We all know that avocados are creamy and delicious, but are avocados good for you? Lets take look at this wonderful fruit and discover the 8 little known facts that make them one of the worlds most extraordinary superfoods, plus why you should be adding them into your diet every day.
Avocados have been eaten for as long as 15,000 years and are actually classified as a berry with a large pip. They are grown mostly in Mediterranean climates, but due to the recent explosion of information on their health benefits are now popular worldwide. Yes avocados are everywhere, and seem to be an added ingredient to every healthy recipe and dish out there .
ARE AVOCADOS GOOD FOR YOU?
I myself am an absolute avocado convert, and along with a few other of my favorite top super foods they have not only played a role in helping me kick my sugar habit, but have also helped me to shape up and lose the extra pounds that I was finding difficult to shift.
There are also MANY more reasons to add avocados to your diet, so without further ado let’s dive in… and prepare be converted!
1. SUGAR CONTROL
This is one of the main and very important benefits of avocado: just half with your breakfast or morning smoothie will not only lower the GI of your entire meal, but the fats will help keep your blood sugar stable for the rest of the day; and you satiated for hours.
This is a BIG DEAL in terms of fat loss and keeping your weight under control, as low GI foods cause much less of an insulin spike than their high GI counterparts that actually promote fat storage; therefore eating lots of low glycemic foods will help keep both your blood sugar stable and weight under control.
2. CONTROLS DIABETES
For pretty much the same reasons as above, the low GI and satiating effects of an avocado help to keep blood sugar stable for hours. For best results you should eat a few chunks of avocado with as many meals as possible, but be sure to include this in with your daily fats and calorie allowance and not in top. No matter what you’re eating you still need to burn off all the calories you put into your body if you don’t want to gain weight. You just have to be smart about the type of calories you put in if you want to feel satiated.
Because avocados are just so versatile they can also easily be added into smoothies, or as a side dish to almost every meal in some way or another – not to mention what they are most famous for in the first place: GUACOMOLE!
3. NUTRITIONAL SUPERSTAR
Avocados offer almost 20 vitamins and minerals including lutein, potassium, folate, B vitamins, vitamins C, E and K, beta-carotene, omega 3 fatty acids; plus an array of natural plant phytochemicals, all of which may help protect against many forms of cancer, alongside a healthy diet of course.
They are also low sugar and high in fiber (about 6-7 grams per average sized fruit). Fiber is important for the proper function of the digestive system and healthy bowels; it also helps lower cholesterol, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and aids in weight control and weight loss.
4. HEALTHY FATS
Avocados contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats, the same that are found in olive oil. These fantastic fats should be eaten daily for the relief of rheumatoid arthritis, reducing stomach fat, lowering your chances of heart disease and stroke, reducing cholesterol, and decreasing your risk of breast cancer.
Avocado’s fats offer specific protection against high cholesterol due to their plant sterol bet-sitosterol, and contain 38 milligrams per 50 grams of fruit!
Avocado’s contain the phytochemicals zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which offer antioxidant protection in the tissue of the eyes thus helping to protect them against damage (especially damage from ultra-violet light).
6. HELPS PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS
There is roughly 25% of our daily vitamin K needs in an avocado, along with good amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin K is important for healthy bones as it increases calcium absorption and decreases calcium excretion, so it’s helpful when nutrients that go hand in hand are both in the same food. This you will find happens a lot in nature and is the reason why some foods are just perfect as they are.
7. ANTI CANCER
A good folate intake (which avocados are rich in) has been shown to protect against some cancers, including stomach, colon, cervical, and pancreatic.
Avocado’s may also play a role in anti-cancer treatments and some research suggests that the phytochemicals they contain can help inhibit the growth of cancerous and precancerous cells. These same phytochemicals may also encourage proliferation of lymphocytes, which are the immune system cells that help protect us from disease and illness – therefore they’re a great immune booster too!
8. EASES DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Folate, and high folate foods such as avocado’s, decrease the risk of, and help ease the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Folate helps prevent homocystein build up which can impair the body’s ability to deliver essential nutrients to the brain.
Excess homocystein can interfere with serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine; all of which help regulate mood, sleep and appetite. So moral of the story: be sure to get your folate rich foods in if you want to feel calm and happy.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids Feed the Brain:
As avocados contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acid’s AND help control blood sugar, it goes without saying that this gives them a double whammy of protection against depression and anxiety.
Omega 3’s feed the brain, which in turn will help alleviate depression and anxiety; and keeping blood sugar stable goes a long way (if not all the way) in helping to control anxiety – especially panic attacks.
You can also get high levels of omega 3’s from oily fish and omega 3 supplements. If you’re suffering from severe depression then you will need a high dose from a good supplement.
9. LOW CARBOHYDRATE
As if all these super benefits weren’t enough the avocado is also an awesome addition to a low carb diet, which gives it yet another fat burning edge. It comes in at 9 grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams, AND it will fill you up. For more low carbohydrate fat burning foods that will help you to lose or maintain weight please read this low carb plant food list and swap some of your regular foods for the lower carb ones.
Avocado Nutritional Facts per 100 grams (or 1 medium avocado):
Fat 15 grams
Carbohydrates 9 grams
Fiber 7 grams
protein 2 grams
Sugar 0.7 grams
Potassium 485 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Always scrape every last bit of the avocado flesh away from the skin as this is the part highest in nutrients. Some people even eat the pip by chopping it and adding it into smoothies as this is also nutrient dense and high in fiber. It does have a slight bitter taste so you may not like it, but is worth testing out for yourself.
As you can see, adding avocado to your diet every day can have amazing health benefits; just remember to count them towards your total calorie and fat intake. Eating avocado’s alongside other super foods and a low GI, highly plant based diet will boost your well-being and health even further, giving you much more energy and also protection from disease. All of these things combined (trust me) help you to become the healthiest you you have ever been.