Avocado, also known as Alligator Pear, is an incredible Superfood. They are typically grown in warm climates such as South America, Mexico and USA and available in many varieties – Hass (the most common one), Fuerto, Zutano, Bacon, Gwen or Reed. These varieties can differentiate in shapes, colours and weights (e.g. Hass Avocado – oval shape, pale green, 140g-340g).
How to choose your Avocado?
When buying your avocado, check if they are ripe by gently pressing into the skin. If the avocado is firm leave it to ripen for a few more days before consuming or buying. To speed up the process of ripening, you can simply put the avocado in a paper bag with a banana or an apple outside of the fridge. If the avocado presents any dark spots in its flesh make sure to remove them before consuming.
16 Health Benefits of Eating Avocado:
1. High in Antioxidants
Avocados are high in antioxidants and they also help to improve antioxidants absorption.
2. Improves Eyes Health
Avocados are rich in Lutein and Zeaxathin which helps to support eye health by reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. High in “Good” Fats
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats (omega 3, 6 and 9), specially oleic acid (omega-9). They have been shown to help to reduce inflammation, have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer, diabetes, etc. Its fats also help to increase absorption of fat soluble nutrients (vitamin A, D, E and K, antioxidants such as alpha & beta-carotene and lutein)
4. Highly Nutritious
Avocados contain great amounts of: Vitamin K, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.
They also contain (but in smaller amounts) Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B3.
5. Supports blood sugar levels
Avocado is a low GI fruit. Even though it contains about 17 grams of carbohydrates, only 1g is sugar and 13g are fiber . Also, along side to the fiber, the good fats from avocados help to slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar, which helps to maintain blood sugar levels stable.
6. Boost Immune System
Avocados are a great source of B vitamins, vitamins C, vitamin E and glutathione which help you to boost your immune system.
7. Improves Digestion
About 75% of the fibers found in avocados are insoluble. Insoluble fiber adds bulk, then helping to increase the frequency of the bowel movement/elimination.
8. Helps to maintain a health weight
Avocados may help to maintain a healthy weight as they are high in fiber, low in sugar and a great source of good fats.
Fibers have the ability to keep you feeling full for longer period of time plus helping your body to maintain a stable blood sugar level.
Also, when eating good fats, they send a signal to your brain that turn off your appetite, helping you with your Intuitive Eating by making you fell satisfied with your food and consequently you will not over eat.
9. Helps to regulate Blood Pressure
Avocados have more potassium than bananas. Studies say that high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart diseases.
10. Helps to lower cholesterol
Avocados are a great source of natural plant sterols. Regular consumption of plant sterols and “good fats” help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels – by reducing total cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (“bad”) and increasing HDL cholesterol (“good”).
Avocado acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, due to its “good” fats, fiber and antioxidants, which helps to relieve symptoms of arthritis.
12. Helps to Prevent Osteoporosis
Half of an avocado provides approximately 25% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin K. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for bone health which helps to increase calcium absorption and reduce urinary excretion of calcium.
13. Nourishes the Skin
Avocados are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and healthy fats which are great to keep skin nourished, glowing and acts as anti-ageing.
14. Helps with Depression
Avocados have high levels of folic acid which may help to decrease the risk of depression as folic acid helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine is linked to decreased circulation and consequently decreased delivery of nutrients to the brain. It also interferes with the production of some hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine – which regulate mood, sleep and appetite.
15. Help to Prevent Cancer
As mentioned in the number 14, avocados are great source of folic acid. Low levels of folic acid have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Studies show that when having a good intake of folic acid from food, it can help to protect against colon, stomach and pancreatic cancers. Scientists don’t know the reason behind it but they believe that folic acid protects our DNA and RNA against mutation during the cell division.
16. Helps to Support a Healthy Pregnancy
Again folic acid shows its extremely importance, but this time is regarding to a healthy pregnancy. Folic Acid helps to reduce the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects (e.g. Spina Bifida). It’s also very important for the sperm’s health which is as important to have a healthy baby.
Add Avocados to:
Avocados are a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches or smoothies, to make guacamole and dips or eaten on its own. Also, they are an amazing healthy substitute for butter or oils in your baking recipes.
*Allergy to avocado is not common but it is possible, and it is normally associated to latex allergies.
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