The Health Benefits of Eating Avocados
Someone told me recently that avocados may go extinct soon due to global warming. As someone who can eat avocados, specifically guacamole, everyday – and probably would if I had no self-control – I was horrified to hear this news! If in fact this proves to be true and avocados are wiped from the face of the earth, then we better reap all their benefits now before it is too late!
This superfood is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, heart-healthy fatty acids, fiber, and other amazing antioxidants. The health benefits of eating avocados range from weight loss to heart disease prevention. To learn more about the health benefits of eating avocados, read on!
Avocados Have 20 Different Vitamins and Minerals
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
- Folate: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
Out of the many beneficial vitamins and nutrients listed above, potassium is a nutrient most people do not consume enough. Since it maintains electrical gradients in the body’s cells, in addition to several other functions, potassium is important. In fact, studies show that a high potassium intake may reduce blood pressure, which can cause heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure.
In addition to potassium and the other nutrients mentioned, avocados contain small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin).
Avocados Have Heart-Healthy Oleic Acids
Avocados are a high fat food. To prove it, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
However, they don’t just contain any fat; it’s full of healthy fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid, which is the same monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil. Similar to olive oil, avocado oil is resistant to heat-induced oxidation. Therefore, it is a healthy and safe oil to use while cooking. More importantly, the oleic acid in both avocado and olive oil is linked to reduced inflammation and positively affects the genes linked to cancer.
And lastly, the fat in avocados help you absorb the nutrients of other foods! Some nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as some antioxidants, are fat soluble, meaning they need fat to by truly beneficial. That’s where avocados come in! Cut up an avocado and add it to your salad! It will maximize the nutritional value of the other plant foods in the salad!
Avocados Have Tons of Fiber
Although avocados contain nine grams of carbs, seven of those are fiber so there are only two “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food. Containing large amounts of fiber means that avocados contribute to weight loss, reduced blood sugar, and a lower risk of acquiring certain diseases.
Since fiber is filling, avocados prevent over-eating. Therefore, they are weight-loss friendly. In a study, where one group consumed avocados and the other didn’t, both groups answered questions about their satiety. Those who ate the avocado felt 23% more satisfied and were 28% less likely to want food over the next five hours.
Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat. Since cholesterol contributes to heart disease – the most common cause of death in America – avocados are a safe food to eat for those at risk of heart disease. Not only does avocado not contain cholesterol, but it lowers cholesterol, in addition to lowering triglycerides and blood pressure. In eight controlled trials, researchers split people into two groups – one group ate avocados while the other did not.
The effects of avocado on some of these risk factors has been studied in 8 human controlled trials. The studied had the following conclusions, claiming that avocados can:
- Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
- Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
- Increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.
Even though all of the studies were small (13-37 human subjects) and short-term (1-4 weeks), the results were impressive nonetheless.
Avocados Contain Powerful Antioxidants That Protect the Eyes
Avocados are a superfood for a reason! They are also high in antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin – both of which are important for eye health. According to research, these antioxidants reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Since cataracts and macular degeneration are common with age, it’s best to start eating avocados sooner rather than later. By doing so, you’ll reap their long term benefits.
Avocado Extract May Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis is a common problem for many people. Fortunately, studies have shown that extracts from avocado and soybean oil may reduce symptoms of arthritis of the bones, called osteoarthritis.
The health benefits of eating avocados are incredible. If you haven’t included them in your diet, what are you waiting for?!
In addition to improving your health with the addition of avocados, don’t forget to ensure you have the best available health insurance for you and your family!
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