Avocado is a beneficial food for the heart and brain. In fact, its intake helps reduce bad cholesterol and, thanks to the presence of vitamin E, protects cognitive function. But avocado also supports the microbiota, which is the set of bacteria in our gut, as pointed out by a recent scientific research published in The Journal of Nutrition by an American team from the University of Illinois (Thompson et al, JN, 2020).
Previous research, as mentioned, had already had the opportunity to shed light on the beneficial properties of avocado for the heart and brain. However, little was known about its role on the microbiota. To understand this, scientists recruited 163 adults between the ages of 25 and 45, who were overweight or obese. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to replace one meal, whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a meal provided by the research group, which included an avocado, the other meals were free. The second group was asked the same but the meal provided did not contain avocado. The research continued for twelve weeks during which the volunteers were continuously subjected to laboratory tests to assess their health and that of microbiota. What emerged, at the end of the research, was that the first group, who ate an avocado every day, had a more varied and rich microbiota than those who had not consumed the avocado. Not only that, the group that ate avocado had an increase in the microbiota of the so-called good bacteria responsible for breaking down the fibers ingested with food and for producing metabolites useful for the general health of the body. An example of these metabolites is given by short-chain fatty acids, important for regulating glucose absorption and appetite but also for modulating the immune system.