Avocados: A Double Win for Diabetes

Avocados: A Double Win for Diabetes

Four million: the number of people in South Africa with diabetes according to recent data from the International Diabetes Federation. This means that South Africa has the highest proportion of adult diabetics on the African continent, and diabetes is the sixth most common cause of death in the country. Added to this, uncontrolled diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and amputations, a pandemic fuelled by soaring rates of individuals who are overweight and obese.

Each year, World Diabetes Day (14 November) aims to educate and inform the public on this devastating disease, and how it is completely possible to prevent and even reverse your risk for getting diabetes. And while diabetics are encouraged to make healthy food choices to control glucose levels, it is equally important to manage other diabetes-related complications like the increased risk of heart disease and being overweight and obese.

Avocados for the heart

Did you know that the risk of heart disease risk is two to four times higher in diabetics compared to non-diabetics? Heart disease is the primary cause of death in diabetics. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in avocados are the standout nutritional win that earns this creamy fruit’s place on a diabetic’s eating plan. In a study on over 120 000 participants followed for 24 years, replacing saturated fats (like coconut oil, fatty cuts of meat, chicken skin, and butter) with the same amount of monounsaturated fats (like avocado, avocado oil, olives, and olive oil) lowered the risk of coronary heart disease by a whopping 15 % – all the more reason to choose the avocado.

How avocados may help slim the waistline

Contrary to popular belief, avocado can be helpful as part of an energy-controlled eating plan for weight loss. Researchers have found that the monounsaturated fats in avocado give a quicker feeling of fullness which means less overeating. The monounsaturated fats in avocados will help make the diet more appetising, reducing the temptation to binge on foods high in energy from sugar and bad fats, supporting our weight loss efforts.

Clearly, it’s a double-whammy win for the humble avocado, which, in portion- controlled amounts, can and should be a healthy addition to the diabetic’s healthy eating plan to manage heart disease risk and help maintain a healthy weight.

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