2014 was a hot year for numerous superfoods. Foods like turmeric, garlic, and even chocolate received more than enough recognition to become large parts of countless individual’s diets. But there were indeed other foods that made a grand presence in 2014 – the avocado is one of them.
Often deemed a “perfect food,” the avocado is considered one of the healthiest foods available. Even a study published in Nutrition Journal found that eating avocados is associated with a lower body weight, lower BMI and waist circumference (a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes), higher “good” cholesterol, a lower intake of added sugars, better diet quality overall, and higher nutrient intake levels. In other words, those who eat avocados are healthier than those who don’t
Many consider this prolific green fruit, vegetable, and nut combined a superfood, and for good reason. Here are 5 reasons to eat this fabulous food.
1. Avocados Help with Weight Loss
Avocados can actually help stave off hunger. One 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal found that overweight adults who ate one half of an avocado at lunch had a 40% decrease in the desire to eat again over the next three hours. The effect even lasted up to 5 hours.
One reason the avocado can be used as a weight management tool is due to its healthy fat, which takes the body longer to digest and help keep you full and satisfied. Further, avocados are nutrient-packed with over 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
2. Avocados Help Control Blood Pressure
Avocados contain lots of blood pressure-combating potassium, with an average of 975 milligrams. Potassium is important in maintaining kidney health, blood pressure, and muscle health. Studies have found that when avocados are eaten in place of other fats (like butter and mayo), they can help control blood pressure.
Research shows that upping the intake of potassium reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension.
3. Avocados Boost Brain Performance
Interestingly, some research has found that high blood pressure increases the risk of cognitive decline. Avocados lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol, promoting healthy blood flow and decreasing the risk of a stroke.
“The take-home message is that we need to pay attention to hypertension at a relatively young age, long before the health problems of old age set in,” says study leader Rebecca F. Gottesman, an associate professor of neurology and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.”People should really know what their blood pressure is and what their doctor plans to do if it’s elevated.”
4. Avocados Improve Heart Health
The research finding avocado-eaters to be healthier than those who don’t eat avocados noticed that those who eat avocados had 50% lower risk for metabolic syndrome, which increases the risks of heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.
Avocados contain a plant chemical known as beta-sitosterol, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
5. Avocados Are One of the “Clean 15”
If you’re concerned about pesticide exposure (and if not, you should be), avocados are one of the “cleanest” of all produce. Their tough exterior helps protect them from contamination. So, if you can’t afford to buy all organic, this is one piece of produce you could purchase conventional.