The next time you contemplate paying extra for guac at Chipotle and other restaurants, think about the positive effects avocado has on your body and weight loss, instead of the negative effect on your wallet. You could even consider the avocado as "nature's keto" starter since studies show it helps your body burn fat for fuel.

Studies have shown that avocados may help you lose weight by keeping you fuller longer, but the weight loss benefit goes well beyond satiety, according to the research. Still, it makes sense to eat some avocado at lunchtime, since it will prevent you from feeling hungry for five hours afterward, according to a nutritionist who has researched the benefits of this unique fruit (yes, avocados are in fact fruit).

Avocados have a bad reputation

They're high in calories, true, with 234 calories for a medium avocado, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Avocados are also high in fat, with 21 grams or about one-third of your daily recommended allowance. But just because the avocado contains fat, doesn't mean it will make you fat. In fact, avocados appear to be a dieter's best friend. Every diet that's popular now–Keto, Atkins, Zone, and Paleo-disagrees on what to eat, but they all recommend eating avocados to promote weight loss.

Eating an avocado at lunchtime can help you lose weight

Eating avocado keeps you full for six hours afterward, according to a study published last spring by NIH. They compared a control meal to an avocado meal and hose who ate the avocado had high measures of appetite-suppressing hormones in their blood for six hours after eating the meal. The scientists attributed this hunger suppression to the perfect combination of fat and fiber in the whole fruit. "Avocados reduce your appetite for at least five hours after eating one," says nutritionist according to Lori Meyer, an RD who has reported on the wonders of avocado. The study concludes that people who eat avocados tend to eat less throughout the day and take in fewer calories when they ate an avocado for lunch, which results in weight loss.

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Meyer's explains that the research proved "it’s not just the satiety value of the avocado or the monounsaturated fat, but there is a sugar [in avocados] called mannoheptulose, and this sugar helps the way your body uses the insulin [which] helps to reduce insulin resistance." So essentially avocado is a perfect combination of fat, fiber, and a plant-based carb that signals your body to burn more fat.

This natural process prevents the body from storing more fat. Instead, the body goes into fat-burning mode, which is why we call avocados, "nature's keto," because you need to eat a significant amount of fat on a keto diet in order for the body to enter ketosis, where it uses fat as energy instead of storing it. The result is that you lose weight. Meyer's advice is to eat an avocado around lunchtime so you will feel fuller until dinner and not be tempted to snack. If you are a snacker, she suggests snacking on avocados. Watch her video below.

Habitual consumption of avocados may reduce adult weight gain

In a review study, researchers compared avocado intake to weight and body composition changes in adults over time. The longitudinal study, examined two groups of 56-year-old participants, one group ate avocados, the others did not. Avocado intake was self-reported on a food frequency questionnaire and results showed that the frequent avocado consumers gained less weight and stayed leaner over time compared to those who did not eat avocados regularly. The report concluded: "avocados contain nutrients and bioactive compounds that may help reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese." And concluded with, "habitual consumption of avocados may reduce adult weight gain." This is even more remarkable given the fact that most adults gain 1 to 2 pounds a year, or 10 to 20 pounds a decade, and in the 11 year period of the study, the avocado eaters stayed the same weight.

Here are 6 reasons why you should eat an avocado a day for health & weight loss

1. Avocados help boost the immune system

Avocados are rich in nutrients and antioxidants which help keep your vital organs healthy and strengthen your immune system. Avocados are a great source of vitamin E.  An NIH Study showed that vitamin E can help improve the immune response during aging and suggested that it can reduce the oxidative damage that may contribute to cancer. The study said vitamin E can also help alleviate symptoms of asthma as well as help your body recover after a hard exercise session.

2. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, so add them to your smoothies

We have always been told to "eat bananas for potassium," especially before or after a workout. But you will have better luck eating avocados for potassium because a 3.5-ounce avocado has 708 milligrams of potassium or 14% of your recommended daily allowance, and bananas have 422 milligrams or 10 percent of your daily recommended allowance, according to Healthline. Consuming high potassium foods help support healthy blood pressure levels and water retention "that protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones." Before heading to the gym, scoop the inside of an avocado and eat it to bolster your workout.

3. Avocados are high in fiber, which promotes weight loss and metabolic health

High fiber foods help reduce appetite, decrease the risk of high blood pressure, and serve to lower your cholesterol levels. Avocados rev your metabolism and are keto-friendly even though they are high in carbohydrates. One 3.5-ounce avocado has 7 grams of dietary fiber, so by eating one average-sized avocado, you are consuming 27 percent of your recommended daily amount of fiber (25 grams for women 38 grams for men). It also has  12 grams of carbs (which nets out to 2 grams), and 21 grams of healthy fat. Try adding an avocado to your salads, buddha bowls, dessert mousse as a substitute for cream, and of course enjoy a bowl of guacamole.

4. Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, more than a daily supplement

The next time your doctor suggests taking more vitamins, tell her you will "eat more avocados." Avocados are the nutrient and vitamin all-star of the produce section. In an average-sized avocado, which is roughly 100 grams, there are 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here are the most prominent.

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B9, aka Folate  20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV

5. Avocados help lower your cholesterol

In a new study conducted by Penn State University, researchers explained that avocados have an additional benefit that helps lower your LDL cholesterol which is sometimes called your "bad cholesterol." Because avocados are full of "good fat" they can help your body absorb nutrients without raising LDL levels in the body that are associated with eating animal or saturated fat. If you're experiencing high cholesterol, incorporate avocados to your diet.

