A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests that folks looking to balance their gastrointestinal health could also be ready to have their avocado toast and eat it, too.
The Hass Avocado Board funded the research, but the study authors believe that there’s enough evidence to justify making the mildly flavored fruit a daily diet stable.
The findings, which appear within the August 2020 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, imply that eating avocados daily can drastically improve a person’s overall gut health.
According to lead study author Sharon Thompson, the group wanted to deviate from the more obvious arguments in favor of the favored fruit. Multiple studies have attempted to link regular avocado consumption with weight loss or management. Instead, the University of Illinois researchers focused on how avocados affect the gastrointestinal system .
Says Thompson, “We know eating avocados helps you are feeling full and reduces blood cholesterol concentration, but we didn’t skills it influences the gut microbes and therefore the metabolites the microbes produce.”
In their paper, the study authors note that avocado is additionally high in fiber which research has shown high-fiber foods to be good for digestive health.
How the study came together
The research involved 163 participants between the ages of 25 and 45 years. The University of Illinois team hoped to measure the effect of daily avocado consumption on individuals with overweight and obesity who were otherwise in healthiness .
The researchers divided the study participants into two groups. Over a 12-week period, one group ate a meal that included avocado. Each participant could have the replacement meal at breakfast, lunch, or dinner; the important factor was that they ate avocado as a part of one meal every day . The control group ate similar meals but without an avocado.
Members of both groups provided blood, urine, and fecal samples throughout the 3-month study period. All of the participants reported what proportion of the provided meal they ate, and, monthly , they turned during a complete list of everything they consumed.
A positive outcome, but is there a catch?
Ultimately, the study showed that eating avocado with a minimum of one meal per day results in a greater presence of healthful microbes within the stomach and intestines. Additionally, the avocado group excreted slightly more fat in their stools than the control group.
“Greater fat excretion means the research participants were absorbing less energy from the foods that they were eating,” explains senior author Hannah Holscher. Holscher is an professor of nutrition within the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois.
“This was likely due to reductions in bile acids, which are molecules our digestion system secretes that allow us to soak up fat. We found that the quantity of bile acids in stool was lower, and therefore the amount of fat within the stool was higher within the avocado group.”
Holscher, Thompson, and therefore the other researchers had a really straightforward goal heading into the study.
“Our goal was to check the hypothesis that the fats and therefore the fiber in avocados positively affect the gut microbiota. We also wanted to explore the relationships between gut microbes and health outcomes.”
Even so, the study received funding from the Hass Avocado Board, which has purchased a series of studies in recent years. Medical News Today previously covered a 2019 study that the board purchased , which suggested that avocado consumption could positively influence weight loss. Featuring in Nutrients, this research found that avocados reduced appetite, allowing people to eat less and reduce .
However, the sample size for that study was just 31 people. The University of Illinois study drew research from quite five times as many participants. Additionally, other research has shown that avocados do have various health benefits.