It can be difficult to sort out what eating plans will help adults stay healthy and avoid weight gain while being sustainable over the long term. For many women over the age of 40, avoiding belly fat that is associated with an increased risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes can be a challenge. But according to a recent study, the trendy avocado may help women drop visceral abdominal fat that surrounds organs deeper in the abdomen.
A new study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that overweight female research participants who added one Hass avocado per day to their diet during a 12-week period experienced a decrease in visceral abdominal fat as well as a loss of subcutaneous fat. The 105 adults in the study were divided into two groups and served meals with near-identical ingredients and calories – except for the addition of an avocado to the intervention group.
Visceral abdominal fat is harder to target than subcutaneous fat which accumulates right under the skin. The Mayo Clinic explains that visceral fat is associated with dangerous health problems including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and breathing problems. In addition to eating a healthy plant-based diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, it’s also important to avoid sugary drinks, keep portion sizes in check and get regular physical activity to avoid gaining belly fat.
Avocados, which are actually considered a berry, are high in dietary fiber, potassium, and healthy fats. Avocados also have important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Because they are filling, they may help prevent snacking and help with weight loss. But talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out how much avocado is recommended because they are fairly high in calories.
Avocados may also help improve complexion by reducing inflammation with vitamin C, speeding healing, and soothing dry skin. Studies have also linked avocado oil with boosting collagen in the skin, helping to reduce the signs of aging.
In addition to avocado toast, which is delicious with a poached egg and garden-fresh tomatoes, try adding avocado to sauces and smoothies, giving them a creamy consistency. Or include half an avocado in a veggie wrap, in salsa, or tossed in a salad. Check out the BBC Good Food webpage for more ideas and healthy avocado recipes.