Avocado lovers can rejoice because a new study found that this creamy fruit supports a healthy diet. Avocados benefit health since they provide healthy fats and can lower LDL cholesterol levels, protecting your heart health. Besides that, they can assist with weight loss or healthy weight maintenance. Furthermore, they offer many essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and Vitamin K.
Unfortunately, many people fear fat in the modern world since doctors and corporations have spent decades demonizing it. In the 1980s and 1990s, the low-fat craze dominated the U.S., and sugary snacks filled grocery store shelves.
People started to believe that eating fat caused weight gain, not realizing that we need healthy fats to survive. Doctors have since discovered that added sugars can lead to numerous health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.
However, avocados can protect against heart problems since they have healthy monounsaturated fats that reduce inflammation. They also lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Below, we’ll discuss a few studies explaining why a healthy diet should include avocados.
Eating Two Avocados Per Week Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk
New research found that eating two servings of avocados per week can lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and improve heart health. Avocados contain the perfect combination of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats to support a healthy diet.
A March 2022 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association reported the findings. It marks the first study to determine an association between higher avocado intake and fewer cardiovascular events.
For the study, researchers followed 68,000 women and over 41,700 men for 30 years and recorded all health events. When the study began, the participants did not have coronary heart disease, cancer, or instances of stroke.
Participants filled out questionnaires about their dietary habits every four years. One of these questions asked how much avocado they ate as part of a healthy diet. During the study period, researchers recorded a total of 14,274 CVD cases (9185 coronary heart disease events and 5290 strokes).
Researchers made a surprising discovery about participants who consumed two servings of avocado per week. Those who ate half an avocado, or 1/2 cup of the fruit, had a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They also had a 21% reduction in coronary heart disease risk compared to participants who never or infrequently consumed avocados.
The research team recommended replacing half a serving/day of margarine, butter, eggs, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats with an equivalent amount of avocado. For example, if you eat buttered toast regularly, you can substitute this creamy fruit for butter to support a healthy diet. You can add them to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, and other nutritious recipes.
Based on the findings, this healthy substitution resulted in a 16-22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease events.
A Healthy Diet Including Avocados Satisfies Hunger
Foods with high fat and fiber content, like avocados, can keep you satiated long after eating. Since fat and fiber digest more slowly, they may help regulate your appetite and reduce calorie intake.
One study found that eating a breakfast that contained an avocado increased satiety among overweight or obese people. Participants felt more satisfied after their meal than those who ate a breakfast with equal calories but less fiber and fat. So, including avocados in a healthy diet should help reduce hunger and keep you feeling fuller longer.
Avocados May Promote Weight Loss
Other studies reveal that people who consume more fruits and vegetables often weigh less. An extensive survey involving 18,000 adults investigated their dietary habits and calorie intake. The results showed that respondents who ate avocados tended to have more nutritious diets overall. They also had a reduced metabolic syndrome risk and a smaller waistline than those who didn’t eat avocados.
These findings don’t necessarily prove a correlation between avocados and improved health. However, they suggest that a balanced diet can include avocados. In fact, they may help promote weight maintenance when eaten regularly.
Another study revealed that consuming avocados frequently resulted in a 9% lower chance of developing obesity or overweight over 4-11 years. This study doesn’t provide evidence that avocados can help with weight loss. However, they may help you with weight management by increasing your metabolism and reducing your appetite.
Some preliminary findings suggest that avocados could promote weight loss. One study found that people who ate one avocado daily and maintained a low-calorie diet had better gut bacteria. In turn, they had more success in losing weight. Also, their inflammation levels decreased slightly, but not enough for researchers to determine causation.
Finally, one study of overweight and obese adults analyzed whether eating one avocado daily for three months reduced abdominal fat. The findings showed that participants who ate avocados daily had dramatically less abdominal fat. Those who didn’t consume avocados had no difference in stomach fat.
Other Foods For a Healthy Diet
While avocados have been called a superfood for their nutrient density, a healthy diet also requires other whole foods. Make sure to “eat the rainbow” as often as possible, including a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lentils, legumes, eggs, and low-fat dairy should be part of a healthy diet. Some ideas for foods to eat include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Greek Yogurt
- Dark Chocolate
Final Thoughts on Why Avocados Help Have a Healthy Diet
The studies above prove that no healthy diet is complete without this delicious fruit. After all, avocado toast not only tastes delicious, but it provides essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also easy to incorporate into meals like smoothies and salads, making them one of the most versatile fruits.
Besides that, they offer numerous health benefits, such as boosting heart health and lowering LDL cholesterol. Some studies suggest they may even promote weight loss and reduce appetite. Eating an avocado at least twice weekly can fortify a healthy diet and add bulk to your meals. You can find countless recipes online, so don’t hesitate to try something new!