Avocados are hot. They’re growing in popularity everywhere, especially in the U.S.; heck recently, the Washington Post called the avocado America’s new favorite fruit!
It’s not surprising. Rich and creamy, avocados are a very versatile fruit, making them a great ingredient for a wide variety of dishes and recipes.
But they’re not just delicious.
And to prove it, here are five surprising avocado health benefits that will make you love them even more…
1. Avocados may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
According to a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association, overweight and obese participants who ate an avocado per day had much lower levels of LDL cholesterol compared to participants who didn’t eat avocados, even if their diets contained less fat.
This is very likely directly related to avocado’s high levels of monounsaturated fat, which has been shown lower LDL cholesterol in previous studies.
2. Avocados may fight certain cancers.
The journal “Cancer Research” recently published a study on the abilities of an avocado-derived lipid in fighting acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an extremely deadly form of the disease.
The avocado based treatment was promising enough, in fact, that a Phase I clinical trial is being prepared. How it fares in human based trials has yet to be determined, but this is pretty cool nonetheless.
3. Avocados keep the heart healthy.
Elevates levels of LDL cholesterol in the body can lead to stroke and heart disease. Since avocados can help reduce these levels, it can also minimize the risk of heart problems and promote good blood circulation. Apart from that, the fruit also has high levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid which also contribute to a healthy circulatory system.
4. Avocados help promote eye health.
Avocados are loaded with carotenoids (a type of vitamin A). THEY (you had “it” here – you used avocadoes previously, so this should be plural). also contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin which may help prevent eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts.
The carotenoids in avocados are what give its flesh a yellow-green color. In comparison with other commonly eaten fruits, avocados have among the highest levels of vitamin E.
5. Avocados are a diet food. (Who knew?)
Based on the results of a study published in the Nutrition Journal, avocados effectively curbed the appetite of overweight and obese participants for a 3-5 hour period after mealtime.
If you want to lose weight but can’t stop yourself from snacking in between meals, eating half a fresh avocado at lunch might be just what you need – it will keep you feeling full until your next mealtime.
Avocados are both very fibrous (between 10-12 grams for a medium sized fruit), and rich in monounsaturated fat, both of which are very good making you feel full, for longer.
Previous research by scientists at UC Irvine found that dietary oleic acid (the main fatty acid in olive oil and avocados) triggers the production of oleoylethanolamide, a hormone that helps regulate body weight and appetite. So this humble fruit’s potential weight loss benefits are not new.
Remember that avocados are pretty calorie rich compared to other fruits, so don’t overdo it. Losing weight successfully means eating fewer calories than you expend, and they can add up pretty quickly if you eat too much.
Now that you know more about avocados and their health benefits, doesn’t it make you want to serve some guacamole in your next meal?
Have you had your avocado today?