An Avocado a Day…
By Anna Hunt
If you ask your friends if an avocado is a fruit or vegetable they may not know, but they’ll probably be able to tell you that avocados are high in fat. This fact about the mild-flavored green fruit (yes, avocados are fruits, or more specifically large berries) has given avocados a bad rap as a contributor to obesity, but is this really the case?
Avocados are a very healthy and nutritious food. They are rich in 13 vitamins (A, C, D, E, K, E and 8 types of B vitamins including B-6, B-12 and folate), and are packed full of other nutrients such as potassium, lutein, monosaturated fats and antioxidants. And since avocados can be eaten raw, baked, made into delicious dips and soups, or even blended into your morning green smoothie, avocados really are a tasty and versatile way to boost your health.
Here is a short list of just some of the benefits of regularly including avocados in your diet:
- The abundance of monounsaturated fats in avocados help lower cholesterol. This is the ‘good kind of fat.’
- With 30% more potassium than bananas, avocados help regulate blood pressure and prevent circulatory disease.
- Avocadoes are high in florine, which is used by the body to create hard surfaces on teeth and in bones. Florine also helps protect the body from viruses and germs.
- The lutein content of avocados will aid in eye health, protecting the eyes from oxidative stress, macular degeneration (loss of central vision) and cataracts.
- Studies have shown that eating avocados can inhibit growth of cancerous cells, such as ones leading to oral cancer. Avocados contain phytonutrients that are beneficial in preventing prostate cancer, as well as oleic acid that is effective in preventing breast cancer.
- Avocados are effective in stopping bad breath!
- Rich in antioxidants such as glutathione, avocadoes encourage a healthy nervous system and boost the immune support system.
- The high folate content of avocadoes aids in brain and tissue development, especially during stages of rapid cell growth. This makes them an ideal food for pregnant women. Being high in folate but low in complex carbohydrates makes avocados also good for infants 6 months or older.
- Vitamin E in avocados helps protect the skin from free radicals.
- The nutrients and enzymes of avocados ease digestion issues by soothing the lining of the stomach and small intestines, and thus allowing the body to absorb carotenoids and nutrients from our food.
- Avocado is a yin fruit. It helps build red-blood cells as it is rich in copper. It also harmonizes several organs, including the liver, lungs and intestines.
So what about this business avocados being fattening?
Yes, it is true that avocados have a high fat content of about 30 grams of fat in a medium size avocado (similar fat content to a regular fast food burger).
But there’s good news! Avocados contain the “good” monounsaturated fat that is easily digested and assimilated into the human body. Since our bodies know what to do with monounsaturated fat, it is quickly turned into raw energy and used efficiently by the body. And for a touch of irony, avocados also contain the enzyme lipase, which is complimentary to weight loss because it breaks down fat that is already stored in the body.
So next time someone mentions to you that avocados are fattening, share what you know about this magical fruit. Enjoy tasty avocado meals often, and your body will thank you for it.
Also, have a look at some of these fantastic avocado products!
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods – Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. 2002.
Anna Hunt is an entrepreneur, writer and yoga instructor. Her company Pura Vida Yoga Vacations organizes Yoga retreats in Costa Rica.