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Feb 12, 2020 Diet & Nutrition Samantha Mainland 310 views

If smashed avos are out of your price range (or quite frankly, ridiculously priced), don’t worry – when they’re in season, and you ‘do it yourself’, it’s much more delightful (and achievable on a daily basis).

If you are concerned about your heart, your weight, your cholesterol, your glucose, your insulin, or your good fat levels, you may want to find a good avocado supplier, and shop there often. These creamy beauties may need to be added to your daily diet.

Avocados are one of the rare foods that have been scientifically studied and rigorously tested for various health benefits. We all know avocados are full of fats, and this can scare many, but don’t worry! Across 7 human studies[1], avocado was tested and consistently found to significantly improve your HDL cholesterol levels (‘good’ cholesterol). Across a further 10 human studies[2], avocado was tested and consistently found to reduce your LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol levels (‘bad’ cholesterol). Further to this, a 2015 study[3] found that adding avocado to your meal favourably increased self-reported satisfaction, and a reduction to eat over the subsequent 3- and 5-hour period in overweight adults. This suggests that adding avocado to your lunch time meal can positively influence your afternoon snacking (or 3pm cravings) – a tricky time for many and a positive for the weight conscious.

Just don’t go overboard. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Limit your daily avocado intake to approximately ¼ – ½ of an avocado.

A simple study from 2017[4] looked at the benefits of replacing butter with avocado oil (not avocado flesh) in overweight people. These people ate identical breakfasts 6 days apart (except for the butter/avocado oil) and tested several markers after the meal. Beautifully, there was a statistically significant reduction in the insulin and the glucose markers, along with a statistically significant reduction in triglycerides (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol. Whilst this is only a small and short study, it highlights the metabolic benefits, and the immediate response of eating avocado oil (or eating any food really).

Yes, avocados are particularly high in fat. But if we look closer at this, we have found that the avocados contain an oil rich in monounsaturated fatty acids in a water-based matrix that appears to enhance nutrient and phytochemical bioavailability and absorption. This charitable benefit suggests that avocado is not only great for its own reasons, but it has the potential to increase the health benefits of any foods you eat with it, particularly the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.

Avocados are rich in fats and fibre, and low in carbohydrates. They are a great source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium and about 20 other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The health benefits of avocado are numerous and include eye health (from lutein), skin health (from vitamin E, C and fats), heart health (from good fats and potassium), weight loss (from fats), pain relief (from saponins), constipation (from fibre) and depression (from folate), to name a few.

A ripe and ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft and should have no dark sunken spots or cracks. If the avocado has a slight neck, rather than being rounded on top, it may have been ripened for a bit longer on the tree, and it may have a richer flavour. A firmer avocado can be ripened at home within a couple of days, in a paper bag or at room temperature. Once they are ripe (and not before), store the avocado in the fridge and it should keep for up to a week. Once you have opened the avocado, store the rest of it in an airtight container in the fridge.

When you are ready to eat an avocado, run a blade lengthways through the avocado and around the pit, gently twist the halves in opposite directions, remove the pit, slice the halves in half again (creating quarters) then peel the avocado as you would a banana, starting from the neck. Enjoy a ¼ a day on toast, with eggs, in soup, in salad, instead of butter, or as dip (to name a few options)!

 

 

[1] Mahmassani, H. A., et al. (2018). “Avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Am J Clin Nutr 107(4): 523-536.

[2] Peou, S., et al. (2016). “Impact of avocado-enriched diets on plasma lipoproteins: A meta-analysis.J Clin Lipidol 10(1): 161-171.

[3] Sabaté J, Wien M, Haddad E. 2015. Post-ingestive effects of avocados in meals on satiety and gastric hormone blood levels. Human Health Nut 459–461

[4] Cibele Priscila Busch Furlan, S. C. V., Elin Östman, Mário Roberto Maróstica, Juscelino Tovar, (2017,). “Inclusion of Hass avocado-oil improves postprandial metabolic responses to a hypercaloric-hyperlipidic meal in overweight subjects,.Journal of Functional Foods Volume 38, Part A,: 349-354,.

Samantha Mainland

About The Author - Samantha Mainland

Samantha is a highly educated Naturopath having graduated from both Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Naturopathy, and University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Medicine Management with Professional Honours in Complementary Medicine.

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