Beat the odds with this 'forbidden' summer snack
Well, another summer is upon us. School's out... the sun's out... and patio tables are full of all your favorite picnic treats.
This is a great time of year to load up on all the great produce that's in season, whether it's strawberries, summer squash, watermelon, or corn on the cob.
Go ahead, fill your plate! And make sure you don't skip out on one of the summer's most misunderstood snacks: guacamole.
Because according to the latest research, avocados are a lot healthier than what the mainstream has let on.
You may have been told to avoid them because they're too high in fat -- but, in fact, studies show that they can reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome!
Now, metabolic syndrome is not a stand-alone disease. Instead, it's a cluster of risk factors -- like obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol -- that can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
And avocado seems to zero in on one risk factor in particular: cholesterol.
In their analysis of a number of studies that have documented the benefits of avocado, researchers in Iran focused on one in which avocados were given to participants with either "healthy" or "high" cholesterol levels.
After one week, BOTH groups showed significant reductions in LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
In their review of these studies, the researchers also discovered that eating avocados helped overweight and obese adults lose both weight AND body mass!
And those folks in the study who had "a little more to love" didn't skimp out on their portion sizes, either. They ate one WHOLE avocado... every day... for six weeks!
Now, you probably can't eat that much guacamole. But fortunately, that's only one way to enjoy this creamy treat.
You can also sprinkle avocado into salads... slice up it for sandwiches... spread it on toast... drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice... and even throw it on the grill!
And for a preparation that's particularly Paleo-friendly, slice one in half and fill it with a protein -- like tuna -- or scramble some with your eggs.
Going Paleo is also a great way to send metabolic syndrome packing.
You may think of avocado as a vegetable, but it's actually a fruit. And it's the ONLY fruit that delivers a substantial amount of healthy fat AND nearly 20 vitamins and minerals -- including calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and E -- in a single serving.
And while eating avocado can't offset poor eating habits on its own, it can be a recipe for success when you combine it with daily exercise and an all-around healthy diet.