If you care about your health, you already know how important it is to eat nutrient-dense foods. Some people will choose foods to promote heart health, others to protect against cancer. Yet others, trying to lose weight, will choose filling foods that balance intestinal flora, stabilize blood glucose, and increase satiety. Remarkably, they may all be eating the same fruit — avocado! You should join them.
How do avocados protect my heart and arteries?
Avocado safeguards your circulatory system in several ways:
- Avocado is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid (MUFA) also present in olive oil. Avocado’s oleic acid helps reduce blood pressure and increase heart-healthy HDL cholesterol (up to 11%). In addition, it helps cardiac muscle efficiently use dietary fat for energy.
- Avocado contains 7 grams of dietary fiber per 100 gram serving. The soluble fiber helps nourish intestinal bacteria, promote immune health, and reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the endothelium. Avocado’s insoluble fiber promotes lower LDL cholesterol (reducing readings up to 22%) and triglycerides (reducing them up to 20%).
- Avocado’s potassium— it’s a much richer source than bananas (100 grams contains 14% of the RDA) — helps keep blood pressure in check, thereby reducing the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
- Avocado stabilizes blood glucose and reduces hunger, so eating it regularly will help you reach and maintain a proper weight, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Avocado contains phytosterols and flavonoids that reduce oxidative stress on the heart specifically, and chronic inflammation systemically.
Amazing! What else can avocado do?
Avocado’s health benefits extend far beyond the cardiovascular system. Avocado contains a broad spectrum of antioxidants:
- Vitamin C (17% of the RDA per 100 gram serving)
- Vitamin E (10 % of the RDA in 100 grams)
- Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids essential for optimum retinal health (thereby reducing the risk of macular degeneration).
- α- and β- carotenes
Avocado’s fat content further boosts absorption of available antioxidants, in some cases more than 10-fold!
In addition to its antioxidants, avocado may help fight metabolic syndrome. In part, it’s protective effect stems from its fiber, but that’s not the whole story. Avocado also contains a sugar, mannoheptulose, which seems to down-regulate pancreatic secretion of insulin. Consequently, avocado’s unique combination of satisfying fats, mannoheptulose, low carbohydrate content (and low GL and GI values), and fiber make it an ideal food for managing blood glucose, losing visceral fat, and improving body composition.
Avocado is also an excellent source of three important B vitamins — B5, B6, and folate — with lesser amounts of B1, B2, and B3. A 100-gram serving also has more than 25% of the RDA of Vitamin K and trace amounts of several key minerals: manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
If you seek optimum health (and we all should), then adding avocado to your daily fare will take you a long ways toward achieving your goal. Next time you have your spinach salad, dice an avocado and add it along with some blueberries, sweet potato, and garbanzo beans. Yum! Live well, live long!
CATEGORIES: Diet, Fruit, Heart Health, Vitamins & Minerals, Superfood, Avocado, Healing