Mexico’s gift to the world, it’s the super food that flies off the shelves as quickly as it is stocked up. Avocados, originally cultivated in Mexico as early as 500BC, are not a new “fad” food, they are the real deal. When we speak about whole foods, avocados really do check off all the boxes. It even comes with its own packaging, in the form of its skin. They require no preservatives, flavor enhancers or processing to be enjoyed as a healthy addition to your diet. Containing little to no sugar (0.6g per half), and being full of phytonutrients, avocados pack a very nutrient dense punch! In a typical avocado, you’ll find magnesium, potassium (more than in a banana), folate, vitamin B6, and vitamins A, C, E, K!
The oil within an avocado consists of mainly heart healthy monounsaturated fats (71%), with polyunsaturated fat making up 13% and the rest saturated fats. As the avocado ripens, the level of saturated fat decreases and monounsaturated fat increases.
In terms of carbohydrates, 80% of the carbohydrates within an avocado are dietary fiber (of which 70% are insoluble, 30% are soluble). This means that half an avocado (7g of fiber) can make up 25% of the dietary recommendations for fiber (25g). With a glycemic load of an avocado estimated at zero, it is one of the lowest sugar fruits, making it a perfect keto-friendly food!
Avocados have demonstrated the ability to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. This plays a huge role in heart health, as lipid composition can greatly determine heart health, and having higher levels of HDL cholesterol and lower levels of LDL and triglycerides is correlated with a lesser risk of developing cardiovascular heart disease (CHD).
With huge links to better diet quality, nutrient intake and lower metabolic syndrome, avocados can be associated with improved weight management, hunger reduction, increased satiation, and reduced post-prandial blood glucose levels.
Lutein and other bioactive chemicals within avocados are associated with eye health, and levels of these chemicals decrease as we grow older. The combination of monounsaturated fats and these certain bioactive chemicals suggest that nutrients found within avocados can contribute to key mechanisms that support eye health.
This super fruit even has its place in your skin care routine. Eating half an avocado per day can be great for your skin, due to the many bioactive compounds, such as lutein. Lutein’s anti-oxidant capacity acts to protect the skin by filtering high-energy wavelengths of ultra-violet (UV) light, reducing the oxidative damage caused. This, along with the oily monounsaturated fats found in avocados, makes avocados a great addition to any lifestyle.
Great research is ongoing looking at the relation between anti-carcinogens and avocados. With many bio-active phytochemicals—which have been reported to have anti-carcinogenic properties, the concentrations look to be great enough to support this mechanism. Although the studies are currently in the preliminary stages.
Avocados are a staple within the ketogenic diet, but not just due to its high fat content. Avocados have many health benefits and, with their high concentration of valuable nutrients and partitioning of fats, an avocado a day may well keep the doctor away.
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