Avocado was all like, “Look at me, I’m the good fat!” and Butter was like, “Show-off!” Trendy, popular and a bit of an overachiever in the health department, avocado is like the homecoming queen of the fats parade. It’s actually a single-seeded berry native to Mexico, 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. One study in the Journal of the American Heart Association put 45 overweight people on one of three different cholesterol-lowering diets for five weeks. One diet was lower in fat, providing 24 percent of total calories (11 from monounsaturated fats), and didn’t include an avocado. A second, non-avocado diet was more moderate in fat, providing 34 percent of total calories (17 percent from MOFAs). The third was equally moderate in fat, at 34 percent, but included one whole Haas avocado per day.
The result? Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, was 13.5 mg/dL lower among the avocado dieters — enough to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. LDL was also lower on the moderate fat diet without the avocado (8.3 mg/dL lower) and the lower fat diet (7.4 mg/dL lower), but the results were not as striking. Researchers attribute the results to avocado’s monounsaturated fat content (a type of heart-healthy fat molecule that has one unsaturated carbon bond), which may play an important part in lowering elevated cholesterol — a factor in insulin resistance, excess weight and obesity. So grab a spoon, a sprinkling of kosher salt or spice if you so wish, and get snacking!