7 Healthy Reasons To Eat Avocados
Once dismissed as a fat-food, avocados are now highly prized as one of the healthiest food known to humankind. Their immense popularity has earned them the title "olive oil of the Americas," and "America's new favorite fruit."
Avocados are native to South America but commercially grown all over the world due to their growing demand. The tropical evergreen avocado tree grows in warmer climates and produces a highly versatile creamy-buttery fruit. The peak season is from the late winters to early spring when you will get the best and cheapest of this fruit. As the fruit ripens, it gets softer, with the skin color changing from yellowish green to dark green. Because of its shape and dark green skin, it's also called the alligator pear. There are numerous varieties of avocados - Bacon, Hass, Gwen, Pinkerton, Fuerte, Reed, varying in size and oil content, with the Hass variety being the most popular.
1. Avocados are highly nutritious
Avocados are very rich in nutrients. They contain more than 20 essential micronutrients, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, K, C, E, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate, zinc, phosphorus. They are a great source of proteins, fiber, healthy fats, and are a low-carb food. Avocado contains more potassium than bananas, which are typically considered a rich source of this nutrient.
2. Avocados improve eyesight
As we age, free radicals damage our eyes and cause eye cataract, macular degeneration, lessened vision, and other eye-related diseases. Consuming avocados can protect your eyes and actually improve your vision. They are rich in antioxidants - lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are known to protect the eyes from age-related degeneration. A 2017 study found avocados to increase macular pigment density in aged individuals.
3. An avocado a day takes care of your heart
Since potassium helps keep the blood pressure to healthy levels and avocados are so rich in potassium, it's the food close to your heart. This superfood is also rich in folate - a nutrient that prevents heart attacks and protects the heart from many diseases.
4. Avocados can lower cholesterol
Avocados are high in the monosaturated fatty acids(oleic acid) that regulate cholesterol levels. According to a 1992 study conducted on people with high cholesterol, eating avocados can help increase good cholesterol while decreasing bad cholesterol. Numerous studies over the years conducted on healthy volunteers have established the fact that including avocados in the diet can significantly improve the cholesterol profile and lower blood triglyceride levels. However, all these studies investigated only the short-term effect.
5. Avocados boost nutrient absorption
The fat content of avocados helps in better nutrient absorption from foods. Some antioxidants and micronutrients are fat-soluble. For example, carotenoids(antioxidants) and vitamins A, D, E, K are fat-soluble, which means they need to be taken with fats to get fully absorbed by the body. According to a study, when volunteers added 2.5 tbsp of avocado oil to their salad, they absorbed 13 times more beta-carotene! Now, that's a wonderful finding, considering the fact that our body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A.
6. Avocados boost digestion
This wonder food is a rich source of dietary fiber. 100 gm of avocados contain about 7 gm of fiber, and this makes 27% of our daily recommended dose. Dietary fiber is the indigestible matter of food. It does not provide any nutrition, nonetheless, very important for digestion as it binds the food for smooth movement in the digestive tract. Unfortunately, it is one of the scarce nutrients missing from most of our diets. The fiber-rich avocado boosts digestion, keeps the digestive tract healthy, prevents constipation and diarrhea, and promotes regular bowel movements. It also helps in weight loss as it increases satiety from food.
7. Avocados help in pregnancy
Folate and potassium are important nutrients during pregnancy. They keep the fetus healthy and reduce the chances of miscarriage. Avocados are rich sources of both these nutrients, which makes it a go-to food for pregnant women. Since they are rich in fiber, they may also lessen digestive problems encountered during this time to some extent.