Avocados: They’re both trendy and delicious. The vibrant, green, soft fruit is used in a plethora of recipes and can arguably be eaten with many meals at any time of the day. They even provide a lengthy list of benefits that make them an ideal weight-loss food. But because avocados are known to contain a lot of fat and are high in calories, many are curious what eating an avocado really does to the body—and we’re looking far beyond them just helping you lose some belly fat.
That said, Eat This, Not That! checked in with Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, CDE, of DiabetesEveryDay and author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition, to educate us on how consuming the single-seeded berry native to Mexico really affects your health and what the avocado benefits really are.
Below is a breakdown of exactly what happens to your body when you eat an avocado and all the benefits that come with eating the fruit.
Fruit, vegetables, and beans are known to have high fiber content, and avocados are no exception.
“One serving of a medium avocado is low in carbohydrates, yet it contains three grams of fiber,” Smithson says. “Consuming higher fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.”
Avocados are said to have associations with improved heart health.
“Avocados are rich in potassium and low in sodium, which helps lower blood pressure, reducing your risk for heart attack or stroke,” Smithson says, referring to a 2013 study. “When a low sodium diet and higher potassium diet is consumed, it yields an increase in sodium lost through urine and a lowering of blood pressure.”
Avocados also contain nutrients that may reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese. A 2019 study showed habitual avocado intake is associated with “a lower prevalence of excess weight, and attenuates adult weight gain in normal weight individuals over time.”
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Who knew avocados could potentially keep your eyesight in top condition? A 2017 study found improvement in both cognition and vision for those who consumed one avocado per day.
“Avocados contain the antioxidant lutein,” she says. “Lutein plays a role in preventing age-related eye disease and offering improved cognitive performance.”
Avocado consumption is ideal if you’re looking to boost vitamin intake. A 2013 study showed an overall better quality of diet when avocados are consumed versus those who do not consume avocados.
“Avocados are packed with nutrition,” Smithson says. “They provide a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, vitamin C, E, K, B6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid magnesium, potassium, lutein, beta-carotene, and they are a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.”
While fats are known to be associated with high cholesterol, avocados are a unique exception. “Avocados are a heart-healthy source of fat,” she says. “They are free from cholesterol and saturated fat. Studies have shown an association with consuming the good type of fat (unsaturated) in avocados with an increase in good cholesterol levels (HDL).”
The fiber and fat content of an avocado has been said to lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
“The fiber content of an avocado helps you feel fuller faster, and the source of healthy fat helps with satiety levels, both of which can help with managing your weight and reducing your risk of Type 2 Diabetes,” she says in reference to a 2009 study.
Metabolic syndrome includes conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess body fat that can work together to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A 2013 study found that avocado consumption has been associated with reduced risk of Metabolic syndrome. So it’s time to stock up and start eating all that avocado.