avocados – Healthy superfoods – by Dr. Nuwanthi Fernando
Avocados are creamy fruits that grow in warm climates. While fruits generally contain carbohydrates, avocados are rich in healthy fats. A single serving (40g) of this fruit contains 6g of fat and 3g of fiber. Avocados are also known as alligator pears or butter fruits, and they are the only fruits that are packed with healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA). Other than the healthy fats, avocados are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, E, K, B-6 riboflavin, niacin, beta-carotene, magnesium, and potassium are the other components of this tasty fruit.
Now as you read that avocados are rich in fat, you might think how it can be good for our health. It is important to know that the fats in this fruit are highly beneficial for our body as they are unsaturated fatty acids, mainly Omega 3.
Let us now see why avocados are known as superfoods and how they can benefit our health;
Avocados are healthy for the heart
A single avocado contains a lot of plant sterols known as beta-sitosterol. Consuming beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols regularly help in reducing the cholesterol levels. The efficacy of cholesterol level reduction is also increased by the surplus of Omega 3 packed in avocados. Omega 3 is able to reduce the unhealthy fats (LDL and VLDL) in the body while elevating the level of the healthy (HDL) fats. It is well known that HDL fats act as a sponge that wipes away all the fats that are deposited in the blood vessel wall and thereby reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart ischemia.
A fruit for a better vision
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two phytochemicals that are found abundantly in the eyes of the humans. They are the leading antioxidants that protect the eyes from free radical damage and UV rays. Avocados are rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin and consuming avocado regularly will ensure the protection of eye from UV rays and free radicals.
The fats in avocado also help fat-soluble vitamin absorption in the gut. This will promote the absorption of beta-carotene and reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Avocados help in weight loss
You may have seen avocados to be a common ingredient in weight loss meal plans and recipes. While avocados are rich in healthy fats to provide you with healthy calories, they are also rich in fibers. A study shows that avocado can keep your stomach full for a long time and the desire for food will be reduced for many hours. Therefore, consuming avocados can reduce the amount of food you eat and the number of calories you consume, promoting weight loss.
Avocados are loaded with fiber
Fiber is not a nutrient, but a dietary component that is necessary for a healthy gut and body. The fibers in plant food are indigestible and help in weight loss, preventing blood sugar spikes and reducing the risk of many gut diseases. Avocados contain soluble as well as insoluble fibers. The soluble fibers in avocados feed the friendly gut bacteria that promotes food digestion and also many other vital body functions that are necessary for your wellbeing.
100g of avocado contains 7g of fiber and of this fiber content, 25% is soluble, and 75% is insoluble.
A fruit with a lot of potassium
Do you know that avocados have more potassium than bananas? Fruits are the main source of potassium and banana is the most famous among them. Anyhow, many people do not know that avocados have more potassium when compared to banana. 100-gram of avocado contains 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium, whereas bananas contain only 10%.
Consuming enough potassium helps in balancing the ion gradient in the body cells and also reduces the blood pressure level. It is recommended that people with high blood pressure consume enough of potassium from fruits and vegetables as a natural way of keeping the blood pressure optimized.
Avocados are brain-friendly fruits
Healthy fats are a great way to maintain a healthy brain. Consuming Omega 3 fats and other monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve the functional ability of brain cells and also protect the nerves from damage. Consuming enough of these fats is equally essential for children and adults. Different studies show that healthy fats have the ability to reduce the risk of epilepsy, depression, and anxiety while consuming enough of Omega 3, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats improve the cognitive functions such as memory, focus, and concentration. Therefore, avocados can benefit children in developing ages, pregnant women, elderly individuals and those who enroll in activities that demand a higher brain outcome.
The health benefits of avocado do not end here. There are many ways that this buttery fruit can benefit your body and brain. Make sure you add this superfood to your diet, to live a happy, healthy life.