Fooled by its green look and subtle savory taste? Let’s check what makes Avocado a super fruit? Avocados are considered super fruit because they are nutrient dense. They contain over 25 essential nutrients, including fiber, good fats such as omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin A, E & C to name a few. This super food was once considered not so healthy because of its high fat content. A medium sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat. Here are 10 health benefits of avocados:
Avocados are a good source of vitamin E, monounsaturated fat and Glutathione, all these help in protecting your heart. Avocados are rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help control homo-cysteine levels.
Avocado is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 fatty acids. These types of fats help control triglycerides levels, lower cholesterol and control diabetes. Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, which is a plant sterol similar in structure to cholesterol. Beta-sitosterol takes the place of dietary cholesterol in the intestines, therefore inhibiting absorption of the cholesterol in our food. This in turn, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.
A study was done on patients with slightly elevated cholesterol levels, who added avocados to their diet for 7 days had a:
17% decrease in total blood cholesterol
22% decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides
11% increase in HDL (good cholesterol)
The potassium in avocados help control blood pressure levels. One medium avocado contains roughly 700 mg of potassium.
Inflammation has been thought to be the initiating source of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Avocados are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, which are phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory qualities, therefore lowering the risk of inflammatory conditions.
Our eyes, like other parts of our body are susceptible to oxidative damage. Lutein is a carotenoid that can filter harmful light and acts as an antioxidant in the eye, therefore protecting against age-related cataracts. Avocados are a valuable source of lutein.
Pregnant women are encouraged to take pre-natal vitamins to ensure good intake of folic acid (a B vitamin). Avocados are high in folate, where one cup provides roughly 23% of the recommended daily intake. Folate is very necessary in the prevention of birth defects. A regular intake of folate also helps lower the risk of stroke.
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, found in avocados. It is also found in olive oil. Evidence from studies show that oleic acid is useful in preventing the growth of prostate and breast cancer.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. Avocados are a rich source of glutathione. This in turn also helps fight cancer, along with oleic acid.
Free radicals often cause damage to our cells, and thereby accelerating the aging process. Avocados can be effective in limiting the aging symptoms, due to their abundance in antioxidants. Therefore, consuming avocados may improve the immune system, delay the aging process, and promote a strong nervous system.
Indigested food in the gut can decompose, producing various foul gases. These gases make their way up and are released through the mouth. This is one of the causes of bad breath. Avocados naturally and effectively clean the intestines, and minimize bad breath.
Try avocado, this Mexican origin vegetable in your sandwich, salad, salsa, as a topping for your soups or stews or even with a slice of bread for your breakfast. We can even make a paratha with avocado!. Mix a ripe avocado with the chapatti dough with some seasonings like turmeric and chili powder. Let it stand for few minutes. Roll out to a paratha and cook both sides with a little bit of vegetable oil. Serve hot with your favorite dal or vegetable curry. The new saying an avocado a day keeps the doctor at bay.
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By Pragya Sinha