Avocado is actually a stone fruit. Its creamy, green meat offers approximately 20 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t let its fat content concern you. Every cell in our body needs fat. And healthy fat in moderation can boost the immune system. There are five benefits to eating this fatty fruit. Yes, consider healthy fat in moderation to be your friend and ally.
Dr. Josh Axe deems it “one of the top five healthiest foods on the planet.” Avocado has the highest protein, yet lowest sugar of any fruit. A whole avocado contains anywhere from 200 to 300 calories, but those calories are packed with vitamins K, C, E and B, lutein, potassium, and beta-carotene. Here are the reasons you’ll benefit from eating this unusual fruit!
1. Avocados protect your eye health. They contain lutein which is an antioxidant known as a “protector of eye health.” Lutein is deposited in the retina and protects the eye from free radicals while filtering out harmful UV rays and encouraging the regeneration of healthy eye cells. This helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Avocados help maintain a healthy heart. They contain a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol which has been shown to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The healthy fats in avocados raise your good (HDL) cholesterol and help clear out your bad cholesterol. Avocados contain many nutrients that benefit the heart including potassium which helps lower blood pressure.
3. Avocados help control diabetes. They contain healthy fats and soluble fiber and both are blood sugar stabilizers. The fat in avocados won’t spike your blood sugar, and they are low in carbs. The monounsaturated fat in avocados can also help your body utilize insulin more effectively.
4. Avocados increase nutrient absorption. They contain nutrients that are fat soluble, which means they need to be eaten with fat to be absorbed. Since they are full of healthy fats, it increases nutrient absorption from the avocado itself and the other foods you eat. This nutrient boosting power is the reason I add half a fresh or frozen avocado to my daily smoothie.
5. Avocados may prevent cancer. They contain vitamin C, E and folate plus actual plant chemicals that may prevent cancer. Folate has been shown to protect against cancer. Phytochemicals extracted from avocado can inhibit the growth of precancerous and cancer cells and cause the death of cancer cells while encouraging the growth of immune system cells called lymphocytes. The carotenoid antioxidants are a great way to prevent prostate and skin cancers.
Avocados can be used as a fat replacement in baking, placed on top of a salad or soup, mashed for baby food, or used to make guacamole. Its insoluble fiber fills your belly and bulks up the stool so you can eliminate with ease. It can also support brain function and healthy memory in adults and children. Due to its high calories, ½ to one whole avocado daily is the recommended limit.
Unfortunately, this healthy food is high on the FODMAP for those people with certain gastrointestinal diseases. And with its high vitamin K content, individuals on blood thinning medications must exercise caution.
All I can say is, “Pass the guacamole, please!” I could eat the whole bowl. Barely a day goes by that this luscious green meat escapes the jaw of this health nut.
How many of you use this gift of nature in your daily lives? What recipes can you share?
For Your Health,
PS . . . Stay with me folks. I’m building up to something big. After a few more superfoods, I’ll give you a mouthwatering, smoothie recipe that contains up to eight superfoods. Alton and I drink this concoction almost everyday as a meal replacement.