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12 health benefits of avocados

Avocados are full of vital nutrients to keep you healthy

There are many reasons to eat Avocados

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The avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree, Persea Americana. There are many types of avocado that vary in both shape and colour. They range from pear-shaped to round, green to black and can weigh anything from 8oz to 3lb. The most popular is the Hass avocado, also known as the alligator pear due to its shape and green bumpy skin.

The avocado is a unique fruit. Technically a type of berry, the avocado has a high healthy fat content, unlike the majority of fruits, which are mainly comprised of carbohydrates. Loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet, the avocado has become a go-to buy for many people in the grocery store due to their versatility and can be added to dishes, both for their flavour and rich texture. Considered as one of the new types of “super food” there are multiple health benefits to adding this fruit to your diet.

breezekohtao.com best avocado breakfast on koh taoAvocados are highly nutritious

Avocados contain almost 20 vitamins and minerals, whilst also being low in saturated fat and containing no cholesterol or sodium. A 100g serving of avocado provides you with 2g protein, 15g healthy fat and only 2g net carbs, so they are also considered a low-carb friendly plant food.

Of the vitamins and minerals found in avocados, the most abundant provide the following amounts of their recommended daily volume

  • Vitamin K 26%
  • Folate 20%
  • Vitamin C 17%
  • Potassium 14%
  • Vitamin B5 14%
  • Vitamin B6 13%
  • Vitamin E 10%

Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, manganese and vitamins A, B1, B2 and B3.

Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s)

The avocado is one of the fattiest plant foods in existence, with 77% of the calories it provides coming from fat. In the case of avocado though, these fats mainly consist of Oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Oleic acid is also the major component of olive oil and is believed to be the component responsible for some of the health benefits provided.

Oleic acid is associated with reduced inflammation, reduced blood pressure and has been shown to have favourable effects on some of the genes linked with cancer.

These fatty acids are also resistant to heat-induced oxidation which makes avocado oil both safe & healthy to cook with.

breezekohtao.com avocado healthyAn avocado contains more potassium than a banana

Whilst potassium is essential to the body’s functions, most people do not get enough in their diet. Potassium is the 3rdmost abundant mineral in the human body and is required to help regulate your body fluid, send nerve signals and regulate muscle contractions.

A 100g serving of avocado can provide you with 14% of your recommended daily amount of potassium, whilst a similar serving of banana provides only 10% of your recommended daily amount.

Having a high intake of potassium has been linked to reduced blood pressure levels which, in turn, decreases your risk of heart attacks, strokes and renal failure.

Avocados can help improve your digestion

Avocados are relatively rich in fibre. Fibre is an indigestible plant matter that is known to contribute to weight loss and help reduce spikes in blood sugar levels. It is also linked to a lower risk for many diseases and is good for the body’s metabolic health.

There are two types of distinguishable fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is important for optimal body function and it helps to feed gut-friendly bacteria in the intestine.

100g avocado contains 7g fibre, 27% of the recommended daily amount, of which 25% is soluble. Consumption of sufficient amounts of fibre will help to prevent constipation, assist in the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract and lower your risk of colon cancer. Fibre also helps to stimulate regular bowel movements, which are essential to enable the daily excretion of toxins.

Avocados can help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

The most common cause of death globally is heart disease. There are several markers in the blood which can indicate a higher risk of heart disease such as cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers and your blood pressure.

A number of small, controlled studies have been conducted to examine the effects avocado have on these markers and the results have shown that eating avocado does the following:

  • Reduces overall cholesterol levels by a significant amount
  • Reduces blood triglyceride levels by up to 20%
  • Lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol by up to 22%
  • Increase HDL “good” cholesterol levels by up to 11%

breezekohtao.com avocado health benefitsTheir fat content may aid the absorption of nutrients from other plant food

Increasing your intake of nutrients is only beneficial if the body is able to absorb the nutrients from the digestive tract to utilize them. Some nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K and antioxidants such as carotenoids, are fat-soluble and so must combine with a fat to be able to pass from the digestive tract.

Studies conducted have shown that the addition of avocado to salad increases the absorption of antioxidants by anything from 2.6 to 15-fold. This helps to dramatically increase the nutrient value of the salad and provides an excellent reason to include a healthy fat source when eating vegetables.

Avocados are loaded with powerful antioxidants which protect your eyes

Antioxidants such as carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are known as phytochemicals. These substances are very important for the health of your eyes and provide protection to minimize the damage caused by ultra violet light.

Consumption of high levels of these antioxidants has been linked to a drastic reduction in the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, both of which are common in older adults. The reduction is due to MUFA’s aiding the absorption of fat-soluble antioxidants, which benefits long-term eye health.

breezekohtao.com benefits of avocadoAvocados can help prevent Osteoporosis

Half an avocado can provide approximately 25% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin K. Although often overlooked, vitamin K is essential for good bone health. Most people tend to think of increasing their intake of Calcium and vitamin D when talking about the maintenance of healthy bones but vitamin K supports bone health by increasing the amount of calcium the body can absorb and reducing the amount lost in urinary excretion.

Saponins found in Avocados, soy beans and other plant foods have also been associated with the relief of symptoms for knee osteoarthritis, a common problem in Western countries.

Avocados may aid in weight loss

There is some study-based evidence that suggests avocados are weight-loss friendly. A study has shown that eating avocado left people 23% more satisfied at the end of their meal and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the following 5 hours.

If this is proven to be true in the longer term, then the addition of avocado to a healthy diet would naturally lead to people eating fewer calories, and finding it easier to stick to healthy habits. The avocado is also low in carbs and high in fiber which are attributes that promote weight loss.

breezekohtao.com smashed avocadoAvocados can lower the risk of depression

Avocados contain 20% of your daily recommended amount of folate, a substance which may help to reduce your risk of suffering from depression. Folate does this by helping to prevent a build-up of homocysteine in the body.

A build-up of homocysteine can impair circulation and the delivery of nutrients to the brain as well as interfering with the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, all of which are involved in the regulation of mood, sleep and appetite.

Folate is also important for a healthy pregnancy. It has been shown that an adequate intake of folate can reduce the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.

People who eat avocados tend to be healthier

A study of the dietary habits of people who consume avocados showed that they tend to be healthier and have a higher nutrient intake. They are also half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms which make you high risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Avocado eaters also generally weigh less, have a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat than those who do not eat avocado. Although this correlation has been shown, it does not provide a guarantee that eating avocados causes better health.

breezekohtao.com avocado breakfast koh taoAvocados are delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet

Avocados can be combined successfully with many different foods, as well as being added to salads or scooped out and eaten plain. Their creamy, fat, rich texture blends very well with other ingredients making them an incredibly versatile food. They do need time to ripen and will feel slightly soft when they are ripe and ready to eat.

One such dish which shows how delicious and easy avocados are to use is our Smashed avocado and poached eggs. Generally eaten as a breakfast dish, it will provide you with a great intake of nutrients to start the day and will help to keep you feeling full for the morning,

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