The average yearly consumption of avocados has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, from 1.5 pounds per person in 1998 to 7.5 pounds in 2017. Due in part to the fact that there was less dining out and avocados were more readily available at reduced rates in grocery stores, avocado imports in 2020 hit a record high of 2.1 billion pounds.
This is encouraging for people who follow a heart-healthy diet!
In fact, researchers have found that avocados may protect the heart in a similar way as olive oil and nuts do in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
6 Amazing Secrets About Avocados You Never Knew
You may lose weight
Avocados are quite filling because they are high in fiber and good monounsaturated fats, like those in olive oil. 10 grams of monounsaturated fat and 5 grams of fiber are both present in a half avocado. According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, overweight adults who included a half-an-avocado with their lunch reported greater meal satisfaction by 26% and decreased appetite by 40% in the three hours following the meal compared to those who did not. There is one catch: the avocado added to the lunch added an additional 112 calories to the dish.
You may lower your risk of metabolic syndrome
We’re talking about “metabolic syndrome,” a collection of cardiometabolic health issues that increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, arthritis, and even schizophrenia (to name a few: a large waist circumference, high blood sugar and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and low “good” HDL cholesterol). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one-third of American adults have metabolic syndrome. Grasp your interest? In a comprehensive study involving more than 17,000 adults, it was discovered that avocado eaters had a 50% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than non-eaters.
It may prevent type 2 diabetes
Avocados might contain a specific ingredient that makes them very beneficial at preventing type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph in Canada discovered through an animal study that a fat molecule known as avocatin B (abbreviated AvoB), which is only present in avocados, can inhibit the cellular process that may lead to diabetes. According to study author Paul Spagnulo’s publication in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, “the treated mice demonstrated increased insulin sensitivity, implying that their systems were able to absorb and burn blood glucose and improve their response to insulin.” Want to consume more avocados? Before you go to the grocery store, make sure to read about the 7 Secrets for Buying the Perfect Avocado.
You may end up eating more fruits and vegetables
According to a 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal, those who frequently consume avocados tend to consume much more vegetables, fruit, dietary fiber, monounsaturated fats, vitamins E and K, and less added sugar than those who don’t. Regular consumption of avocado is insufficient to ensure that you are getting adequate fruits and vegetables.
You may lower your blood pressure
You probably already know that potassium controls bodily fluids and that it can lessen the impact of sodium on blood pressure. Bananas are a good source of the beneficial mineral, as you are probably already aware. Did you know, however, that a medium banana only has 300 mg of potassium per cup of diced avocado? Potassium relaxes blood vessel walls in addition to aiding in the removal of salt from the body, which lowers blood pressure even more. According to Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., Editor in Chief of Harvard Health Letter, those who don’t consume a lot of potassium-rich foods are more likely to experience high blood pressure and a stroke. If you’re hypertension prone, check out these 14 Mistakes that are Making Your High Blood Pressure Worse.
It may lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol and protect your heart
The new “apple a day” proverb for the avocado toast age may be “An avocado a day, may keep the cardiologist at bay.” The so-called “bad” cholesterol LDL, specifically the heart-harming tiny dense LDL particles, was associated to lower levels in a study conducted by researchers from Penn State University’s Department of Nutrition Sciences. Researchers found that only the diet containing avocado reduced levels of LDL when 45 obese or overweight people were given one of three similar cholesterol-lowering diets for five weeks. Their findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition. One of the study’s authors, distinguished professor of nutrition Penny Kris-Etherton, explained that LDL particles, which occur in a variety of sizes, are what you should picture when thinking of bad cholesterol. All LDL is bad, but small, dense LDL is particularly bad. A key finding was that people on the avocado diet had fewer oxidized LDL particles. They also had more lutein, which may be the bioactive that’s protecting the LDL from being oxidized.”
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Avocado, According to Science
You may suffer from adverse GI effects.
Even if you aren’t allergic to avocados, there could still be a negative impact. When taken in sufficient numbers, the small-chain carbohydrates known as polyols found in avocados can have a laxative-like effect. And if you are sensitive to these natural sugars or have an aversion to avocados, you can also feel bloated, gassy, or queasy for up to 48 hours after eating them.
You might consume more fiber than your body can handle.
According to Jaramillo, avocados are a large source of fiber, with one avocado supplying over half of the daily required fiber consumption. While consuming too much fiber at one meal can cause bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation, especially if you’re not used to a high-fiber diet, fiber is extremely important for health (and the majority of Americans don’t get enough).
Overloading on fiber can be especially problematic for those with irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal disorders.
You could experience inflammation
Although an avocado contains mostly monounsaturated fat, a serving of this fruit contains roughly 3.2 grams of saturated fat. This indicates that about 15% of avocados’ fat is saturated. Given that consuming too much saturated fat can raise your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol, it is important to take note of this.
According to Ayesta, “Saturated fat has been shown to cause inflammation in the arteries after just one meal and eventually lead to heart disease.” “However, unless you’re consuming numerous avocados every day, this isn’t a huge worry.”
You might gain weight
Ayesta claims that because avocado has a high energy density and contains a lot of calories in a short amount, it might be relatively simple to overeat too much of it.
There are undoubtedly worse foods to consume too much of than avocados, he says, as they are a rich source of minerals and good fats. “However, consuming avocados in excess will result in weight gain as with any food. If consuming a lot of avocados during the day results in consuming more calories than one burns, the extra energy will be stored as fat. Even though these fats are regarded as “healthy” fats, eating more than the daily required quantity would not provide any additional nutritional benefits.”
Among other things, whether or whether you gain weight will depend on how frequently you consume too much avocado, how much fat you consume from other meals, and how active you are. The fact is, though, that if you don’t burn off those extra fat-based calories, your body will continue to store them. Therefore, it can be a good idea to measure out a piece of avocado if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight to avoid unintentionally consuming too much of it. Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD, recommends limiting portions to 2 ounces, or roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup.