“I love those, but they are so full of fat that I don’t eat them!”
Heard this before? I have, and it was not an opinion I asked for either! The questionable voice appeared behind me during a supermarket visit around a year ago doubting my nutritional knowledge and offering in my opinion uninformed advice.
Actually, if we had taken a look at what she had laid out across the conveyor belt behind me, I think you would agree that she could have done with taking out some of the processed foods and replacing them with some ‘fatty’ avocados.
Yes, she was not wrong that avocados are full of fat, but the fat they contain is ‘good’ fat. It has been proven to have many health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved skin health and reduced risk of diabetes. Monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) ideally should make up the majority of your fat intake as they are considered ‘good fats’, and have been linked to the previously stated health claims. Both of which are found in abundance in the mighty avocado!
A 2013 study by Fulgoni found that those who consume avocados also tend to eat a better quality diet than those who do not. Furthermore, those who did consume avocados also had a reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a term used to group together biological and physiological abnormalities which are linked to the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Avocados have an impact on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) because of the presence of MUFAs, vitamin E, folate, potassium, and pyhtosterols. The previously discussed MUFAs help to reduced ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels and therefore raise ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels. This change in cholesterol ratio decreases CVD and CHD risk by removing excess cholesterol for the blood and returning it to the liver to be broken down. Vitamin E works alongside the good fats to prevent cholesterol oxidation thereby reducing the risk of the arteries hardening and fatty plaques forming in the blood vessels. Folate present in avocados reduces homocysteine levels in blood, the potassium regulates blood pressure and the pyhtosterols help reduced cholesterol absorption.
Like peanut butter, avocados are calorie dense and are high in fat, but both are excellent tools to aid weight loss. This is because the MUFAs help to keep you fuller for longer thanks to them being a slow burning energy source. The fibre slows down digestion and so helps to control blood sugar levels, which have been proven to reduce snacking and weight gain.
The vitamin E mentioned above and also the vitamin C available in avocados acts as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Both of which have been linked to a reduction in certain types of cancers, arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
If you are not keen on avocados try masking it. I’m not saying you have to eat armed just with a spoon. I suggest trying our ‘Creamy Avocado Chicken Spaghetti’ and ‘Peanut Butter Chocolate Avocado Mousse’. Both recipes use the avocado to simply enhance texture, offering distraction from the ‘bland’ taste many dislike!