Crazy craving for a burger? Consider topping it with fresh avocado: A new study by UCLA found that it might ease some of the negative effects the meat patty has on your heart health.
In this study, 11 healthy males between 18 and 35 first ate their burgers (90 percent lean) plain, and then again with half an avocado spread on top on a separate occasion.
Results revealed that when the burger was combined with avocado (a rich source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids), the subjects’ post-meal inflammation – as measured by the interleukin-6 (IL-6) level – was significantly neutralized. The green topping alleviated the restriction of blood flow in the arterial vessels after eating a high-fat meal as well.
Additionally, the buttery fruit did not further increase vessel-clogging triglyceride blood levels beyond what was observed after eating the burger alone, despite the extra calories.
Inflammation, narrowing of arterial blood vessels and blood triglyceride levels are all risk factors for heart disease. Although these preliminary results are from a single small pilot study, it is the starting point for future research to identify whether avocados can have significant cardiovascular health benefits.
Meanwhile, here are 3 ways you can gobble a healthier burger meal and fight off the wobble:
Did you know that 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise will inflict a whopping 12g fat and 180 calorie of damage on your butt and heart? Try swapping mayonnaise and bacon for low-fat yogurt and our favourite healthy toppers that’ll hit the home run in terms of flavour, presentation and nutritional value:
WATCH YOUR SIDES
Skip the french fries, coleslaw or other fattening sides and dessert – the real waistline killers in your fast-food meal. A medium serving of MacDonald’s fries will set you back 380 calories and clog arteries with a generous 19g of fat.
Complement your burger with salad greens (sans the fat- and sodium-loaded dressing), beans, steamed veggies and fresh fruits for a guilt-free meal that’s packed with fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.
DON’T DROWN YOUR DIET IN DRINKS
Sugary drinks are another weight-loss kryponite – a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, as well as obesity-associated metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Rethink your drink before washing down your burger with a coke – that’s 150 cal worth of empty calories for small MacDonald’s serving, or a frightening 310 cal for a large up-sized version.
Calorie-free beverages such as sparkling water and plain water are your best bet to stay hydrated and svelte. If you must have your cola fix, the diet version is the obvious skinnier choice. And go easy on the lager (250 cal, or almost an hour of brisk walking per pint) and alcopops (160 cal) at your next grill party.
– By Claudia Lin