avocados

Avocado Health Benefits

By

Avocados are one of the best fruits you can eat for preventing heart disease.

They contain up to 30% natural oil, derived mainly from mono-unsaturated fat which helps to reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels.

Their high levels of vitamin E will keep your skin looking healthy and maintain good circulation.

The numerous avocado health benefits that are discussed below, makes this delicious and age old fruit, one of the best natural food sources available.

Avocado Facts:

  • Although it looks and tastes like a vegetable, avocados are actually a fruit, belonging to the genus Persea in the Lauraceae family.
  • Avocado is also known as the ‘alligator pear’ because if its shape, green skin color and leather-like texture.
  • Avocados are grown from evergreen trees – Persea americana, which can grow up to 65 feet in height.
  • There are hundreds of different varieties of avocado. The main ones are: Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Hass, Pinkerton, Reed and Zutano. The most popular grown and supplied is the Hass variety.
  • California supplies approx 95% of the avocados in the US, of which 85% are Hass avocados.
  • Avocados are now grown all over the world in warm climates and Mexico is by far the world’s leading producer.
  • It takes around a week to 10 days for an avocado to ripen and turn into a soft, buttery texture.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Avocados contain over a dozen vitamins, minerals and important plant compounds that can help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Avocados contain zero cholesterol or sodium.
  • There is more than 3 times the level of potassium in an avocado than in a banana. A diet rich in potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, nerve function and muscle control.
  • Avocados contain B vitamins, as well as vitamins E, C and K, and folate.
  • Even though it is a fruit, avocados contain reasonable levels of fiber, which aids the digestive system.

Health Benefits

Now we are aware that the fats contained in avocados are essentially beneficial to our health, we can eat it more frequently and so benefit from all its other health giving properties.

Here’s why including avocado into your diet can benefit you:

Good for the Heart

The main health benefit of eating avocado is its contribution to maintaining a healthy heart. The abundance of monounsaturated fat it contains helps to reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels – the fat levels that build up in the blood vessels.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in folic acid lessens your chance of heart disease. Just one cup of avocado contains approx 25% of your recommended daily folic acid intake. Combined with significant amounts of B vitamins, avocados can seriously benefit the heart.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

More research is reveling avocados as a huge contributor to treating and preventing rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Avocados are packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients including phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, other (non-carotenoid) antioxidants, including flavonoids, vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PSA’s).

Aid Nutrient Absorption

The carotenoid nutrients contained in avocados make this fruit super efficient in absorbing other nutrients from fruit and vegetables.

Undisputed studies have proven the ability of avocado to absorb nutrients by as much as 400-500 percent than if avocado wasn’t present.

So adding it to salads and other raw fruit and veg dishes will greatly increase your intake of vital vitamins and minerals.

Cancer Fighter

Ongoing research through lab and animal testing is showing encouraging signs that avocados could be significant in the treatment of some cancers including prostrate, mouth and skin cancer.

Avocados high levels of anti-inflammatory nutrients and antioxidants almost certainly explain why cancer patients may benefit. It is has been shown that cancer risk factors increase with a lack of antioxidants and excessive inflammation. Avocados are abundant in both of these important sources.

Not only that, nutrients in avocados seem to have the ability to actively seek out and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy ones. A larger human study needs to solidify these results but the medical industry is particularly upbeat about the findings.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Avocados are low in carbohydrates and sugar and high in dietary fiber, and fall very low on the glycemic index. This makes it an excellent source of food for regulating blood sugar levels.

How to Incorporate Avocado into Your Diet

Avocados make a delicious snack on its own or can be chopped up and added to salads. It also makes tasty dips when blended with herbs and yogurt.

I really like the idea of substituting avocado for butter. It is known in the Caribbean as ‘poor mans butter’ where avocados are plentiful and mashed down to make a butter like spread.

Not only does it work well and tastes great, it is also has far less saturated fat than butter and adds healthy mono-unsaturated fat to your diet.

Avocado mash makes ideal baby food from around 4 months onwards. It is tasty, nutritious and can be pureed down to make it easy for young babies to eat.

Avocado Recipe

Guacamole

There are lots of variations to this delicious Mexican recipe and you can experiment by adding your own extra ingredients and seasoning.

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados

lime juice

1 green chili – finely cut and seeded

1 finely diced onion

1 skinned and finely chopped tomato

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch of salt

Ground black pepper

Method:

Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh. (see video below)

Chop into small pieces and transfer into a mixing bowl.

Add the lime juice, onion, tomato and mash together with a fork. Gradually add the olive oil while mashing.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper, adding some extra lime if necessary.

Can add a few drops of Tabasco sauce for a spicier taste.

RECENT POSTS

You may also like