Continuing medical research is proving that avocado (Persea Americana) provides one of the most effective ways to naturally reverse or prevent metabolic syndrome.
What is metabolic syndrome? It is one or a combination of related conditions: Cardiovascular disease, poor cholesterol levels, obesity, and/or diabetes.
Wow, that’s a big task for something that grows on trees and tastes great. Avocados grow throughout the world. And they are readily available at most grocery stores, restaurants and other food venues.
Avocado consumption most likely began in South and Central America, where the tree is indigenous. Today, avocado trees grow throughout North and South America, Australia, Pacific Islands, Europe, Asia and Africa. The tree can grow very large, reaching 100 feet in some regions. A single avocado can weigh from a couple of hundred grams to a full pound (453 grams) in some cases.
The avocado is tasty, but it is also nutrient dense. It’s fat content is primarily monounsatured, at 15 grams for a medium avo. A medium avo also contains a healthy 9 grams of fiber. Avos also contain niacin, vitamin E, vitamin A, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folate, and choline), betaine, vitamin C and vitamin K1. Avos also contain a fair amount of minerals such as copper, magnesium and some zinc. Yea, nutrient dense is right.
But the secret of avocado’s nutritional content lies in its more subtle phytonutrients. These include:
• Tocopherols: alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol
• Carotenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin
• Phenols: hydroxybenzoic acids, hydrocinnamic acids, rutin, resveratrol, coumarins, tannic acid
• Phytosterols/phytostanols: beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-sitostanol, campestanol, stigmastanol
• Complex sugars: D-mannoheptulose, perseitol
This complex combination of phytochemicals and healthy fats gives avocados the ability to:
• Reduce triglycerides
• Reduce LDL-cholesterol
• Improve artery health
• Lower blood sugar
• Help reduce weight
• Reduce insulin resistance
• Reduce risks of strokes and heart attacks
We’ve also shown the evidence that avocados are anti-cancer.
Let’s take a quick look at the evidence for how avos reduce metabolic syndrome:
A number of studies have shown that avocados reduce bad cholesterol levels.
A 2015 study from Penn State University and the University of South Australia studied 45 overweight people. They were split up into three groups and given different diets, including one group receiving a diet that included a daily avocado. The avo diet significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol and decreased LDL particle number.
A 1995 study from Mexico found that a daily avocado reduced LCL-cholesterol and increased HDL-cholesterol. It also reduced triglycerides.
A 1996 study tested 37 adults with high cholesterol levels and high triglycerides. A seven-day diet with avocados resulted in a 22 percent reduction in triglycerides, and a 22 percent reduction in LDL-cholesterol. HDL-cholesterol levels also increased by 11 percent.
A 1992 study from Australia on 15 healthy women found that 3 weeks of a diet containing avocadoes significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol and increased HDL-cholesterol. The avo diet also reduced apolipoprotein B levels as well.
Another 1992 study tested 16 healthy people for two weeks. Those given the high avo diet saw reductions in triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol. The researchers concluded:
“Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acid in diets designed to avoid hyperlipidemia without the undesirable effects of low-saturated fat diets on HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.”
A 2005 study from Ohio State University studied 11 people who were overweight. In two crossover studies, the researchers found that adding one avocado to their diets for six weeks resulted in reduced body weight, GMI and body fat percentage.
Animal studies also showed avocados contain anti-obesity effects.
A 2015 study on 26 overweight adults found that a half avocado daily decreased insulin resistance and reduced blood sugar levels and glucagon-like peptide-1.
A 2013 study tested 17,567 people in the U.S. Avocado consumption reduced post-meal insulin levels, indicating an increase in insulin sensitivity. Avocados also reduced post-meal hunger in regular avo eaters.
This study also concluded that regular avocado consumption significantly reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome.
A 2011 study on managing diabetes on Togo found that traditional healers used avocados to reduce type 2 diabetes symptoms.
A 1994 study on 12 women with type 2 diabetes also confirmed this. After four weeks, the researchers found the avocado-rich diet improved glycemic control.
A number of animal studies have confirmed these effects.
The conclusion is clear. Avocado is heart-healthy. A 2013 study from UCLA found that avocado exerts an anti-inflammatory effect upon blood vessels. Within three hours of consumption, 68 grams of avocado reduced the NF-kappa beta inflammatory pathway and other signs of artery inflammation.
The combination of avocado’s ability to reduce triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol and reduce blood glucose levels through greater insulin response automatically means that avocado is heart-healthy. This is because these elements all contribute to a greater damage to blood vessels. They produce what is called lipid peroxidation within the bloodstream. Lipid peroxidation damages blood vessel walls, increasing atherosclerosis and the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The conclusion is clear: An avo a day will help keep metabolic syndrome away.
Tabeshpour, J., Razavi, B. M., and Hosseinzadeh, H. Effects of Avocado (Persea americana) on Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Systematic Review. Phytother. Res. 2017 April. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5805.
Wang L, Bordi PL, Fleming JA, Hill AM, Kris-Etherton PM. Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Jan 7;4(1):e001355. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001355.
Sabaté J, Wien M, Haddad E. Post-ingestive effects of avocados in meals on satiety and gastric hormone blood levels. Human Health Nut. 2015; 459–461.
Li Z, Wong A, Henning SM, Zhang Y, Jones A, Zerlin A, Thames G, Bowerman S, Tseng CH, Heber D. Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in healthy volunteers. Food Funct. 2013 Feb 26;4(3):384-91. doi: 10.1039/c2fo30226h.
Fulgoni VL 3rd, Dreher M, Davenport AJ. Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutr J. 2013 Jan 2;12:1. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-1.
Karou SD, Tchacondo T, Djikpo Tchibozo MA, Abdoul-Rahaman S, Anani K, Koudouvo K, Batawila K, Agbonon A, Simpore J, de Souza C. Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used in the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension in the Central Region of Togo. Pharm Biol. 2011 Dec;49(12):1286-97. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2011.621959.
Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6.
López Ledesma R, Frati Munari AC, Hernández Domínguez BC, Cervantes Montalvo S, Hernández Luna MH, Juárez C, Morán Lira S. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23.
Carranza J, Alvizouri M, Alvarado MR, Chávez F, Gómez M, Herrera JE. Effects of avocado on the level of blood lipids in patients with phenotype II and IV dyslipidemias. Arch Inst Cardiol Mex. 1995 Jul-Aug;65(4):342-8.
Lerman-Garber I, Ichazo-Cerro S, Zamora-González J, Cardoso-Saldaña G, Posadas-Romero C. Effect of a high-monounsaturated fat diet enriched with avocado in NIDDM patients. Diabetes Care. 1994 Apr;17(4):311-5.
Colquhoun DM, Moores D, Somerset SM, Humphries JA. Comparison of the effects on lipoproteins and apolipoproteins of a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids, enriched with avocado, and a high-carbohydrate diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Oct;56(4):671-7.
Alvizouri-Muñoz M, Carranza-Madrigal J, Herrera-Abarca JE, Chávez-Carbajal F, Amezcua-Gastelum JL. Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels. Arch Med Res. 1992 Winter;23(4):163-7.
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