Gut health is at the forefront of many health and wellness conversations these days, and for good reason. Having a healthy microbiome — or bacterial environment in your gut — has proven time and time again to have many benefits for our immune systems, hormonal health, longevity, and more. We know that our diet and lifestyle greatly impact our microbiome, and most recently, researchers found that there’s one food we should be eating each day to promote those healthy gut bugs that boost our bodies — avocados.
Avocados For Gut Health
For the study, researchers analyzed the health and diets of 163 overweight adults. They were separated into two groups: one group was asked to eat one Hass avocado per day for 12 weeks, and the control group was not.
Results showed that those participants who ate the avocado experienced positive changes in their gut bacteria. One being increased bacterial diversity, which has been linked in other research to better immunity, improved skin health, and even better brain function. Not only that, but reduced bacterial diversity has been associated with conditions like IBS, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, eczema, celiac, and more — so including an avocado into your diet could potentially ward them off!
Fiber and the Microbiome
Health experts have long suggested that fiber is integral to a healthy, diverse microbiome. Since avocados are full of it (containing about 14 grams per medium-sized fruit), it’s likely that the nutrient is responsible for the promising results.
Fiber acts as the “food” for healthy, probiotic bacteria that’s found in the digestive tract. Without it, those “good” gut bugs don’t have what they need to thrive, and harmful microbes are more able to prosper, enter into our bloodstream, and cause a slew of health problems — a condition that’s known as “leaky gut.”
In a standard American diet, it’s estimated that adults are only consuming about 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day. This is way below the recommended amount of 28 to 25 grams. Since fiber is stripped from so many foods during processing (take white bread, for example) our diets can be severely lacking in this gut-healing nutrient, leaving us particularly susceptible to leaky gut.
As you can see, adding one avocado into your daily routine is a simple way to get more of this much-needed nutrient in your diet.
Eating a whole avocado per day might seem like a lot, but trust me, it’s doable! Try toasting two slices of Ezekiel or other whole-grain bread, and having half an avocado smashed with a pinch of sea salt on your toast as a spread instead of butter. Reserve the other half to enjoy sliced or chopped up in a wrap or salad for lunch, or try it alongside a burrito bowl for dinner. I like to squeeze a wedge of lime and sprinkle some sea salt on top of it for some extra flavor! You can even try blending a quarter of an avocado into smoothie recipes for a smooth, creamy texture.
No matter how you decide to eat it, avocados are undoubtedly one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. This study shows just how important they can be for our health, so stock up on your next grocery trip!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.