Avocado is the superhero of the fruit world, even though it’s actually a really large berry. It boasts 322 calories and 29 grams of fat – 10 to 20 times more than any other items you’ll find in the supermarket’s produce section. However, this monounsaturated fat should not scare you; it’s what makes the avocado so damn nutritious for humans. It gives the fruit an arsenal of capabilities: lowering cholesterol, curbing hunger, and reducing belly fat, among others. Enjoying an avocado is easy: just peel one, slice it up and top it off with a little sea salt for flavor. Here are some of avocado’s strengths:
1. Weight loss
Avocado oil is a healthy alternative to almost any oil that you use now for cooking and frying. One tablespoon of avocado oil contains approximately 120 calories and 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, which can target and break down fat in the abdominal area. A study at Penn State University found that consuming 40 grams (about three tablespoons) of high-oleic oils on a daily basis lessened subjects’ belly fat by 1.6% over a one-month period, in comparison to other study subjects who consumed other types of oils. Avocado oil is also better for cooking because of its higher smoking point.
Avocados fight bad cholesterol. The American Heart Association conducted an experiment in which 45 overweight people lived on one of three different cholesterol-lowering diets for more than one month. The individuals who had been put on a diet which included one avocado per day showed lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) than the others. The researchers conducting the experiment attributed the differences to avocado’s monounsaturated fat content (heart-healthy fat).
When you add some healthy fat to a portion of vegetables, your body will absorb more of the fat-soluble carotenoids – disease-fighting compounds – found within them. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that, when avocado was an ingredient in salads, people absorbed up to five times more carotenoids.
When study participants ate half of a fresh avocado for lunch, they reported feeling 40% less hungry afterwards.
Free radicals (harmful oxygen molecules) found in the atmosphere around us all attack the mitochondria of our cells, weaken our metabolisms and cause all sorts of other health issues. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. However, the monounsaturated fat found in avocados is the best defense when it comes to protecting cell mitochondria and preserving metabolism levels.
Eating an avocado before a workout can heighten the level of your physical activity and keep your metabolism going for longer, even after you’ve left the gym – better than comparable foods, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Aside from its dose of healthy fats, avocado also contains an array of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. Research published in the medical journal Diabetes Care showed that people who consumed high levels of vitamin K (found in avocados) had a 19% lower chance of developing diabetes within 10 years, in comparison with other test subjects.