Identifying shared elements in the lives of healthy individuals is an inherently tricky proposition, because it is contingent upon the subjective and somewhat unreliable measure of human perception. Some may value exercise to a greater degree and report that their healthy condition is the result of running, swimming or dancing with enthusiasm. Others may place more emphasis on diet and attribute their health to eating a wheelbarrow full of fruits and vegetables each day.
While diet and exercise are certainly both valuable components in the lifestyle choices of healthy individuals, personal bias can impair the reliability of any self-reported measure of health and wellness.
Imperfect as these measures may be, their ability to identify the how and why of healthy living has the potential to greatly improve the health of those struggling with poor health or lifestyle disease.
A shining example: a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and reported in the December edition of Nutrition Journal found a positive association between diet quality, health and the consumption of avocados.
Measuring a variety of health indices against the consumption of these creamy, nutrient-dense gems found that people who regularly eat avocados maintain a higher-quality diet and have a lower body weight, BMI and waist circumference than their non-avocado-eating counterparts. Citing the dependency of weight control on the energy density, macronutrient bioavailability and the physical properties of food, this study accurately illustrates the impact high-quality nutrition plays on a variety of widely-accepted measures of health.
The proverbial icing on the cake: those who regularly consume avocados have significantly higher HDL, “good” cholesterol levels and a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This is awesome news considering that metabolic syndrome is a precursor to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD is responsible for approximately 1 in 4 deaths in the United States.
If nothing else, this new information certainly adds a tasty new dimension to the argument that diet is the most important consideration when striving for total health and wellness.