Eating healthy has become somewhat of a fashion staple these days. With social media ranking high on individuals with a penchant for being spotted at organic restaurants and frozen yogurt stores, healthy eating has turned into a true fad. This is a great thing for people in general, as we all know how important it is to maintain a clean eating lifestyle. One of the ways to keep diets clean is by eating more raw fruits. There are plenty of fruits out there that have different benefits, but there is one that stands above many fruits when it comes to the healthy scale, and that is the avocado.
The avocado tree is native to Mexico, but it grows in many other subtropical parts of the world. It is also known by other names such as alligator pear, and the fruit of the tree is actually considered a part of the berry family only larger and containing one seed. The fruit’s rind is greenish in color, and it has a yellowish green flesh. The avocado fruit is commercially harvested without letting it ripen completely, and it is usually consumed when it is has just ripen. Avocados have been part of the cuisines of many different cultures throughout the world and history. For the longest time, avocados have been declared unhealthy due to their high fat content. However, more recent research has suggested that avocado is in fact healthy for everyone and for many reasons as well. Here are some of the reasons why avocados are healthy for you.
Its many health properties have allowed the avocado to be known as a superfood in its own right. A single avocado is packed with good flavor along with so many different nutrients. This includes a total of 20 vitamins and minerals. Some examples include vitamins C, B5, B6, E, and K, folate, magnesium, and iron among others. They are also rich in potassium, even more than the more famous banana fruit. Potassium helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and also with maintaining healthy electrical gradients in the body’s cells.
Many people still do not understand the fact that there are different types of fats, and that not all fats are bad. Avocados are considered one of the fattiest foods around since more than ¾ of its caloric content comes from fat. It’s a good thing, though, since the avocado’s fat content is the good kind. Majority of the fat in avocados is called oleic acid, the same one that comes in olive oils. Oleic acid is considered a monounsaturated fatty acid known to be a major component to keeping the heart healthy. It is also known to reduce inflammation.
Fiber is another nutrient that many people forget to incorporate in their diet. All vegetables and fruit contain some amount of fiber. However, avocados contain a relatively larger than usual amount of fiber when compared to other fruits. One 3.5 ounce serving of the fruit contains roughly 7 grams of fiber. This is important in keeping the digestive parts of the body stay healthy and functioning optimally. The avocado contains both soluble and insoluble fiber types—both important and both with its own benefits. Soluble fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, while insoluble fiber helps keep regular bowel movements.
Probably one of the more important benefits of eating avocado is its role in disease prevention. Avocados have long been known to help reduce the body’s total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels. This is especially important in maintaining a healthy heart and staving of heart disease. Avocados may also help in preventing some forms of cancer growth, especially in prostate cancer. They may also help the body in absorbing and reducing some chemotherapy side effects. In addition, some studies have shown that avocado oil may help in the relief of some of the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Avocados have become great options for maintaining a weight-loss diet because of its many properties. As already discussed, the avocado fruit is rich in fiber. Besides its many digestive benefits, an avocado can help stomachs feel full longer and stave off hunger as well. Because of this, keeping calories to a minimum becomes easier to achieve. In addition, avocados are also low in carbohydrates, which is great in weight loss.
How to prepare avocados
Avocados have a creamy and naturally rich taste, so they go well with many things. One of the most famous recipes for avocado is the guacamole, which also includes other fresh ingredients such as lime, onions, tomatoes, salt, and garlic. Avocadoes can also be integrated with all sorts of salads. They can be great additions to plain leafy salads or even dressed up with some fresh, raw tuna, a spritz of lime, a drizzle of oil, and some salt and pepper.
Avocados can also be great in smoothies or milkshakes. A little spoonful of honey or some chocolate powder can add just the right amount of sweetness while keeping it healthy. Also, avocados can be just as refreshing scooped straight from the rind. A little sprinkle of sugar or any other flavor will go well with a spoonful of plain avocado.
All in all, avocados are definitely a healthy option and are great additions to any diet staple. Their versatility combined with their great taste makes them easy to incorporate to any menu. Avocados have proven to be just as good as any other greens in the grocery aisle, and their health benefits do more than just help people lose weight; they can prevent diseases and keep bodies in optimal shape as well. Much like the good old apple, an avocado a day can very much keep the doctor away.
Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties, per 100 grams. 2013. NutritionData.com.
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Zeldes, L.A. 2010. Eat this! The ‘Hass’ avocado, black and green and creamy. Dining Chicago. Chicago’s Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc.