Trendy, popular and a bit of an overachiever in the health department, avocado is like the queen of the all fruits.
Trendy, popular and a bit of an overachiever in the health department, avocado is like the queen of all fruits, but at 322 calories and 29 grams of fat -- 10 to 20 times what you'll find in any other item in the produce aisle -- the avocado can arguably be considered more of a fat than a fruit.
Moreover, it's the mono-unsaturated fat content of an avocado -- 20 grams per berry -- that researchers say make it so special, and deserving of the health food fame. With its proven ability to lower cholesterol, quell hunger pangs and even spot-reduce belly fat, the avocado is arguably a perfect dietary staple for weight loss. Here are eight reasons why:
1. It's a bad guy bouncer.
Apples are so cliche. Researchers now say it's an avocado a day that can really keep the doctor and your cholesterol levels -- at bay. So grab a spoon, a sprinkling of kosher salt or spice if you so wish, and get snacking!
2. It's a belt shrinker.
Do a little belly dance! Make a little lunch! And get down on avocado oil. Researchers say swapping your cooking and finishing oils for varieties like avocado oil that are rich in monounsaturated and oleic fatty acids can spot-reduce abdominal fat, which may decrease the risk for metabolic syndrome the name for a combination of negative health markers associated with weight gain.
One tablespoon of mild and slightly nutty-tasting avocado oil is about 120 calories and 10 grams of monounsaturated fat -- a nutritional profile almost identical to extra virgin olive oil. But unlike EVOO, avocado oil has a very high smoke point, so you can use it for sautés and stir-frys without risk of creating free radicals that can harm your health.
3. It's a nutrient booster.
Low-calorie, vitamin-rich and chock-full of important nutrients that can shrink your waist, vegetables are a dieter's best friend -- but you won't get much benefit from a garden salad without adding a little fat, researchers say. And when it comes to fat, the type found in avocados reigns supreme.
Give your greens the ultimate nutrient boost with a few slices of fresh avocado, or a tablespoon of avocado oil-based vinaigrette. Those dressing-on-the-side folks don't know what they're missing.
4. It's a radical fighter.
There's a war going on inside your body! The free radicals have launched an attack on the mitochondria and it's sabotaging your metabolism. Free radicals are destructive rogue oxygen molecules natural byproducts of metabolism -- that trigger various chain reactions in the body that destroy cells and DNA, causing all kinds of health problems.Antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables can help neutralize some free radicals.
5. It's a hunger squasher.
A scoop of avocado may be one of the most effective hunger-squashers known to man. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. At only 60 calories, a two-tablespoon serving of avocado (on top of eggs, salads, grilled meats, etc.) can provide the same satiety benefit with even more of a flavor-punch.
6. It's a gateway drug.
You know that friend who's always thinner, lighter and healthier than you? What's his secret? Not money, not genes... perhaps just regular consumption of avocado, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The survey results, published in Nutrition Journal, found that eating half a medium-sized avocado on a daily basis was highly correlated with improved overall diet quality and a 50 percent reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. Not only did the avocado eaters report a lower body mass index and smaller waist circumference, they also consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables, and fiber and vitamin K -- nutrients associated with weight loss. Avocado: the gateway drug to a healthier, leaner lifestyle.
7. It's a sweet stabilizer.
Sure, avocado's got all the right junk in all the right places, but fat isn't the only thing the fruit has going for it. An avocado also provides nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients essential for healthy weight management, including 14 grams of satiating fiber and 66 percent (60 micrograms) of your daily need for vitamin K -- a nutrient that helps regulate sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Leafy greens are an even richer source of the vitamin, so pair a wedge of creamy avocado with your side salad and you're bound to get your fill. Stabilizing blood sugar has never been so tasty.
8. It's a calorie crusher.
Pre-workout supplements claim to give you that extra boost you need to sweat it out for just a little longer than usual. According to researchers, eating avocado can provide the same energy boost, naturally.
Bottom line: swap fried foods, baked goods and butter for snacks and oils that are high in monounsaturated fat like fresh avocado or avocado oil for a clean energy boost that keeps your metabolism burning, even after you've left the gym.