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6. Avocados can help protect your eyes

Consuming avocados may help your eye health because they're loaded with powerful antioxidants like the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which, "filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes," according to the American Optometric Association. This is especially important when you spend all day staring at your computer screen.

3 Delicious Avocado Recipes

Vegamelon

1. Creamy Avocado “Pesto” Pasta

From: @vegamelon

Why We Love It: The taste of this pesto is light, clean and a lot creamier than traditional recipes. The instructions are simple, and all you need is a blender. This recipe can be made in no time and only calls for 5 ingredients (most of them you'll have in your fridge or pantry already).

Prep: 5 Minutes

Total Ingredients: 5

Make It For: Both lunch and dinner: Spread it on a sandwich, put it on your pasta or use it as a pizza sauce or salad dressing, the great thing about pesto is its versatility. Make a double batch and keep it in a container in your fridge for up to a week, or freeze it to last even longer.

Creamy Avocado “Pesto” Pasta

Serves 2

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Toss with about 2 servings of cooked pasta & enjoy!
floraandvino

2. Vegan Avocado Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Avocado and ice cream may seem like an unusual combination, but they're actually the perfect creamy pair. This cold treat recipe is 100% vegan and made with real fresh ingredients like mint, coconut, avocados, maple syrup for sweetness, and raw cacao nibs. It's a delicious and healthy treat for the middle of summer, it's light, refreshing, and tastes naturally sweet.

This recipe is simple to make but takes at least 8 hours to freeze. Plan ahead to make this the day before so it's ready to go for when you need a chill treat. Get your friends together and make cookie sandwiches with this plant-based ice cream recipe. You can even set up a sundae bar and add healthy toppings like fruits and nuts. Vegan avocado ice cream tastes delicious scooped in a cup or topped on a sugar or waffle cone.

Recipe Developer: Lauren@flora_and_vino

Why We Love It: Ice cream is a summer staple, especially when it's light and healthier than traditional frozen treats. This recipe is simple to make and tastes delicious. Avocado and mint are a natural refreshing pair, mixed with coconut and maple syrup for a sweet taste.

Make It For: Dessert this summer. Kids love to make this ice cream and top it with their favorite fruits and nuts. Make a large batch and store it in the freezer for up to 5 days.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Freeze Time: 8 hours

Avocado Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 13.5-oz can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup + 2 TBSP pure maple syrup (use less or more depending on the desired sweetness!)
  • ½ cup raw cacao nibs
  • 1 bag Sejoyia Chocolate Coco-Thins

Instructions

  1. Add avocados to a blender with the entire contents of one can of coconut milk, mint leaves, and maple syrup.
  2. Blend until very smooth and creamy, then pour contents into a freezer-safe pan or container. Fold in the cacao nibs.
  3. Lay the container flat and freeze for 6-8 hours, stirring every hour with a spoon to lightly churn.
    Allow softening for 30 minutes prior to serving for the best results.
  4. Serve by itself or smashed between your favorite cookies!
  5. To make ice cream sandwiches, pack slightly softened ice cream into a ¼” scoop, then spoon out and smash between two Coco-Thins.
  6. Roll the perimeter of the sandwich around on parchment paper to smooth out the edges, then wrap in parchment paper and allow the sandwich to firm up for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Store leftover ice cream in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
JD Raymundo

3. What We’re Cooking: Summer Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce

It's the peak of summer and you're probably looking for a refreshing, lightweight meal made with nourishing ingredients. Enter Summer Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it requires zero cooking: The rice paper wraps are secured with hot water. All you need to do is soak it in warm water for 10-15 seconds until it softens up and is pliable.

This recipe features cabbage, carrots, avocado and cilantro, but feel free to mix it up with your favorite vegetables and whatever you have in the fridge.

Summer Rolls w/ Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

Summer Rolls

  • 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, sliced
  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce, or Tamari for gluten-free
  • 1 Medium Carrot, shredded
  • ½ Head of Purple Cabbage, shredded
  • 2-3 Avocados, sliced
  • Handful Fresh CIlantro
  • 1 Pack Rice Paper

Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • ¼ Cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce, or Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp Hot Water

Instructions

  1. In a large pan heat up a bit of oil over medium heat. Add your sliced tofu and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add your soy sauce and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes and each tofu piece is coated. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Get the rest of your filling ready by shredding your carrot and cabbage, or slicing it thin. Thinly slice your avocados. Set these ingredients aside. In a large shallow dish, pour warm water halfway.
  3. Soak your rice paper in the warm water for 15 seconds until it is just pliable to work with. Remove from the water and onto a plastic cutting board or large plate. Add your carrots, purple cabbage, tofu, avocados, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro to the middle of your rice paper and fold it up from the bottom to cover your filling, then fold the sides, and tightly roll it all up. Repeat until you use up all your filling.

***To make assembling easier, have everything ready by having a station for your filling, a station for the shallow dish to soak your rice paper, and a station next to it to assemble your summer rolls. ***

  1. To make the sweet and spicy peanut sauce, add all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in a splash of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  2. Garnish with some sesame seeds and fresh cilantro. Dip your summer rolls into your sauce and enjoy!