What is the story behind avocados? Are they really that good for you or is it all hype? Should you overcome your reluctance to eat something pale green?
If you love avocados, you know they are luscious fruits with a smooth creamy texture. You also know that avocados seem to be showing up practically everywhere. Use mashed avocados in place of mayonnaise.
Add avocados to brownies and smoothies for better health. Make your own avocado gelato. Fry them. Even turn them into daiquiris. Spread them on your face. If you can imagine it, there is probably a recipe online for it.
Read on to find out whether or not the press that avocados get is real. You might be amazed.
You’ll be Healthier
Avocados are nutritional powerhouses. In one avocado, you get it all. (You should eat only 1/3, but who stops there?)
3 grams of protein
12 grams of carbs (9 of those are soluble fiber)
24 grams of healthy fat
6% RDA iron, phosphorous, zinc
12% RDA Vitamin C, thiamin, magnesium, manganese
18% RDA Vitamin E, niacin, B6
24% RDA Riboflavin
30% RDA Vitamin K, folic acid, copper
45% RDA Pantothenic acid
What does this mean?
Worried about your heart? Eat avocados to lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides and slow development of arterial plaque, reduce chances of abnormal heart rhythm and heart attack and stroke. In fact, an avocado a day may reduce the chance of sudden cardiac death.
Avocados are full of oleic acid, a healthy fat that most people don’t get enough of. Cooking with avocado oil is very healthy as well since avocado fat doesn’t oxidize in heat – a process that makes oil potentially toxic.
Despite the high fat content of avocados, eating them can help you lose weight. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber feeds your gut bacteria, keeping them happy and healthy so they work extra hard for you.
It slows down the passage of food, so you better absorb nutrition. They also control blood sugar spikes, so your body doesn’t store fat as readily.
Just don’t overdo the chips with your guacamole. Use vegetables for extra weight loss.
Better Eye Sight
Avocados contain two very important carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are antioxidants that remove free radicals from your body (free radicals are created during every day activities). Both lutein and zeaxanthin are necessary for eye health. These two carotenoids work well separately but work even better together.
They are the only carotenoids that collect in the macula, an area of the eye essential for vision. Studies show a strong link between a reduction in cataract formation and macular degeneration.
Avocados may help prevent cancer. In the lab, avocados are shown to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells. They also appear to reduce chemotherapy side effects. While both of these have been in test tubes, the antioxidants and healthy fats might just be able to help you fight cancer and chemotherapy side effects.
In addition, lutein and zeaxanthin may protect your skin from UV rays (but you still need sunscreen!) and may repair damage to your skin.
Arthritis is a catch-all term for joint pain. There are more than 100 types, but they all involve joint stiffness, pain, and decreased range of motion. Avocados are high in Vitamin E. Vitamin E decreases inflammation. Studies also show that eating a diet high in Vitamin E is linked to decreasing the risk of joint damage.
Studies of an extract of soybeans and avocado oils are promising. Studies show that knee and hips with osteoarthritis respond well to the extract.
Glorious Hair and Skin
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is found in almost every skin care and hair care product. Avocados contain 45% of the RDA for pantothenic acid. Putting B5 on skin helps moisturize it and helps heal wounds. It can also reduce facial acne, including the number of blemishes.
Whether you eat them, spread them on your face and hair, or use avocado oil, you may see younger looking skin, faster healing wounds, and less acne. Given all these health benefits, you can’t say no.
All the good press that avocados get is certainly real! From hair to toes, avocados are good for pretty much every single body part. In fact, when health data from 17,567 people was analyzed, those who ate avocados were healthier with a higher nutrient intake, and half as likely to have risks factors for diabetes and heart disease. They also weighed less with a lower BMI and less belly fat.
Whether or not all these can be directly related to avocados is unclear. However, the evidence is clear that avocados may keep you healthy, so why not give them a try?