While bananas might be the standard athlete food, the real fit-fruit winner might be the avocado. That’s right, those green ovals with the creamy flesh and a large seed are actually fruit. With the recent increase in fat-friendly diets, avocado consumption has skyrocketed. Back in the late 1980s when fats were feared, avocado consumption in the U.S. was a mere 436 million pounds annually. Fast forward to 2018 when Americans consumed almost 2.4 billion pounds of avocados.
Here are proven benefits behind this powerhouse fruit:
Individuals who exercise tend to be at risk of feeling excessively hungry throughout the day. This hunger can lead to consuming more calories than the individual burned while working out. Eating avocados can combat this conundrum, as eating just half an avocado can promote fullness by 23%. In a study, researchers found replacing meal-time carbohydrates with avocado increased satiety. Avocados are loaded with fiber and fat, two very filling nutrients. Each fruit has 13 grams of fiber (half your daily needs) and almost 30 grams of fat, most of which comes from the health-promoting monounsaturated fat.
Due to the satisfying nature of avocados, adding a few slices to your breakfast eggs or lunch salad might be what keeps you from snacking later in the day. Research also shows avocado consumers have significantly lower BMIs and waist circumferences, two metrics of measuring health and metabolic syndrome risk, than those who forgo the fatty fruit.
Avocados are a great athletic food due to the large content of naturally occurring potassium; roughly 450mg in half a fruit, which is more than an entire banana offers (with less sugar). This mineral is extremely important to performance due to its role in muscle nerve interactions, controlling blood pressure, regulating fluid and utilizing glycogen for working muscles. Since potassium is lost to some degree in sweat, athletes need to prioritize eating foods with good potassium content.
- READ MORE: Fit Food Spotlight: Eggs
Every athlete wants their body to run like a well-oiled machine and avocados may assist with just that. The flesh contains vitamins B6 and B5. These two nutrients work to metabolically process carbohydrates into energy available for an active body to utilize.
If you’re going out for hours and hours of trekking, riding, running or other long-distance activity, avocados might help you perform better. When your body is working at a lower intensity for a long time, it relies less on carbohydrates and more on fats to get the work done. Adding an avocado to your pre-workout smoothie or bagel can provide these healthful fats to go the distance and make sure you stay fuller longer.