This is your new mantra, so repeat after us: Eating fat will not make you fat! Sure, fat has more calories than protein or carbs, but so many people try and fail low-fat diets for a simple reason: it’s hard to feel satisfied let alone full. A little bit of fat goes a long way when it comes to quieting those mid-afternoon stomach rumbles that make you reach for the sugar- and salt-laden snacks you know you shouldn’t be eating.
But instead of reaching for the butter or margarine, pick up a simple avocado. After enjoying a lunch that included just one half of a Hass avocado to a lunch (the ones with the bumpy green skin) participants reported feeling 26% more satisfied and a whopping 40% less desire to eat more than those whose lunches did not include the creamy green berry--even up to three hours after they ate their meal--in a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal. This meal-time addition may add an extra 114 calories, but it will more than balance out by helping you avoid those chips and sweets throughout the afternoon hours. Not convinced? Researchers have even suggested that the omega-9 fatty acids in avocado can encourage your body to burn fat as energy.
Don’t worry about your cholesterol, either! People who downed double that amount, equivalent to a whole avocado every single day, in a Journal of the American Heart Association study had lower bad cholesterol levels after five weeks than their counterparts who didn’t enjoy the fruit. But it gets better from there. The participants were placed on one of three cholesterol-lowering diets: a lower-fat diet that did not include avocado, a moderate-fat diet that did not include avocado, or a moderate-fat diet that did include avocado. The improvement in participants’ bad cholesterol were far better than even the other two diets specially designed to lower cholesterol that did not include the Hass avocado. That’s right; it’s time to eat up in order to slim down.
We all love guacamole, but that’s not all you can do with this versatile fruit. Getting the half-avocado amount suggested by the study is as easy as slicing it onto a sandwich or on top of a salad for a much-needed creamy element, but it’s that same lusciousness that makes it possible to use avocado in place of less healthy ingredients throughout your daily menu. Use mashed avocado instead of mayo in potato and pasta salads. Puree the fruit with plenty of garlic and spices for a creamy pasta sauce that’s drastically better for you than cream-laden Alfredo. You can even slice the fruit in half, remove the pit, and bake an egg into the center for a filling meal that will crush hunger and cravings for hours on end.
If guacamole is your favorite way to enjoy the humble avocado, swap the tortilla chips out for veggie sticks and make sure to measure your portions carefully. It’s all too easy to scoop your way to several servings. Dipping with veggie sticks will also give you plenty of belly-filling fiber that, when combined with avocado, deliver your hunger pangs a one-two punch that will send them running all afternoon.
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