Nutrition advice can be conflicting and confusing, but there is one food that both dieters and experts of all creeds can agree on. From hard-core vegans to followers of the Atkins diet, everyone thinks the following food is so undeniably nutritious that there is essentially no excuse not to eat it. So what is this miracle edible?
We'll give you a hint: It's green, grows on trees, and works to prevent everything from weight gain to cancer. The answer is… avocado.
Last week, we asked 17 different nutritionists to name the world's top three healthiest foods, and well over half of them listed avocado. As celebrity nutritionist and founder of the Alkamind cleanse, Daryl Gioffre, DC, told us, avocado "is literally one of the most perfect foods" and "should be at the top of the list." Some think avocados are too high in fat and calories to be eaten every day, but nutritionists disagree. Read on to learn more about how eating avocado can benefit your health (plus, a few favorite recipes from nutritionists)!
Benefits of avocado:
The star nutrient in avocados is monounsaturated fats. "With more than 77% of an avocado's calories coming from monounsaturated fat, this is one of the highest fat foods that grows in nature," says Gioffre. "And that's a good thing because this type of fat, oleic acid, reduces inflammation and has been shown to have heart disease– and cancer-preventing effects." Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board member at the Nutritional Magnesium Association, says that oleic acid is also known to "lower levels of cholesterol by approximately 22%." If that weren't enough, the monounsaturated fats in avocado "act as a cell membrane protectors," says nutritionist Dana James, MS, CDN, CNS. "When your cells are protected from free-radical damage, they function better. This means prettier skin, a faster brain, and more energy!"
In addition, avocados contain heart-healthy folate and 42 milligrams of magnesium per cup, which is important for energy and digestion, among other benefits. "Avocados are rich in vitamins K, C, B5, and B6 … [and] they contain more potassium than bananas without all of the sugar," adds Gioffre. "They're also surprisingly high in fiber, so they help maintain digestive health. And they contain two antioxidants that keep eyes healthy and prevent aging's effects on your eyes."
Best ways to eat avocado:
By now we can all agree: Avocado is a superfood we should be eating. Even if you don't like the taste or texture, there are so many creative ways to work it into your diet.
"I snack on avocado with hemp seeds and lime juice," says Gioffre. "Add avocado in chilled soups and smoothies, toss some on salads or quinoa bowls, or indulge in the avocado toast trend."
Want more ideas? As James suggests, "Eat half an avocado with sea salt and tomatoes for an on-the-go breakfast … or make an avocado smoothie with coconut milk and cinnamon."
Now that you know all about the world's healthiest food, don't miss this story about the least healthy food, according to doctors.