green avocados

Avocados have gained notoriety in America the last decade for being absolutely delicious. However, they also have some amazing health benefits that you may have never heard of. From being a healthy fat to protecting your eye health, avocados are a super fruit you need to keep on your menu.

What are avocados?

You might be surprised to learn that avocados are, in fact, a fruit. Avocados are considered to be a berry because it has a fleshy pulp and large single seed. It’s also considered a fruit because it is a product of a tree.  The first avocado tree originated in southern Mexico and Colombia about 7,000 years ago. It was once nicknamed “alligator pears” by English colonists due to their green, scale-like skin texture and pear shape.

What is the nutrition of an avocado?

According to the USDA, 100 grams of avocado will sport 160 calories, 15 grams of fat, 485 mg of potassium, and nine carbohydrates. It also has seven grams of fiber and less than one gram of sugar. It also is a great place to find Vitamin B-6. However, not all avocados are shaped the same way, so it is important to measure your servings with a food scale.

How can avocados help with heart health?

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is essential for good heart health. Avocados contain a plant chemical called beta-sitosterol which does just that. Additionally, the fat found in avocados is considered “good” or healthy fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids are shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). This is best when eaten in moderation in place of saturated or trans-fat.

Can avocados help with growth?

Do you kids low chowing down on avocados? The health benefits of avocados may help them, too. Studies have found that unsaturated fat is important for the growth and development of the brain and the central nervous system. Avocados contain 3.5 grams of unsaturated fat per 1 ounce serving, so it’s a great snack for your growing kids.

Are avocados good for weight loss?

The healthy fats found in avocados take longer for the body to digest, which leaves you feeling fuller and satisfied longer than other foods might. This can lead to less snacking throughout the day. Additionally, avocados are jam-packed full of nutrients and vitamins. When cutting calories, you may not be getting enough of the nutrients that you were before. Avocados are a great way to help with this issue, so your body gets all the vitamins it needs.

Can avocados help with blood-pressure?

Avocados are a great source of potassium. They have as much as one and a half large bananas. This nutrient is key in lowering high blood pressure naturally but is much neglected in the typical American diet. High potassium intake is also linked to lowering heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. Additionally, Avocados are free of sodium, which makes them a great addition to the DASH diet. Doctors prescribe the DASH diet to patients that need to help lower their blood pressure.

Do avocados have other nutrients?

Avocados are also a great source of Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B. These are all needed to keep your body running daily. However, when it comes to nutrients, it’s not all about your intake. It’s important that your body is able to absorb these nutrients too. Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized. Some studies have found that adding avocado can increase your vitamin absorption.

How do avocados help with eye health?

Avocados are high in the antioxidants carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health. Studies have found that these two antioxidants are linked to drastically reducing cataracts and macular degeneration risk. This is especially an issue as you age. Eating avocados young can be a great preventative measure.

Are there any downsides to eating avocados?

Like with any food, avocados should be eaten in moderation. Watching your caloric intake each day should help you decide how many avocados work with your diet a week. So other than allergenic concerns, there really is no reason anyone should be afraid of eating a diet high in avocados. There are very few dietary risks, so enjoy them to your heart's content.

Avocados have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients, making it incredibly easy to add to your diet. Using lemon juice may prevent cut avocados from browning quickly, so you don't have to waste so many. The bottom line is that avocados are an excellent food loaded with nutrients that most American's diets are lacking. Protect your heart and your waistline by adding avocados into your daily routine.

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