Some generational studies experts would consider me a millennial. Others would consider me a Gen Xer. Being a baby of the early '80s has left me all kinds of confused. I'm right at the cusp of these two generational cohorts. Some say the millennial generation started in 1980. Others put it all the way back to 1984. Well, I was born before 1984 but after 1980...so, what am I? I'm not cool enough to have a TikTok or to use Tinder. But I am a fan of other forms of social media and avocado toast (gluten free, of course). I looked it up, and the correct term for someone born when I was born is a 'Xennial'. One article even referred to my age group as the "Oregon Trail Generation". Which I am totally okay with, because that was by far my favorite computer lab day game in elementary school.
Let's go back to that avocado toast, since I'm kind of hungry and the thought of smashed avocado on a piece of gluten free toast has me salivating. Millennials are onto something with this trend. Gen Xers were taught to fear the fat in avocados, while most millennials embrace it.
I personally love good fats and think they deserve more attention and affection. Avocados are full of the good kind of fat, with the average avocado containing roughly 65% monounsaturated fat. This kind of fat has been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
A recent study published by the Center for Nutrition Research at the Illinois Institute of Technology looked at what would happen if avocados replaced unhealthy carbohydrates in a meal. They found that meals that included fresh avocado in place of refined carbohydrates left the consumer more satisfied and less hungry later on. They concluded that consuming fresh avocado in at least one meal per day, in place of refined carbs, had the ability to suppress hunger and increase meal satisfaction in overweight and obese adults.
The obesity rate continues to climb. But the researchers that conducted this study say that this simple dietary change of including fresh avocado at mealtime in place of refined carbs may have an important impact on hunger and aiding metabolic control.
Gen Xers were taught that fat should be feared. There are still many that believe fat is the main cause of obesity. But now carbohydrates are being targeted as the main contributor to the obesity epidemic. The study mentioned above would place the fatty avocado as a healthier choice over refined carbs such as a 100 calorie snack pack of cookies. Shout out to all you Gen Xers who ate Snack Wells in the late '90s/early 2000s.
Another recent study, conducted by researchers at Penn State, looked at the dietary impact of eating an avocado a day. Their research suggests that avocados may aid in keeping "bad cholesterol" levels at bay if consumed once daily.
The study concluded that when the participants incorporated one avocado a day into their diet, they had fewer small, dense LDL particles than before the consumption of an avocado a day. Not only did daily avocado consumption lower the overall LDL numbers of study participants, but it also helped to reduce their nasty oxidized LDL particles (those are the so-called bad ones that end up in your arteries). This was a 5-week study.
Avocado research is a relatively new area for food scientists. But the information that they've gathered so far is promising for the mighty avocado. So go ahead and enjoy avocados as a health food. They're nutrient-dense and full of all kinds of health benefits.