Have you heard the saying about the apple? They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. There’s a healthier fruit in town with many more benefits. A recent study found that eating an avocado a day helped increase microbes that support your body’s digestion. (1) Don’t take it too literally. It’s important to eat a variety of healthy, whole foods but here’s good reason to make sure avocado makes it in the mix (as long as you aren’t allergic). Like we need an excuse other than guacamole. Along with the tastiness and health benefits, the study showed eating avocado increases gut health.
There have been numerous studies on the health benefits of eating avocados, but this was the first one that looked at avocado consumption and gut bacteria. The participants of the study were made up of two groups of men and women, between the ages of 25-45, who were considered overweight or obese. The two groups were given a meal replacement every day. The meals were similar, but one group’s meal included an avocado.
Over the course of 12 weeks the participants reported what they ate and shared blood, urine, and fecal samples. Researchers found that those who had an avocado a day had increased microbial diversity and specifically higher concentrations of the microbes that break down fiber and support gut health.
Your Gut and Your Health
You probably don’t think about it often, but you have a whole ecosystem in your gut that needs love. Your microbiome is made of many bacteria and flora that play a part in digestion, hormonal balance, immunity and a number of metabolic processes. Having a healthy gut plays a critical role in keeping all the moving parts of your body running smoothly. It’s important to have healthy habits that support your digestive system and avoid habits that harm the gut.
The most important thing you can do is eat foods that support gut health. Eating a variety of healthy, fiber-rich foods, like avocados, not only feeds you, but it also feeds your gut microbes too. Keep those gut microbes happy and they will return the favor.
Enjoy your Avocados
There are so many reasons to love and enjoy avocados. If you’re already an avocado eater you probably have a healthier diet. One study looked at survey results and found that those who ate avocados were overall healthier, ate more vegetables, and had a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. (2)
But don’t avocados have lots of fat and calories? Don’t be scared off by the calories and fats in an avocado. Avocados are nutrient dense foods with heart healthy fats and, like we talked about, lots of fiber. Avocados have almost 3 times the amount of fiber that an apple has, and an avocado has more potassium than a banana. More important than calories are the amount of nutrients you get. Along with potassium, avocados are known for nutrients like vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Avocados also frequent the EWG’s clean fifteen list, which means that there is less reason to worry about pesticide contamination and pesticides are very harmful to your gut. (3) Less than 2% of avocados tested by EWG had detectable levels of pesticides.
5 Avocado Recipes for Gut Health
There are a number of easy ways to add more avocados to your diet. You can add avocado chunks to your morning smoothie or top them on most any salad. Here are a few of our favorite recipes from our website.
- Guacamole Of course, we have to have a recipe for guacamole. There is nothing better than fresh guacamole and this recipe can easily be customized around allergies.
- Chavocado Mousse This healthy spin on an all-time favorite proves how versatile avocado can be. The pudding recipe has no dairy and uses some of our favorite sweetener alternatives.
- Spanish Quinoa Top this recipe with slices of avocado for a dish packed with fiber and flavor.
- Berry Yummy Smoothie Start your morning with this healthy smoothie and a good start on your daily healthy fats and fibers.
- Happy Hormone Chunky Monkey Smoothie Your body needs healthy fats for healthy hormones. This healthy smoothie helps give your body the components it needs for hormonal health.
Healthy Diet for Gut Health
Avocados increase gut health but that doesn’t mean just eat avocados. The most important takeaway is that you want to eat nutritious, fiber-rich foods for a healthy gut. Avocados are a magnificent way to add healthy fats, fiber and nutrients to your diet but don’t stop there. There are so many healthy, yummy foods out there to enjoy. There isn’t one magic food that will make you healthy, but a healthy whole foods diet with lots of fiber supports a healthy body.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn