The fruit that can add years to your life

This may be a sensitive topic to bring up on Christmas Eve, given many people may have already overindulged on the food front. But in case there’s still time to add this ingredient to the Christmas Day menu – and to your diet in the weeks and months following – we take the view that we’re here to help.

We’ve reported previously that belly fat can be hard to shift but that an Illinois study found eating an avocado a day can work wonders in redistributing fat.

However, there was a catch, as they said the results appeared to apply only to women.

But … all is not lost for the blokes. A University of Wollongong study has found a link between eating avocados and lower body weight and a smaller waist. Goodbye belly fat?

The results, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, said that high levels of unsaturated fats in avocado plus its low carbohydrate content kept hunger pangs at bay for longer than any other vegetable or fruit. And the fats help to lower cholesterol levels when eaten instead of saturated fat.

Read: Eat an avocado a day to reduce belly fat

That translates to: weight loss plus better heart health and increased odds of a longer life.

Add in something of an avocado glut across Australia, and we’re assuming you’re now grabbing a reuseable bag to head to the shops.

Avocados have been considered a ‘superfruit’ for some time now, but the new research finds they can help people eat better and live longer, says research author Associate Professor Yasmine Probst.

“There hasn’t been much research into the ways avocado consumption influences people’s health, so we’ve been very excited to find out that it is super beneficial,” she said.

Read: Tomato, Bean and Avocado Salad

“First, we were able to show that both lower body weight and a lower waist circumference have been positively associated with increased avocado intake.

“Then, we noticed that greater consumption of avocados was also associated with significantly lower consumption of discretionary (junk) foods.”

She explained that half an avocado contains about 160 calories and a variety of nutrients including folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin E, which all help to reduce blood pressure, maintain healthy skin and eyes and boost immunity.

And the majority of fat in avocados is “good fat”.

Read: Avocado and Garlic Prawns

Despite an abundance of avocados and the fruit’s revered status, the research also found that only 16 per cent of Australians regularly eat avocados.

“The low levels of consumption could be attributed to the fact that avocado has fallen into a more expensive category of food items, particularly in the fruit and veg market,” Prof. Probst said, even though peak industry body Avocados Australia is forecasting consumption to rise from four kilograms to five per person per year in 2022.

The abundance of avocados and a shortage of pickers has sadly resulted in avocados rotting on trees on some farms, the ABC reports, yet imported avocados are still appearing on fruit and vegie shelves. Do your bit for Aussie growers and choose local fruits first, use avocado as a substitute for butter, smash it on toast and fill an avocado with prawns for a super delicious new take on a prawn cocktail.

Do you eat avocados regularly? Do you always check to see if they have been grown in Australia? Were you aware of their status as a ‘superfood’? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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