For those of you who don’t know, “Avocadoes are an excellent source of healthful fats”.
A study conducted by Hass Avocado Board in 2012 revealed that “avocado with a hamburger (made with 90 percent lean beef) significantly inhibited the production of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6), compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado.” Other than that, this amazing food is beneficial for treating diabetes and cardiovascular disease.It also helps you with weight management and enhances the ability of your body to assimilate essential nutrients.
Coming up next…. more avocado benefits for you. But first, let’s take a peek into its origin and nutritional contents.
The name avocado has been derived from Aztec word, “ahuacatl”. Avocados are also known as Alligator Pear, because of their leathery skin and shape. They are grown on evergreen tall trees that can reach up to a height of 65 feet. Their size varies from 8 ounces to 3 pounds.
Avocados are being cultivated since 8,000 B.C. in Central and South America. Their cultivation began in Jamaica in the 17th century and by the 18th century they were grown in most of the tropical regions of Asia. In the U.S., their cultivation started in 20th century, specifically in California and Florida and today these countries are two of the world’s largest producers of avocado. They are also grown in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
They are considered as a super food because you can find more than 80 nutrients in them such as vitamin A, B, C, E and K, iron, phosphorus, iron, copper, potassium and magnesium. They contain some essential dietary fiber, protein and some phytochemicals such as glutathione, lutein and beta-sitosterol. The fats contained in avocados are monounsaturated i.e. the healthy variety of fats. A cup of avocados will provide you with 233 calories.
Here are some of the benefits of avocados:
Treat Viral Hepatitis
A research conducted in Japan revealed that avocados protect the liver from getting damaged. In a lab study, rats were given a liver damaging toxin called D-galactosamine, which causes a cell death by interfering with the cell synthesis. The chemical had damaging effects on the liver similar to the ones caused by viruses. Later, these rats were fed avocados. It was concluded that avocados can reduce the amount of liver damage caused by viral hepatitis. According to Hirokazu Kawagishi, Phd, and the lead author of the study, “Besides offering taste and nutrition, avocados seem to improve liver health. People should eat more of them.”
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. A regular consumption of avocados can reduce bad cholesterol by 22% and at the same time increase the production of good cholesterol by 11%.
Promote Heart Health
High levels of homocysteine can result in increased risk of developing heart disease. The vitamin B6 and folic acid contents found in avocado can regulate the homocysteine levels and save you from heart disease. Other important nutrients promoting heart health are glutathione, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats.
Control blood pressure
The rich source of potassium contained in avocados help to keep the blood pressure under control.
Inflammation and degenerative disorders can be reduced by consuming avocados. You will find two important phytonutrient that have anti-inflammatory properties, they are flavonoids and polyphenols.
The high source of carotenoid lutein found in avocados can promote eye health and save you from cataracts and macular degeneration.
Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
The soluble fibers help regulate the blood sugar levels. The monounsaturated fats present in avocados are also very helpful in reversing insulin resistance.
Protect against Birth Defects
Avocados contain high contents of folate, or commonly known as folic acid. One cup contains about 23% of folic acid required by us daily. Birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defect can be effectively prevented by consuming avocados.
Prevent Stroke Risk
Folate is also beneficial for preventing stroke. Studies reveal that individuals who take high amounts of folate in their daily diet are at a lower risk of stroke compared to those who do not take folate.
Provides Protection against Cancer
Avocados contain numerous antioxidants that provide protection against harmful effects of free radicals. They can prevent oral and prostate cancer. The oleic acid found in avocados is effective for treating breast cancer.
Reduces the process of aging
The glutathione present in avocados not only help the body from free radicals but also slows down the process of aging, encourages proper functioning of the nervous system and boosts the immune system.
Treats Bad Breath
One of the natural remedies for curing bad breath lies in avocados. They help to cleanse the intestine which is most of the time, the real cause of bad breath and coated tongue.
Effective for Skin Treatments
Avocado is used in many beauty products because of its benefits for the skin. It nourishes the skin and brings a natural glow. It is effective for treating psoriasis, a skin disease causing irritation and redness on the skin.
Effective for gaining weight
Avocados are very high in calories; this quality makes them ideal for increasing body weight. Unlike other high calorie foods, avocados do not contain saturated fats. “A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger”.
You can use avocados in numerous ways. To reap the maximum benefits consume raw or use in salads. You can also substitute it for the fat you use in baking, such as butter, oil or shortening. You can use it as the first food for your baby as well.