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Avocados are a do-it-all fruit. They’re so versatile, they can be eaten for every meal of the day (I mean, they’re even delicious as dessert!), and they can add a dose of filling fiber and healthy fats to anything you’ve cooked up. If you can’t get enough avocados, then you’re going to love the latest news about this creamy green fruit: The more avocados you eat, the more health benefits you just might reap.
According to new research, there may be a link between how often you eat avocados and perks like weight loss, healthier food choices and a better overall diet. So, if you love avocados, here’s a look at some of the unexpected benefits they can potentially offer.
Eat more avocados, consume fewer calories
A research study published in Nutrients found that eating a higher amount of avocados can help shape – or change – your eating habits and led to positive improvements in your diet and health. It turns out that more avocados just might lead you to eat fewer calories overall, and make some unexpectedly good-for-you adjustments without even realizing it.
The study’s researchers divided 72 families into two groups: one that ate a low number of avocados (just 3 per week) and one that ate a high number of avocados (14 per week). Over the course of six months, they examined the families’ diets along with their avocado consumption. In addition to the avocados, the participants also took part in biweekly nutrition education sessions.
And it turned out that the families that ate the most avocados saw some big benefits. Those who consumed significantly more of the fruit ate fewer calories overall. Researchers saw a 29 percent reduction in the families’ overall energy intake – a detail that could potentially help individuals lose weight. Comparatively, those who ate just 3 avocados weekly only saw a 3 percent drop in their caloric intake.
But it wasn’t just total calorie consumption that fell with an uptick in avocados. Those who ate 14 avocados per week also ate fewer carbohydrates, less saturated fat and less sodium. Researchers noted that these families also saw decreases in their protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and vitamin D intake, but this was thought to be connected to the participants’ overall reduction in food intake.
The changes didn’t end there, though. The avocado-rich group also reduced their consumption of animal proteins, and in particular they ate fewer processed meats. While it’s unclear if the nutrition education session or the avocados made a bigger impact on the foods the participating families chose to eat, overall the switch to more avocados helped them make positive shifts.
Of course, it’s worth noting that this research study was sponsored by the Haas Avocado Board, who contributed avocados to the trial. However, the researchers did specify that the board didn’t have any influence in the study’s design; data collection, analysis and interpretation; findings; or publication.
The nutrient-rich nature of avocados gives you a whole lot of bang for every bite
Why, exactly, might upping your avocado intake lead you to eat fewer calories overall and drop foods like animal proteins? Well, it likely has something to do with the fact that avocados are chock-full of nutrients.
Avocados may be small, but they contain a rich array of vitamins, minerals, fats and fiber. Just half of a medium avocado contains a big percentage of key nutrients you need. You’ll get as much as 20 percent of your daily fiber, 15 percent of your folate, 10 percent of the necessary potassium and 5 percent of your required magnesium. And you’ll also get 7.5 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are both filling and fantastic for your health.
The heavy-hitting amount of fiber included in just half of an avocado is particularly important. When you fill up on fiber, it can help you lose weight. Avocados are rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber, meaning they can slow down your digestion, make you feel full faster (and for longer) and ultimately help you eat fewer calories overall. And eating even just a few avocados a day can make a difference – you don’t have to eat 14!
Plus, chowing down on this creamy green fruit delivers vitamins B6, C, E and K. In every slice, spoonful or smear, avocados deliver riboflavin (better known as the energy-boosting vitamin B12), niacin, beta-carotene, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Weight loss, a serious serving of vitamins and minerals, plenty of satiating fiber and better health – who wouldn’t want to add avocados to everything?