7 Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados have grown in popularity in past decade and with good reason. These green, creamy, delicious fruits make a great addition to almost any food or dish. Not only are avocados incredibly versatile, but they are loaded with an array of nutrients to help support your health!
1. Good Source Fiber. Avocados are about 7% fiber by weight. Most people don’t come near meeting the recommended daily intake for fiber. Avocados contain both soluble and insoluble fiber to support digestion and health. Eating 1/2 of a medium sized avocado provides 5 grams of fiber!
2. Rich in Monounsaturated Fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids offer valuable health benefits including lowering “bad” cholesterol and reducing risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Just a single 1 oz serving of an avocado provides about 3 grams of this healthy fat while a whole avocado has nearly 15 grams!
3. Great Source of Potassium. Potassium is a critical mineral that the body needs to function normally. It’s especially important to help the heart, kidneys and other organs work. Did you know an avocado provides more potassium than a banana? Just one half of an avocado provides approximately 345 mg of potassium.
4. Fight Inflammation. Avocados contain various antioxidants including carotenoids, Vitamin E and Vitamin C as well as anti-inflammatory compounds such as catechins and procyanidins. Catechines can increase plasma antioxidant activity and also help prevent oxidation.
5. Support Eye Health. Avocados are a good source of the two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin which are important carotenoids found in the eye. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in these two compounds can help reduce risk of developing mascular degeneration. One half of an avocado contains about 185 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin.
6. Support Healthy Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. In addition to being a good source of potassium which supports healthy blood pressure in the body, magnesium and antioxidants in avocados can help dilate blood vessels. Furthermore, those who consume avocados regularly have higher HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) and lower LDL and triglyceride levels.
7. Increases Absorption of Carotenoid-Rich Foods. Carotenoid-rich foods such as carrots and spinach are better absorbed with some healthy fat. Because avocados naturally contain healthy fat, not only is the absorption of beta-carotene increased, the conversion to it’s active form, Vitamin A, is also increased. Try adding avocado to your salad to increase the bioavailability of the nutrients found in the dark leafy greens and other vegetables!
7 Ways to Incorporate Avocado Into Your Diet
- Slice and top on a salad (the healthy fat will help absorb all of these good nutrients in the veggies)
- Use as a spread on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise.
- Add ripe avocado to a breakfast smoothie.
- Slice and drizzle with olive oil, and a small dash of salt and pepper
- Blend with olive oil and herbs to create a creamy pasta sauce.
- Combine with a ripe banana and cocoa powder to create a creamy chocolate pudding.
- Make a refreshing avocado sorbet.