Ok. I'll admit it's not a very dramatic story, but I had never heard the term "alligator pear" before. I thought it was some exotic fruit that I had yet to encounter. Sort of like the first time I saw dragon or monk fruit in the produce aisle of the local grocery store. So, when I first learned what an alligator pear was, I had to laugh out loud. And, I felt like a dummy.
As it turns out, it's just another name for one of my favorite all-time foods: Avocados.
This fruit is so versatile and it's packed full of nutrients, including fiber and monounsaturated fats. These are the same heart-healthy fats found in olive oil and a primary component of the Mediterranean Diet, well-known for its myriad health benefits.
In fact, avocados contain one specific type of monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which researchers from the University of California Irvine have found stimulate the body’s production of a key appetite-suppressing compound that helps curb hunger. This compound, known as oleoylethanolamide (Say that 10 times fast!), has been shown to reduce appetite and boost fat loss.
Along those lines, according to another study published in Nutrition Journal, consuming avocados may help blunt your appetite and reduce snacking behaviors. Researchers found that folks who added ½ an avocado to their lunch were 40% less likely to snack in the 3 hours after eating and 28% less likely to snack for up to 5 hours after the meal.
Additional studies show that regular avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality, weight management, and overall health.
Another study, published in Nutrition Journal, examined the dietary habits of over 17,000 men and women, and they found that those folks who regularly consumed avocados were more likely to have a lower body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.
If that’s not enough, research shows that consuming avocados alongside vegetables can lead up to a 15 TIMES greater absorption of a vegetable's phytochemicals, which combat oxidative stress—a process associated with aging and obesity.
Here’s one more fun fact about avocados: They initially earned their reputation as an aphrodisiac from the ancient Aztecs, which named the fruit ahuacate, the Aztec word for testicle. (Sure, a bit crass in today's vernacular, but it makes the adolescent boy in me chuckle non-the-less...)
Setting humor aside, though - you should try including this tasty superfruit in your diet daily by adding it to salads and salsas, making guacamole, or as one of my personal secret weapons, blended in protein smoothies (it yields an amazing, creamy consistency)!
Here's to learning something new, and always moving toward a better you...
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