One of the biggest contributions made by Millennials to the world, is the rediscovery of avocados. Avocados fill Instagram feeds, slathered over multigrain artisanal breads or blended into a green smoothie. However, avocados make for more than just pretty pictures. Research shows that these fruits (yes, they’re fruits), are nutritional superfoods and have major health benefits to offer.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Our fatty diets and lack of exercise make use prime candidates for heart disease. While avocados are also high in fat, they contain the kind of fat we actually need. The monounsaturated fats present in avocados can actually reduce our risk for contracting heart disease. So if you want to stay healthy, fit and live a long happy life, here’s why you should give in to the powers of avocados.
1. Prevents Metabolic Syndrome
Patients who develop heart disease have a common combination of certain symptoms. Taken together, these symptoms are often called metabolic syndrome. The four symptoms of metabolic syndrome are high cholesterol levels, increased fat around your waist, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure levels. If you have any three or more of these symptoms, you’re diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome puts you at a very high risk for developing heart disease or diabetes. Avocados can actually treat all four symptoms of metabolic syndrome. It lowers cholesterol, is excellent for weight loss, prevents your insulin levels from spiking and reduces triglyceride levels. Eating more avocados can be a great way to protect your heart on all fronts.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation has recently been getting a lot of attention for its damaging effects. When inflammatory compounds constantly flood our system, they can cause our arteries to deteriorate. Processed foods, especially processed meats, are the biggest culprits when it comes to inflammation. Research shows avocados might be able to protect your body from some of the inflammatory effects of processed foods. In one study, participants were asked to eat hamburger patties. When they were tested afterwards, their blood showed inflammatory hormones present and their arteries appear more constricted. However, when they ate the same hamburger with a slice of avocado in between, they didn’t show any of the effects. Apart from trying to cut out processed foods from your diet, include more avocados to make sure their effects are muffled.
3. Lowers Insulin Levels
Chronically high insulin levels not only increase your risk for diabetes, but can also cause damage to your arteries. Research shows that when avocados are added to your diet, they can cause a significant reduction in your blood sugar levels. Avocados can also help make you feel more full after you eat them. When we get hunger cravings, usually the first thing we reach for are unhealthy snacks which spike our insulin levels. Eating avocados could curb this need to munch on sugary, snacks, which also control your blood sugar levels. The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados keep you satiated until it’s time for your next meal, making it easier for you to make healthy food choices.
4. Decreases Bad Cholesterol Levels
LDL cholesterol is the bad kind of cholesterol you don’t want building up in your system. When LDL cholesterol accumulates in your system, it leads to the formation of plaque within your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This constricts the flow of blood through your vessels, increases blood pressure and causes significant damage to your arterial walls. One study found that after consuming avocados, the amount of LDL cholesterol in patients showed a massive drop, while HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind of cholesterol), remained the same. Therefore, adding more avocados to your diet can go a long way in preserving the health of your arteries.