Eating One Avocado A Day Can Improve The Quality Of Your Diet, According To A New Study
The old saying goes: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but consider opting for avocado instead, as a new study suggests that a serving of this creamy green fruit each day may have some noteworthy benefits for your health. A nutrient-dense, balanced diet is undeniably key for supporting a healthy body, and this high-fat, fibrous fruit was not found to have an impact on belly fat (that's right, eating fat does not make you gain weight) while also offering a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol levels. Let's break down what that means.
How eating an avocado daily will affect your body.
It stands to reason that if you're regularly eating healthy food and experiencing the feel-good benefits of your diet, you'll be more inclined to continue to improve the rest of your eating habits. A new study, actually a multicenter randomized controlled trial conducted by several universities (Wake Forest University, UCLA, Tufts University, Penn State University, and Loma Linda University) and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found this to be true of people who enjoy avocados daily, noting that study participants had an overall healthier diet while eating avocados regularly.
In the 1,008-person trial (the largest interventional clinical research study on this topic to date), the findings showed eating one large avocado daily, which is known to be a high-fat food, did not lead to weight gain among participants. In fact, the researchers note frequently eating avocados can promote a more balanced diet on the whole. But on top of improving the quality of your diet, avocados have also been shown to slightly reduce LDL (aka "bad") cholesterol levels within the body, promoting overall heart health.
Throughout the six-month trial, half of the participants with higher abdominal fat (i.e., as indicated by a high waist circumference, greater than or equal to 35 or 40 inches for women and men, respectively) were randomly assigned (i.e., because it's a randomized trial) to consume one whole avocado each day.
Meanwhile, the other half were instructed to continue their diet as usual but instead limit their avocado intake to less than two each month. The study utilized MRI technology to measure fat stores in the abdominal area (i.e., visceral adiposity) at the start and completion of the study. While neither weight nor body fat composition significantly changed in either group, it was also determined that LDL cholesterol decreased in the group eating avocados.
It's important to note that while this clinical trial did not indicate that eating an avocado daily in and of itself will help you to lose abdominal fat or weight in general, this fruit certainly contributes to a healthy diet, as fats are an essential macronutrient.
Participants in the study were not instructed on how to consume their avocados each day, which may contribute to the impact it had on their body as certain methods of preparation may promote more positive results than others. Additionally, the study authors recognize that a six-month trial may not be a sufficient length to see significant changes in the body with this particular intervention, so a longer study may be helpful to further assess the impact of daily avocado consumption on cardiometabolic health, body composition, and other parameters.
Other ways to support a healthy weight.
While avocados were not proven to decrease abdominal fat in this six-month study, there are other strategies alongside a healthy diet (including avocados!) to support a healthy body composition. Some include:
Taking a probiotic.
Perhaps one of the best ways to support your body from the inside out is by taking a probiotic supplement each day to nourish your gut and even help you maintain a healthy weight.*
If you're in the market for a probiotic option to take alongside your daily avocado, mbg created probiotic+ to help you beat bloat, aid in proper nutrient absorption and digestion, all while promoting abdominal comfort.*
Plus, one of the four targeted strains in the probiotic+ formula, Bifidobacterium lactis B420, is clinically shown1 to support the gut barrier while also promoting healthy weight via reductions in abdominal fat and waist circumference.*
While your diet will be your first line of defense when it comes to building a healthy body, a high-quality probiotic can be just as useful on the road to feeling and looking your best.
Adding variety to your diet.
We all know a balanced diet is essential for keeping your body healthy, and this starts with prioritizing your gut since our gut microbiota are pivotal to whole-body health. And we know that changes in body composition affect our gut microbe habitat2.
Alongside eating an avocado daily, varying the fruits and vegetables you're consuming will fuel your gut microbiome, adding a healthy boost of fiber to your nutritional plan and working toward a more effectively fueled body.
"Aim to eat 30 different plants per week (from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and herbs)—or as many varieties as you possibly can," gut health expert and registered dietitian Heather Finley, M.S., R.D., once told mbg.
Embrace movement you enjoy.
Regular movement, especially when that movement includes exercise you enjoy, is actually one of the best ways to support your gut microbiome and, of course, support healthy body composition by building muscle mass and strength.
When working toward sustainable weight changes, working out often alongside good nutrition (hello, avocados) is a great combination for seeing positive results.
If you're an avocado lover, find joy in knowing that eating one of these bright green fruits each day may contribute to lower LDL cholesterol levels without affecting weight. Embracing nutrient-dense variety in your diet, prioritizing physical activity, and leveraging a targeted probiotic are three foundational tools to support a healthy weight. Meanwhile, your go-to avo can remain a mainstay in your eating plan as you work toward overall health.
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.