Avocado’s have long been a cause for question amongst dieters. At first sight, the nutritional information of an avocado may scare a few people off – especially those concerned about heart disease risk and blood sugar. However, it has been shown through numerous studies that avocado is in fact a heart healthy food.
Research has shown that a diet including avocado reduces the risk of heart disease, regulates blood sugar levels and provides a number of other health benefits. Regardless of its fat content and caloric levels, avocado is one of the best heart healthy foods a person can eat.
The fats found in avocado are monosaturated fats that are known to reduce artery clogging LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and raise heart healthy HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Therefore, the fat in an avocado is a “good fat” because it allows blood to move more freely through the body, opening clear pathways in the arteries. This reduces heart disease risk and the risk of heart attack.
Avocado also helps to keep blood sugar levels regular and help limit insulin spikes when consumed with high-sugar foods. Because of this, the American Diabetes Association recommends Type-2 diabetics make avocado a regular part of their diet. They help to initiate insulin control and blood sugar levels with their low-glycemic index (0).
Diets low in potassium and vitamin E are also found in avocado have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. This heart-healthy food really does benefit the body in a number of ways. Another way that avocados can reduce heart disease risk is through its soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber works to improve glucose levels and clean out arteries, too.
In addition, recent studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore showed that avocado is a heart-healthy food. It was shown to help reduce heart disease risk as well as control blood sugar in a sample group of 164 people.
Participants in the Johns Hopkins University study all had mild-hypertension, which is often a pre-cursor to Type-2 diabetes. The group was then put on a series of three diets, each spanning six weeks, to compare the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and maintain healthy insulin levels when consuming a high carb diet, high protein diet and finally, a diet rich in unsaturated fats (good fats). The research concluded that a balanced diet higher in unsaturated fats improved insulin much better than with a high-carb diet.
The fats in avocado work to regulate blood sugar by limiting the impact high-carb food has on the body.
As far as heart healthy foods go, avocado is near the top of the list. It’s make-up of important fats, vitamins and minerals have been shown to promote a healthy heart, regulate blood sugar and reduce heart disease risk. Don’t let the numbers scare you away – the calories found in an avocado are heart healthy!