Avocados Are A Great Source Of Healthy Fats

The avocado is a food that often turns up in the news owed to its preponderance of health benefits.

For instance, a review of 129 articles about avocado intake revealed it’s especially helpful for preventing, or lessening metabolic syndrome. A precursor of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors including high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, obesity, high LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Good For Our Lipids

Avocado is particularly good at normalizing our lipid, or blood-fat profile (e.g., cholesterol, triglycerides). For example:

  • In a study where volunteers regularly consumed avocado with hamburger, the avocado had a post-meal anti-inflammatory effect, improved vascular health by preventing the constriction of blood vessels, and lowered elevated triglyceride levels.
  • With obese individuals a daily intake of avocado improved their cholesterol numbers, and lowered body weight, BMI, and body fat percentages.
  • Several studies have shown that regular avocado intake lowers triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, while preserving or increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
  • When an extract of the avocado leaf was given to people newly diagnosed with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, they experienced significant reductions in their LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

While no single food can keep us well, this evidence suggests that adding avocado to a healthy diet may help prevent or delay the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.

Healthy Fats

It’s monounsaturated fats, such as oleic and linoleic acids that make avocados good at regulating cholesterol. These fats also rev up our basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the rate at which calories burn when we’re resting. This means boosting our BMR by avocado consumption may be useful for weight loss.

Avocados contain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids as well. They help stabilize blood pressure, sustain normal heart rates, and reduce our risk for cardiovascular events such as stroke, or heart attack.

Beside the healthy fats in avocados, there’s an abundance of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K, fiber, phytonutrients, and a slew of minerals.

Enjoying Avocados

There are plenty of interesting ways to enjoy avocado other than making a yummy guacamole:

  • Avocado can be used as an alternative to butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese.
  • Make fries by slicing an avocado, dipping the slices in egg, and rolling them in breadcrumbs; bake at 400 F.
  • In a food processor combine a very ripe avocado, 6 semisweet ounces melted chocolate, 3 tablespoons honey, and a pinch of salt for a creamy chocolate mousse.
  • Avocado is amazing on BLTs.
  • Add chunks of avocado to a favorite smoothie recipe.
  • Put a peeled frozen banana, 1/4 avocado, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in a blender, and puree until smooth.

To purchase a good avocado, we can take this advice from cookbook author Dorie Greenspan:

“I use color as my chief guide. But I always squeeze an avocado - you want the fruit to feel close to the skin. If you can feel a separation, the avocado is past its prime. The avocado should have a little give, but not much.”

Sources: Endocrinology Advisor; Fitday; Buzzfeed; Epicurious
Photo credit: Kristina

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