Love them or hate them, avocados have a ton of health benefits. This unique fruit, composed primarily of carbohydrates and healthy fats, has been shown to have powerful beneficial effects on our health. In addition to that, a new investigative review suggests that avocados may help combat metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including abdominal (central) obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting plasma glucose, and low levels of HDL—the good form of cholesterol. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have at least three of the five mentioned medical conditions, making a total of 16 possible combinations that can be seen. Metabolic syndrome is associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, two major contributors to overall mortality in American citizens. It is estimated that about a quarter of the adult population in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome, and its prevalence increases with age.
The investigation into avocados showed that it has a significant beneficial effect on lipid profiles—a blood test panel used for the medical screening of cholesterol and triglycerides. It was found that significant changes were seen to LDL, HDL, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and phospholipids in those who regularly consumed avocado.
“Avocado is a well-known source of carotenoids, minerals, phenolics, vitamins, and fatty acids,” wrote the authors of the Phytotherapy Research review. “The lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, antiobesity, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and cardioprotective effects of avocado have been demonstrated in several studies.”
Avocados could be classified as a superfood considering the abundance of health benefits they contain. The following are just a few:
- Have more potassium than a banana: A nutrient that helps maintain electrical gradients in the cells and nerves, potassium serves to maintain normal functioning. About 100g of avocado contains 14 percent of the daily recommend allowance of potassium, compared to only 10 percent of the same amount in a banana. Several studies have also linked potassium intake to reduced blood pressure.
- Contain healthy fats: About 77 percent of the calories in avocados are from fat, but these are monounsaturated fats, much like the kind found in olive oil. Most the fat in avocados are oleic acids, which have been linked to reduced inflammation.
- Loaded with fiber: Fiber is great for any diet as it helps promote digestion and even helps reduce cholesterol levels and weight. A 100g serving of avocado contains about 7g of fiber, which is about 27 percent of the daily recommend amount.
- Can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels: As mentioned in the study findings above, this effect of avocados has been seen in as many as eight human control trials, all demonstrating significantly reduced cholesterol levels, a reduction of triglyceride levels by up to 20 percent, lower LDL levels by up to 22 percent, and increased HDL cholesterol by up to 11 percent.
Avocados are praised for their high nutrient value and can be added to all sorts of dishes. It’s rich and packed with flavor, making it a great food to add to your meals.
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