Eating an avocado daily can help to improve gut health, a new study has discovered, and the superfood can also help to reduce cholesterol.
The superfood, which is high in fibre and healthy fats, was found to significantly increase microbes in the gastrointestinal system, researchers from the University of Illinois found.
Their findings showed that people who ate an avocado every day had a greater abundance of gut microbes that help to break down fibre and support gut health, compared to those who did not eat avocados.
More than 160 obese or overweight adults aged between 25 and 45 years of age were analysed in the 12-week study, with one group consuming an avocado with each meal, while another group ate the same meal but without an avocado. The team discovered that participants eating avocados had reduced bile acids in their digestive system, and had greater microbial metabolites which are vital for a healthy gut. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in avocados, as well as the high fibre content of the superfood, were also found to positively alter the gut microbiota.
Senior author Hannah Holscher said people need to think about consuming gut-healthy meals and incorporating a fibre-rich, energy-dense avocado into your daily diet is a step in the right direction.
"It's just a really nicely packaged fruit that contains nutrients that are important for health. Our work shows we can add benefits to gut health to that list," she added.
The researchers found that while the group consumed slightly more calories than the control group, slightly more fat was excreted in their stool.
"Greater fat excretion means the research participants were absorbing less energy from the foods that they were eating. This was likely because of reductions in bile acids, which are molecules our secretes that allow us to absorb fat. We found that the number of bile acids in stool was lower and the amount of fat in the stool was higher in the avocado group," Holscher explains.
A medium avocado provides around 12 grams of , which goes a long way toward meeting the recommended amount of 28 to 34 grams of fibre per day, says study.