When you think of Avocado, what comes to mind? A creamy, delightful fruit loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and good fats or do you think of avocados as adding needless calories to your diet? If you think the former, you’re absolutely right. Avocados are a nutritional powerhouse.
If you’re worried about the calories from adding avocados to your diet, don’t be. Studies have found that adding avocado to the diet helps improve their cholesterol levels and subjects were not found to gain weight when they ate 1/2 to 1 1/2 avocados a day to their regular diet. Avocados have a medium energy density and a fair bit of dietary fibre that might be enhancing satiety.
A study found that incorporating half an avocado in a meal increased satisfaction, decreased eating in obese adults, consequently lowering blood insulin levels.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at some other marvellous benefits avocados can provide us with:
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/Brain health. The high amounts of antioxidants and healthy fats may help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- High fibre content – High in fibre, with a medium avocado containing about 9g and larger avocados containing up to 13.5 g. The composition of fibre is both insoluble (70%)and soluble (30%). The fibre content helps promote a healthy digestive system and acts as a prebiotic (food) for good bacteria in the gut.
- Cholesterol- lowering – Avocados are the richest source of plant phytosterols, with about 57mg per half a fruit. Phytosterols in food sources may have cholesterol lowering and heart health promoting effects. Studies have found avocado consumption to be linked with significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Skin health – Avocados may reduce skin damage from UV radiation and protect skin with its wound-healing abilities. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two antioxidants which help protect the skin from UV radiation. Avocado has these antioxidants in a highly bioavailable form.
- Eye health – The bioavailable lutein and Zeaxanthin present in avocado may help protect eyes against damage from high-energy wavelength light. Lutein and zeaxanthin also help to slow down the progression of eye problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Cancer-fighting – Avocados contain high amounts of phytochemicals such as carotenoids, phenols, glutathione that are anti-carcinogenic. B-sitosterol, the phytosterol most abundant in avocados, has been shown to inhibit the production of carcinogenic compounds.
- Heart health – The versatile xanthophylls such as lutein and zeaxanthin help cause less damage to blood vessels by decreasing the amount of LDL cholesterol.
- Increases the absorption of other nutrients – Not only is avocado extremely nutritious on its own, it even helps increase the absorption of other nutrients due to the presence of the good fats (MUFA) in avocado. Vitamins and antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin are absorbed better when consumed along with avocado. β-carotenes are typically poorly converted to vitamin A, but avocados were found to improve the conversion and utilization to vitamin A.
- Lower risk of metabolic syndrome – Studies have found that the consumption of avocados is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, lower weight, BMI and waist circumference.
- Liver-supporting – Avocado has compounds that are potent suppressors of liver injury.