The Many Things Avocados Do For You (Plus a Recipe!)
By: Dave Asprey
January 3, 2014
If you have had a chance to check out the Bulletproof Diet Infographic, you’ve noticed I recommend avocados as a source of fat. It turns out there are other reasons besides fat for why you should double down on the guacamole.
In this post, you will learn about some new research about what avocados can do for you. Also, I’ll introduce a guacamole recipe trick that you’ve never heard of, which will take your guacamole to a whole new level.
Fat doesn’t make you fat: the benefits of avocados
An industry trade group imaginatively called the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is doing some clinical research to see what avocados do for cardiovascular disease, maintaining healthy weight, controlling blood sugar, and upgrading your absorption of nutrients. The studies are promising and believable, even though they are funded by people who really want us to eat more avocados.
In 2013, a UCLA study showed that eating half a medium Hass avocado with a hamburger made of 90% lean industrial grade CAFO beef (bleah) inhibited creation of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6). Sadly, the researchers did not disclose what the animals were fed before they were turned into hamburger. In any case, even toxic meat from chemically treated sick animals is less inflammatory when you eat it with avocado. I’ll take my guac on top of an extra-fat, grass-fed burger!
A summary of the study by Medical News Today reported that plain burgers caused a 70% increase in IL-6 four hours after a meal, but only a 40% increase when avocado was included. Interestingly, avocado did not cause an increase in triglyceride levels even though it’s made of mostly fat. (Longtime readers will know that triglycerides are caused by fructose digestion more so than by eating healthy fat.) Another finding was a 27% reduction in peripheral blood flow after the meal with no avocado, but only a 4% drop when there was avocado.
Eat more good fat
Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat (about 2/3 of the fat is monounsaturated) and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E. When you are sticking to the Bulletproof Diet, your goal is to eat 50 to 70% of your calories coming from healthy fats. Since avocados have a good amount of fiber, almost no sugar (1g per 150g of avocado), and almost no protein (about 3g per 150g of avocado), you can eat tons of them instead of eating carbs or excessive protein. One of the biggest mistakes people make on the Bulletproof Diet is not eating enough fat because they are eating too much protein. Avocados can make that problem a thing of the past.
Another reason I like avocados is that they have a very thick peel. As I wrote in The Better Baby Book, the peel helps to block pesticides from entering the fruit. That means it’s mostly safe to eat non-organic avocados, opening a whole realm of possibilities at restaurants. Have you ever tried ordering a whole avocado on top of your chicken salad, then asked the restaurant to hold the chicken? That’s what I do, and you are better off to make that choice at most restaurants. I still prefer organic avocados when I can purchase them because I value the soil integrity of our planet. But a biohacker’s gotta eat on the road…
Read the rest of this post to learn the way I eat most of my avocados. It’s worth it!
Other benefits of avocados you’ve never heard of
- They might prevent oral cancer: Avocados have certain compounds in them that inhibit or kill oral cancer cells.
- They’re good for your liver: A Japanese study found laboratory rats, when fed a liver toxin that interferes with cell synthesis and kills cells, suffered the least amount of liver damage when they were fed avocados compared to 21 other fruits. The chemical toxin mimics viral hepatitis damage, so the researchers believe avocado might be a good idea in cases of viral hepatitis.
- They actually lower cholesterol: Honestly, the hysteria over non-oxidized cholesterol is not a reason to eat avocados, but avocados do help with suboptimal HDL/total cholesterol levels, which do matter (You want high HDL!). In once case, test subjects’ total cholesterol fell by 16% after a one-week high avocado diet. If the subjects had elevated cholesterol, the high avocado diet caused a 17% decrease in total cholesterol, an 11% increase in HDL, and a more significant 22% decrease of LDL and triglycerides.
3 things to know when peeling your avocado
- Never, ever eat the black or discolored parts. Those contain mold toxins and histamine that will lower your brain function if not make you sick outright. Avocados are one of the few fruits where it is safe to cut out the discolored parts. (Most fruit is entirely contaminated when some of it is spoiled.)
- Scrape your avocado. The dark green part of the avocado closest to the skin has the most carotenoids, phytonutrients that play a role in preventing macular degeneration. So scrape the inside of the peel with a spoon, or halve the avocado and get your fingers dirty and peel the skin like a banana.
- Remove your seed with ease. It is easiest to remove the seed by cutting the avocado in half, then embedding the blade of a sharp knife into the seed, then twisting the knife and pull the seed out, still stuck to the knife blade.
The most amazing way to eat avocados
I am a guacamole snob. I’ve made at least a thousand batches of it and tested lots of kitchen variables. Here are the basics:
- Buy Haas avocados. There are other varieties of avocado usually found in the tropics, Hawaii, and Florida, but those varieties are gigantic, watery, and do not contain nearly as much healthy fat. Plus they make awful guacamole.
- Choose your guacamole philosophy. In my experience, there are two schools of guacamole. The New Mexico tradition where I grew up calls for a very creamy guacamole. The California or Mexico tradition prefers a chunky form. You can adapt this recipe to make the chunky version, but you owe it to yourself to try to the creamy version at least once. In either case, avocado by itself in guacamole does not have an adequate mouth feel to fully satisfy compared to this recipe!
Check out this kitchen hack to add more of the right kinds of fat to your guacamole and make it taste amazing.
- Four large ripe Haas avocados, peeled
- 2-4 T Brain Octane or Upgraded XCT Oil (it will taste horrible if you use coconut oil, and these oils are 18 times or 6 times more concentrated than coconut oil, with no flavor so the natural avocado flavor explodes)
- 2 teaspoons or more of Himalayan salt (to taste)
- 1 T dried organic oregano
- 1-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar (to taste)
Blend everything with a hand blender until it is very creamy. Stir in chopped cilantro and jalapenos (if you tolerate nightshades) or other herbs of your choice.
The end result is like guacamole on steroids. The flavor is much more intense because of the effect of the esters from the Brain Octane on your taste buds. You won’t miss the onions and garlic common in most recipes. (These medical herbs taste good but have negative effects on your performance, unless you’re sick.)
Guacamole made this way keeps you full for longer and is amazing on top of grass fed meat, sushi, or salads. I have been known to eat a bowl of it by itself for lunch.
Hope you enjoy and subscribe below for many more Bulletproof recipes and quick hacks to increase your performance!
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