Food Facts Friday: Why We Love AvocadosArticle posted in: Nutrition
The avocado has developed a following that is likely here to stay due to its immensely tasty and versatile form, but also because of its high nutritional content. Once you pierce that tough-textured skin, avocados reveal a smooth, green and soft inside which is just as nutrient-dense as it is delicious. This superfood is full of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants that can greatly benefit your health.
This pear-shaped green fruit is fiercely popular in many diets because it yields a tasty flesh which can be easily spread on your toast or simply sliced in your salad. Avocados are also known to be rich in protein, potassium and healthy fats that are just as good for your heart as they are for your skin.
Read on to find out seven reasons you need to incorporate avocados into your daily diet:
1. Avocados have high fiber and protein content to assist weight loss.
Avocados are a great food to include in your diet if you are trying to slim down. California avocados have about 227 calories total and that’s more than most of us will eat in a sitting. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says around a 1/5 of an avocado is a serving (30 grams) with around 50 calories. With each serving, you’ll enjoy .6 grams of protein and about 2 grams of fiber. This dense fiber and protein content will fill you up and regulate your blood sugar. Studies published in the Nutrition Journal showed individuals who regularly consumed avocados had smaller waists, lower BMI’s and a 50 percent lower chance of developing a metabolic syndrome than those who avoided the fruit.
2. They also include fatty acids to fight heart disease and lower cholesterol.
Avocados are high in fat, but the good kinds of monounsaturated fats including high amounts of linoleic and oleic acids which have tons of disease-fighting power. Research done by the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that the inclusion of just one avocado per day in the diet has positive effects on cardiovascular risk factors. Fatty acids are also linked to reducing inflammatory disease and other chronic illnesses. The high vitamin C content in avocados can also help prevent disease and improve the function of the immune system.
A study published in the Archives of Medical Research showed adults who consumed avocado-enriched diets had a significant decrease in their total cholesterol by 17% and an increase of good cholesterol by 11%. High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease, so enjoying avocado regularly can lead to a heart-healthy lifestyle!
3. Avocados are high in potassium to reduce fatigue and benefit blood pressure.
With more potassium than a banana, the avocado is a great choice for the 98 percent of Americans who are potassium deficient. The Mayo Clinic describes the effects of potassium deficiency as weakness, fatigue and constipation. If you feel tired or feeble all the time, you may want to carve an avocado and use it to help you stabilize your blood sugar which can prevent that burnt-out, mid-day feeling. With around 152 mg. of potassium per serving and a low sodium content, avocados are the perfect candidate to promote blood pressure control, according to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The potassium content in avocados also offers other positive effects such as reduced bone loss and a lowered risk for kidney stones and stroke.
4. They are high in folate and vitamin B for improved sleep and better moods.
Many studies have shown links between folate deficiency and depression. Poor moods and sleep issues can also be caused by a lack of folate in the diet which can be overcome with some delightful avocado toast. The high amounts of folate and B6 in avocado can help you regulate your moods and enjoy better sleep. Vitamin B also helps to improve the functions of the brain that regulate sleep, melatonin production and the circadian cycle—your internal clock—which can improve your sleep cycle leading to better concentration and moods throughout the day.
5. Avocados are full of essential vitamins to promote healthy skin and hair.
The high amounts of vitamins C and E found in avocados can improve signs of aging by enhancing your hair and skin. Vitamin C is known for improving immune function and preventing disease, but it’s also one of the best antioxidants for your skin offering advanced healing and aiding in the production of collagen—which is essential for hair growth and firm skin. Vitamin E is also beneficial to your skin because it fights the harmful free radicals in the body responsible for aging your skin.
Vitamin C can also contribute to cardiovascular health as well as improve cholesterol levels. The high amounts of fatty acids in avocados not only make your hair shiny but also act as a moisturizer for your skin—settling into the top layer to keep it looking plump, youthful and glowing—while preventing the onset of wrinkles. Your skin and hair care routine never tasted so good!
6. They have an abundance of antioxidants to enhance vision and nutrient absorption.
Rich with antioxidants, avocados offer some awesome anti-aging benefits for your eyes. Studies published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science Journal have shown a link between lutein (prevalent antioxidant in avocados) and the protection of eyes from some forms of visible light. This leads to a reduced risk for macular degeneration and even cataracts, meaning you’ll maintain better vision for longer. The antioxidants contained in avocados can also improve bad breath by killing the bacteria in your mouth causing halitosis.
Not only do avocados contain some powerful antioxidants including high amounts of carotenoids, but they also enhance your body’s ability to absorb antioxidants from other foods you eat. Some nutrients are fat soluble meaning they require the presence of fat to be properly utilized by the body. The high content of fatty acids in avocado makes it easier for your body to absorb and use the nutrients in other foods you eat thus massively increasing your intake of healthy essential vitamins and minerals!
7. Raw avocados are easy to eat in a variety of ways.
While most of us are perfectly fine to enjoy avocado all on its own, the versatility of these fruits makes them feel more like a vegetable since they complement a variety of savory flavors. Halving avocados is a great idea in order to reap all of the benefits they have to offer without overdoing your allotted serving size on the South Beach Diet. Half of an avocado counts as one Healthy Fat on our keto friendly program. Mixing avocado with egg whites or even throwing some in a smoothie are also delicious ways to create a nutrient-rich meal. You can even go with a classic guacamole dip to enjoy avocados in one of their most beloved forms. Whichever way you prefer, eating a slice or more of avocado a day can improve your overall health in a variety of ways.