less than those who eat less folate in their everyday diet.
9. Reduction of cholesterol. One study has shown a 17% decrease in cholesterol levels for participants who ate increased amounts of avocado for just one week. Researchers believe this is due to beta-sitosterol which has previously been found to assist in lowering cholesterol levels.
10. Protection for your eyes. Eating avocados can increase your levels of Lutein which protects against macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. Further research is needed to determine exactly what it is that may assist in eye protection.
Adding an avocado into your daily diet and reaping the above benefits is so easy. Avocado is great added to salads, made into guacamole and even eaten alone with ground pepper and a few drops of olive oil. It can also easily be substituted for fats in cooking and baking. Take out the oil or butter and replace it with the same amount of avocado. You’ll add interesting flavors to your cooking and will be helping your overall health.
Avocados are extremely tasty and are chock full of nutritional goodness.
Try one today!