Avocados are one of those foods that people either love or they hate. If you love avocados, then you are actually helping to improve your health when you eat them. If you do not eat avocados, you are missing out on a food that has tremendous health benefits.
Once, avocados were considered a food to avoid, especially for people who were overweight or needing to watch their fat intake. Avocados are not a low calorie food, they are high in fat, and that alone makes people tend to shy away from eating them. However, avocados are packed with the good type of fat, the kind that our bodies need to work and perform well. These fatty acids help our bodies absorb minerals and vitamins better and they help give our metabolism a boost.
Adding avocado to your diet is actually good for you. So, put avocado back into your diet and reap the benefits that they have to offer.
Avocado Health Benefits
Avocado can actually help reduce cholesterol levels. Avocados contain oleic acid, which helps to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) while helping to increase good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) by at least 10-11%. Avocados are a heart healthy food and help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The monounsaturated fats that avocados have are useful for stabilizing blood sugar. Monounsaturated fats slow digestion down, preventing blood sugar spikes after eating. When your diet contains the good fats, such as what avocados have, it can help keep your blood sugar steadier on a long-term basis by reversing insulin resistance.
Avocados are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Your digestive system needs fiber to keep everything working smoothly. Fiber also helps you feel full for longer after you eat because it slows down how quickly carbohydrates are broken down in your body. When you feel full for longer, you eat less. Another reason why avocados make you feel full is that they contain oleic acid. Oleic acid is an unsaturated fat that tells your brain that you are full, so you eat less.
Avocados contain many essential nutrients including potassium, vitamins A, B, C and E, iron, and magnesium. Lutein, an antioxidant, is also contained in avocados. Lutein is a disease fighting antioxidant and it is vital for eye health. Avocados also contain carotenoids, which are also antioxidants. When eaten along with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, avocados improve our body’s ability to absorb these antioxidants, which keep us healthy.
Avocados are also beneficial in the following ways:
- Promote healthy brain function including helping to ward off dementia
- Reduce the risk of breast cancer
- Promotes the production of glutathione in the liver, a vital antioxidant
- Is an anti-inflammatory
Avocado Related Health Studies
There have been numerous studies about the benefits of avocados. Studies are important because they are necessary to support claims about health benefits. Here are some health studies about avocados and their findings:
- A 2012 study by UCLA involved having participants eat hamburgers with ½ of an avocado and eat hamburgers without. The study found that the production of Interleukin-6, an inflammatory compound, was produced in significantly lower amounts when they ate the burger with avocado than when they ate the burger without avocado. This same study also showed that triglyceride levels were the same after eating burgers with avocado and without, proving that the fatty acids contained in avocado do not increase triglycerides.
- A study affiliated with the Ohio State University in 2005 showed that when avocado is added to a salad, participants absorbed more carotenoids antioxidant molecules than when they ate a salad without avocado; eating avocado boosted absorption by as much as three to five times as much as without.
Side Effects from Eating Avocado
Avocado is a high calorie food; if you are on a calorie-restricted diet, you should be cautious about your daily avocado intake. If you find that your mouth itches, your tongue swells or you have trouble breathing, or experience stomach pain, you may be allergic to avocados and should seek medical help.
If you are allergic to latex, you may be allergic to avocados; there is a documented link between the two. Additionally, your risk of being allergic to avocado is increased if you are allergic to kiwi fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, peaches or melons.
If you take Warfarin, an anticoagulant, avocados can interfere with how the medication works or can cause an interaction; please ask your doctor prior to eating anything containing avocado if you are taking Warfarin.
Recommended Daily Consumption
Because they are a higher calorie food, it is recommended that you eat between ½ to 1 full avocados daily to get the most benefit from them. If you are worried about calories, you can eat between ¼ and ½ and still get the benefits of eating avocado.
Healthy Avocado Recipes
To keep cut avocados from browning due to air exposure, coat the exposed avocado with lemon juice and wrap with plastic wrap.
Avocados are perfect for sandwiches, instead of using mayonnaise on your sandwiches, use slices of avocado or mashed avocado spread on the bread instead.
3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into slices or pieces
1 small seeded tomato that is diced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Dash of salt
In a bowl, mash the lemon juice with the avocado, leaving it slightly chunky. Stir in tomatoes and salt.
Avocado and Tuna Sandwich
1 can of tuna
1 ripe avocado
Instead of mayonnaise, use avocado. Drain the tuna and mash it with the avocado, adding any seasonings that you usually use with your tuna such as salt and pepper. Serve on whole grain bread, in a whole-wheat wrap or use lettuce as a wrap for a healthier option.
From your heart to helping you manage your weight by feeling fuller, the benefits of eating avocados are clear. Add avocado to your daily diet to help improve your health today.