The plant kingdom contains a staggering array of fruits, nearly every one trading in the same old thing: sweetness.
My fruit brethren whisper sugary promises to coax animals into eating their flesh and spreading their seeds. Their offer is understandably appealing—eating simple carbs is the fastest way for any creature on the move to get the burst of energy it needs. But me? I’m the oddball that plies my charms not with sugar but with rich, silky fat.
Once a nutritional pariah, that fat is largely what earned me my current spot as an American health darling, chunked into almost every salad and mashed into guacamole as if every day were Super Bowl Sunday. You’ll get up to 30 grams of fat from each of me, and 20 of those are the monounsaturated kind credited with raising “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering heart disease risk. I’m also great for weight control, since I’m high in fiber and abundantly satiating.
What’s good for the heart and belly is also good for the mind. Researchers recently found that people over 50 who ate one of me a day for six months improved (improved!) their cognition. That’s likely courtesy of a pigment I carry called lutein. You’ll find it in leafy greens, too—in greater quantities, in fact—but in me the builtin presence of my monounsaturates helps the body absorb it, eventually shuttling it to the brain. With greens, you need to add olive oil to get the same effect.
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