THERE IS MUCH MORE TO AVOCADOS THAN GUACAMOLE!

The humble avocado is a rather unique fruit. It is actually a large berry that belongs to the cinnamon family. Fruits are usually high in carbohydrates, but this fruit is high in healthy fats. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin C and potassium. They are actually classified as a protein.

Avocados are incredibly nutritious and a wonderful health food, containing all the essential amino acids and health promoting essential-fatty acids. They have excellent levels of magnesium, calcium, as well as B-vitamins and are alkaline forming too.

Many people tend to avoid avocados because of their high caloric and fat content, but this is more than compensated for by all the positive properties of this versatile fruit. In a recent study published in the Nutrition Journal, it was established that not only are avocados high in nutrients, but the consumption of avos has been linked to a lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumference, higher good cholesterol limits, as well as lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

AVO-FACTS

Avocados are one of the best sources of omega-3. Omega 3 is essential for healthy cell membranes. These fatty acids are powerful antioxidants and constitute a crucial part of your skin’s lipid (fat) content, which improves the barrier function, sealing in the moisture and keeping out irritants.

Avocados contain more potassium than bananas. Potassium is a nutrient that most individuals simply don’t get enough of. It helps maintain the electrical gradients in the cells of the body and serves a number of important functions. Having a good potassium intake is closely linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major factor for heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure.

Avocados are overflowing with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. 77% of the calories in avocados come from fats. Fats are vital in our diet. An average avocado contains about 30g of total fats, 23% of which comes from its health promoting omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

The majority of this fat content is oleic acid. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid. It is the main component of olive oil and it is believed to have many favorable properties, such as a link to reducing inflammation.

Avocados contain plenty of fiber. Fiber is plant material that is largely indigestible and can assist in giving the feeling of being full when eaten. It contributes to weight loss and can reduce blood sugar spikes because it slows down digestion and absorption of nutrients. Fiber also helps with constipation and is linked to lowering the risk of numerous diseases.

Avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation and blood pressure, amongst other factors, are responsible for heart disease which is perhaps the most common cause of deaths globally. Studies have indicated that individuals who consume avocados regularly enjoy:

  • Reduced cholesterol levels quite substantially
  • Reduced blood triglycerides by up to 20%
  • Reduced LDL cholesterol by up to 22%
  • Increase in good cholesterol (HDL) by up to 11%

Avocados contain wonderful antioxidants – great for protecting the eyes. When eaten as part of your normal diet, avocados increase the absorption of antioxidants from other foods. They are high in antioxidants themselves, including Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are both vital for eye health. These nutrients are linked to a drastic reduction of the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration common in the elderly. Eating avocados should result in long-term benefits for eye health.

Individuals who regularly include avos in their diet tend to be a lot healthier than those who do not. These individuals have a much higher nutrient absorption and are unlikely to suffer from metabolic syndrome – a cluster of symptoms that constitutes a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

An avocado a day may keep the doctor at bay – and in South Africa we are fortunate to have avocados almost all year round.