From salads to toast toppings and dips, the all-rounder avocado is often touted as a health food and rightfully so.
Avocado contains close to 20 essential nutrients like Vitamin E, Potassium, Fiber, Folic Acid, B-Vitamins, Zinc and many other.
What a lot of people seem to love about avocado is its rich, creamy, velvety texture and mild flavour. The Persea Americana or avocado is a fruit that belongs to the family of Lauraceae – a plant family that also includes relatives such as cinnamon and laurel. There are many different types of avocado ranging in size, colour and texture. One thing that all varieties of avocado have in common is it’s nativeness to tropical climates. When harvested, the flesh gets a soft, buttery texture that has become extremely popular in everything from toast toppings to salads.
Here are 8 reason you should eat include more avocado in your diet:
1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Avocado contains high amounts of carotenoid antioxidants, including beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, lutein, neoxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and violaxanthin. It also contains minerals like zinc, manganese,and selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids. This makes avocado a highly anti-inflammatory fruit that reduces inflammation from physical activity and other degenerative disorders.
2. Good For Your Heart
Consuming high amounts of homocysteine (an amino acid that you mostly get from eating meat) is linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Avocado contains folic acid and vitamin B6, which are known to regulate homocysteine levels. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for contributing towards maintaining a healthy heart.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
Potassium is a key mineral that your body relies on heavily to function properly. It helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium (salt). Because of the high potassium content in avocados, only half a fruit gets you 10% of your daily potassium needs.
4. Lower Cholesterol Levels
Beta-sitosterol is a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and it’s found in avocados. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocado for just one week.
5. Helps With Nutrient Absorption
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. This is because carotenoids (a type of antioxidant) are better absorbed when consumed with fat (this is true of all fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals).
The study found that the addition of one avocado (150 g):
- Significantly increased beta-carotene absorption (6.6 times).
- More than quadrupled (4.8 times) alpha-carotene absorption.
- Significantly increased (12.6 times) the conversion of provitamin A (inactive vitamin form) to vitamin A (active vitamin form).
6. Improve Hormone Balance
Fatty acids are also involved in regulation of metabolism and mood, regulation of insulin sensitivity, as well as hormone production. In particular, essential fatty acids are very important for anabolic hormone production, decreasing inflammation and helping with protein breakdown. Essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) in their organic state can benefit you in numerous ways. One of these ways is improving the production of hormones – primarily anabolic hormones such as testosterone, cortisol, estrogen and progesterone. Avocado is high in fats, and yes those are the “good” fats.
7. Regulate Blood Sugar
The “good” fats (monounsaturated) found in avocados that we mentioned above can help in keeping your blood sugar in check by regulating insulin sensitivity. Another way that avocado helps to regulate blood sugar is through the high amounts of dietary fiber. This allows your body to increases the time between carbohydrates digestion, avoiding rapid spikes in blood sugar.
8. Antioxidant Central
By having a rich antioxidant profile avocado helps your body combat the free radicals that accumulate over time, even assisting with prevention of aging symptoms. The main antioxidant in avocados, glutathione can boost your immune system, slow aging process, and promotes a healthy nervous system.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 7th July, 2020.