Avocados – your fitness friend, or foe?

Avocados – your fitness friend, or foe?

Are avocados good for weight loss, or can eating too much of it contribute to gaining those extra pounds? Gymbox dissects the green stuff.

Avocado history

The avocado is a fruit, but is generally used in cooking as a vegetable. Did you know it originates from central America? There are four types: the Hass, the Ettinger, the Fuerte and the Nabal. The Hass is deemed the best, as it has more succulent flesh. It has also been called the butter pear due to its fleshy texture, or often referred to as the alligator pear, due to the Hass's textured, knobbly skin. It's highly nutritious, containing vitamin E, potassium and niacin, and has a healthy monosaturated oil. The avocado has become increasingly popular, moving from traditional uses in guacamole to more hipster breakfasts such as 'smashed' avocado on toast. Either way, it's yummy. But, how much is too much? Can eating too much of this sexy green stuff widen our waistbands?

Lean, green machine

The good aspect of avocados is that as they can make you feel full as there are studies that show they suppress the appetite. There are even reports that argue that the healthy unsaturated fats prevent blood-sugar spikes, which get us in the afternoons, and can cause trouble in the cake scoffing department. But, beware. This doesn't mean you can chomp away on them like they're apples. One small avocado has around 180 calories and 17g fat. Even too much of a healthy fat can be too much...

Be a green goddess

New research from the CDC suggests that avocado eaters are healthier than those who skip it. If you are a green goddess/god, your body will show that you have significantly higher intakes of certain nutrients, including 48% more vitamin K, 36% more fibre, 23% more vitamin E, 16% more potassium and 13% more magnesium. You will have a higher good cholesterol. You should weigh about 7.4 pounds less and have lower BMIs, and most importantly, have 50% lower odds of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. But remember, you should stick to half an avocado in one day, anything more than that can lead to weight gain.

When in doubt, weigh it out

Each ounce has around 45 calories, 4g fat, 2.5g carbs, 2g fibre, and 0.5g protein. If you don't have kitchen scales (worth investing in!), here are some shortcuts: 1-ounce avocado is equal to two tbsp of mashed avocado, about two tbsp. chopped avocado, which is about 1/4th of a small avocado.

Tuck in to the green

Delicious with eggs. Smash half an avocado and stir it into scrambled eggs, or just slice it at the side.

Mix it into homemade salsa, and serve on top of a seared tuna steak. To die for.

Keep it simple. Make a ALT. Replace the bacon with avocado for a delicious lunch. Or if you're post heavy training session, go big and keep the bacon for the ultimate breakfast sandwich.

Guacamole. Make it skinnier by not mashing it up too much, leave some chunks, and mix in plenty of lime juice, red onion, diced tomato, and for a bit of spice, chuck in some jalapeno peppers.

On toast. Go for the classic. Mash it up with a squeeze of lemon and black pepper, and boom, even better than the hipster cafe down the road. Fry and egg and chuck it on the top for the ultimate Sunday breakfast.