“Metabolic syndrome” is a health term you may not have heard of—but it can be quite dangerous if not addressed. Metabolic syndrome refers to a combination of at least three metabolic risk factors that increase your likelihood of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke. These risk factors can include hypertension, obesity (particularly around the waistline), high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels or a low HDL cholesterol level. But there’s a solid defense right in your local produce aisle: avocado!
Iranian researchers have found that avocado has the power to fight metabolic syndrome by positively affecting LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. The review, published in the Phytotherapy Research journal, concluded that avocados also have anti-diabetic and anti-obesity qualities. The fruit’s superfood status rests in its source of carotenoids, vitamins, fiber and good fat (monounsaturated). According to California Avocados, the fruit acts as a “nutrient booster” by helping the body absorb more fat-soluble nutrients in foods that are eaten alongside avocado. The fats in avocado also support healthy blood flow and help to lower blood pressure, which can improve brain function. (Read more on IIN’s blog post, “5 Healthy Foods You Need to Focus.”
The recent research examined the flesh of the avocado, as well as the pits and peeling. But Health’s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH, says you should avoid eating the pit and peel for now, as not enough research has been conducted about the safety of eating these parts of the fruit.
Researchers recommend eating avocado every day to reap the full health benefits. Based on how delicious and diverse avocado is, we can’t imagine it would be that difficult to incorporate it into a daily diet plan. Here’s some inspiration for adding avocado to your meals, snacks and treats:
Of course there’s guacamole, which can be served on just about everything. You can also enjoy a slice of avocado toast topped with fennel, shaved carrots or any other fun toppings.
Bake an egg inside an avocado, or make huevos rancheros topped with avocado and cilantro. You can also make a variety of breakfast sandwiches. Check out this mouth-watering avocado breakfast list from BuzzFeed.
Add avocado to your lunch, like this quick chickpea avocado sandwich from Feasting at Home.
Do you love pasta? Forget marinara sauce tonight and opt for a creamy avocado sauce instead. (Get the recipe here from Oh She Glows.) If pasta doesn’t interest you, try cucumber-avocado sushi, or baked chicken with a dollop of avocado mash.
Forget the traditional, butter-filled dessert and whip up a batch of dark chocolate avocado cookies like this one from Laurenda Marie.
What’s your favorite avocado recipe? Share with us below!