Wait! Don’t click back yet! You’re on the right page. You haven’t accidentally stumbled on to a twisted site promoting fruit fetish.
We’re here to talk about some of the amazing avocado benefits that many people are unaware of. So sit back with tortilla chips and some guacamole. You may be surprised by how healthy the unassuming little avocado benefits really are.
1. The Basics
Avocados are one of the most nutritionally dense fruits you can enjoy. They’re packed with beta-carotene, glutathione, lutein, and omega-3s, just to name a few.
A one-cup serving of avocado will meet 38% of your daily need for vitamin K, 24% of vitamin C and 20% of potassium. In contrast, a medium banana only offers 12% of your recommended daily allowance of potassium.
2. Cutting the Fat
Avocados are often misjudged because of their fat content. While it’s true that 85% of their calories come from fat, over half of this comes from oleic acid, a compound similar to the fat found in olive oil. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat that can help lower your LDL cholesterol, the “bad cholesterol.”
Other foods that fall into this “high fat” category are walnuts and flaxseed. Because of this fat content, you can even use mashed avocado as a substitute for butter, shortening, or oil when baking.
3. The Heart of the Matter
Naturally free of trans-fats, sodium, and cholesterol, avocados are an excellent addition to any heart healthy diet. The nutrients and phytochemicals contained within them, especially beta-carotene and lycopene, are essential in promoting cardiac health.
4. The Blood Sugar Balance
Avocados figure low on the glycemic index, containing less than 2 grams of sugar per cup. In addition, with only 19% of their calories coming from carbs they’re a relatively low carb food as well. The monounsaturated fats contained within can prevent or reverse insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and the high soluble fiber prevents blood sugar spikes.
5. Keep Cancer Away or How to Peel Your Avocado
Preliminary research studies have indicated that avocados can inhibit the occurrence of oral, skin, and prostate cancers. This is due in large part to the presence of beta-carotene and lycopene, two key carotenoid antioxidants. The greatest concentration of these carotenoids is in the dark green flesh of the avocado that lies just beneath the skin.
In 2010, the California Avocado Commission went so far as to issue guidelines on the correct way to peel your avocado in order to preserve this carotenoid dense layer and get the most from your avocado benefits.
- Cut the avocado length-wise, around the seed
- Holding each half, twist them in the opposite directions to separate them from the seed
- Remove the seed
- Cut each half, lengthwise
- Using your thumb and index finger, simply peel the skin off each piece
Don’t be so quick to throw the seed away! The seed of the avocado is one of the most nutritious and often thrown out parts of this superfood.
6. Don’t Get Inflamed
Avocados and avocado oil contain a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients including phystosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PSAs), and beta-crytoxanthin. These nutrients, and the many not listed, are all effective in the prevention of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Working Things Out With Fiber
One of the few foods that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, avocados are wonderful for helping maintain bowel regularity. They also lower your risk of colorectal cancer, as your colon is being cleaned out effectively.
8. Scaling Things Down
Avocados are a great addition to your plate for weight management or even weight loss. The monounsaturated fats contained in them are burned for energy and the oleic acid inside has shown indications of being able to turn down hunger pangs in your body. The soluble fiber in avocados has the effect of making you feel full.
9. Now See This
Lutein is another carotenoid in avocados. This antioxidant protects the eyes from oxidative stress damage that can eventually lead to macular degeneration and cataracts.
10. Keep Your Birthday Suit Beautiful
It’s well known that applying vitamins A, D, and E to dry, itchy, or irritated skin can help soothe you. Research is now suggesting that eating avocados can help trigger this process from inside your body, soothing skin irritation more effectively.
11. You and Baby, Too
If you’re a mother, you know how important folic acid is for a pregnant woman. It’s necessary for a developing fetus and is the primary ingredient in many prenatal vitamins. However, any store-bought pill will also contain fillers and chemicals. Avocados contain folate, a natural form of folic acid that your body loves…and so will your baby.
12. Keep Thinking
Another exciting discovery about folate is that it can be effective in helping to prevent some of the precursors to Alzheimer’s disease. Along with the vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids in avocados, some studies have shown a prevention of Alzheimer’s. In some cases even an elimination of signs of the disease at its earliest stages.
For a quick and delicious way to eat avocados try our delicious easy basil pesto recipe. (hint: it’s got avocados and walnuts in it.)
13. You Don’t ALWAYS Have to Go Green
Many of us try to buy organic foods when possible to avoid exposure to pesticides and GMOs. Avocados have such a thick skin that experts say the inner fruit will be protected if exposed to pesticides. As of now, there are no known GMO avocados.
14. They’re Delicious
This one is simple. They’re so much more to avocados than guacamole. There are salads, soups, dips, sandwiches. A quick search on the Internet will reveal more tasty and healthful options then you ever imagined.
15. Protect Yourself
While there are many avocado benefits, if you have a latex allergy, they may not be the fruit for you. Along with bananas and chestnuts, avocados contain enzymes called chitinases, which are associated with what is known as latex-fruit allergy syndrome.
If you’re allergic to latex, you may be allergic to these foods as well. Organic foods will have fewer enzymes and cooking the food may neutralize them, but as always, be safe.
If you’re looking for a versatile fruit that taste delicious and packs a punch of nutrition in every bite: look no further than the benefits of avocado.
You’re going to love it…and it will love you right back.
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