Even though it seems like a vegetable, avocados are really fruits. These special fruits are high in nutrients and have a rich creamy texture. That’s one reason that you can mash avocado butter, mayonnaise, eggs, oil sour cream and shortening. In fact, vegans often use avocados as substitutes for these ingredients. Hass avocados—the most popular kind—received a nickname of alligator pear, since their skin looks like the skin of the alligator and some are shaped like a pear. Avocados contain vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E, plus folate, potassium, fiber, healthy fat and many other minor amounts of nutrients.
The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados make it heart healthy.
Avocados are loaded with calories, but 77% of those calories come from healthy fat. In fact, it’s one of the plants that contains the most fat. The fat is healthy oleic acid, which is monounsaturated and also what makes olive oil healthy. Oleic acid can help reduce inflammation, plus may be beneficial for preventing cancer. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, the temperature when the oil breaks down and actually has negative health affects. Because it’s beneficial for cooking and is high in oleic acid, it’s heart healthy, too.
Eating more fiber can help you lose weight, stay regular and healthier.
Avocados are loaded with fiber. Fiber can help control blood sugar levels, reducing spikes that can contribute to many diseases. It contains 75% insoluble fiber that fills you up and adds bulk to your stool so it passes easier and 25% soluble fiber that feeds friendly bacteria in your gut. Increasing fiber content of your diet can also help you lose weight, which is another reason eating avocados are a good thing. Even though they have fat, which increases calories, fat helps keep you fuller. Eating avocados help increases the amount of adiponectin in the body, a fat-burning hormone that boost metabolism.
The antioxidants in avocados can provide protection for the eyes.
Avocados are high in antioxidants, while also boosting the absorption of antioxidants in other foods you eat. The antioxidants in avocados include lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that provide a great deal of protection for the eyes. Consuming more of these antioxidants is linked to lower risks of serious eye conditions in seniors, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
- While bananas are known for their potassium, avocados actually contain more. A single serving of bananas contain 10% of your daily requirement for potassium, while the same serving size of avocado contains 14%.
- Adding avocados to your salads may improve the absorption of the nutrients in the other ingredients. When you eat a plant based food, your body doesn’t get the benefits unless it can absorb the nutrients. Adding avocado or using avocado can increase the amount of absorbed nutrients significantly.
- Avocados may help prevent the side effects of chemotherapy and even provide benefits for preventing some types of cancer, like prostate cancer.
- Unsaponifiables—extracts from soybean and avocado may help reduce the pain from osteoarthritis. While there’s study using these oil extracts, to date there are no studies using the whole avocado.
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