Benefits of Avocados
Avocados are a very nutritious and healthy food option, containing a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
They also contain small amounts of Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin), along with Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc and Phosphorous.
In this article we'll look at many of the benefits of consuming avocados on a consistent basis.
Below you can see some of the nutritional values that come with avocados.
Some of the Nutrients in an Avocado
Some nutrients in avocado. Percentages are based upon 3.5 oz or 100 grams consumed with a 2,000 calorie diet
Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
Folate: 20% of the RDA.
Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
Vitamin A: 3%
Water: 73 %
Protein: 2 g
Carbs: 8.5 g - 7 are fiber, so the net carbs are only about 2
Sugar: 0.7 g
Fiber: 6.7 g
Fat: 14.7 g
Saturated: 2.13 g
Monounsaturated: 9.8 g
Polyunsaturated :1.82 g
Omega-3: 0.11 g
Omega-6: 1.69 g
Buying an Avocado
If you want to eat avocados daily, buy them at different stages of ripeness. If you're not sure if they're ripe, the softness of the avocado is what determines whether it is or not. Some varieties are ripe when darker in color, some aren't.
The other important thing is in how you manage them before you expose them to the air.
I keep some in the refrigerator, and the riper ones out at room temperature. When I buy them at the store, I look for different levels of hardness in order to get a batch that are going to ripen at different stages. Once this process gets going, you should be able to have at least one ripe avocado available on a daily basis.
To manage them even better, if the avocados are taking longer to ripen, you can put them in a paper bag with a banana or apple, which will speed up the time it takes to ripen. You push lightly into the outer skin to see if its soft. If it is, it should be ready to eat.
You can refrigerate those you don't use, even after ripening them, which will allow them to last a few days.
Avocados are Great Additions to Meals
Great in Many Dishes
One thing I really like about the avocado is that in most cases, it doesn't conflict with the taste of a number of different kinds of food.
It blends well with a variety of food groups, providing many ways to consume the healthy fruit.
Even though guacamole is what most people think of when using avocados, there are numerous ways to include it in meals. My favorite is using it as a puree, but others prefer to slice it or cut it up in small chunks.
Video on Many of the Benefits of the Healthy Fruit
Since the majority of people don't get enough potassium in their diets, avocado consumption is a great way to add more.
While bananas have a reputation for potassium, it's only 10% of RDA vs. the 14% of RDA for Avocados.
Some studies suggest increasing potassium in the diet lowers blood pressure, which of course is associated with kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.
It also supports the electrical gradients in the body’s cells.
Avocados have among the most fats of any food there is, with 77% of the calories coming from fat. The good news is the majority of that fat is oleic acid.
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, which has been associated with the reduction of inflammation. Some tests have shown it can have a healthy effect on genes related to cancer.
Also important to know is that monounsaturated fatty acid is very good for the heart, since it provides the same benefit you get from olive oil.
A number of studies have shown avocados are heart healthy because they lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 22%. In the same studies it has also raised HDL cholesterol by up to 11%. This is the good cholesterol.
Also enjoying a reduction was triglycerides - by as much as 20%. Triglycerides are a form of fat residing in your blood that generate energy. It is vital for good health, but if they get too high it can increase the risk of heart disease.
Eye Health and Antioxidants in Avocados
Among the Antioxidants avocados are high in are Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
Studies show that These 2 nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts as people age.
Consuming avocados can help maintain eye health.
Eating good foods is not enough. The human body needs to be able to absorb the nutrients in the food. What that means is the body must be able to move nutrients from digestive tract into the body in order to be effectively used.
Some nutrients are “fat soluble.” This means they have to be combined with the type of fat inherent in avocados in order to be used by the body.
Among these nutrients are vitamins A, D, E and K, and antioxidants like carotenoids.
Including a quality and healthy fat source when eating vegetables in particular will make sure people get the most out of the nutrients in them.
Avocado or avocado oil can be added to boost absorption, in some cases, according to one study, as high as 15 times what it would be without it.
The Fiber Factor
A 3.5 ounce serving of avocado includes 7 grams of fiber; 27% of the RDA.
Some of the benefits of fiber are it lowers the risk of a significant number of diseases, helps to reduce weight, and reduces blood sugar spikes.
Fiber in avocados is about 25% soluble, which helps feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine. This helps the body function better.
75% is insoluble fiber, which helps ward of hunger pangs, helping control weight. It also helps keep a person more regular. If you get constipated, eating some avocado could be just what you need for relief.
Fiber in avocados is beneficial for weight loss and metabolic health.
On the other hand, if you have trouble digesting FODMAPs, which are (short-chain carbohydrates), it can cause some unpleasant symptoms for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - including gas, diarrhea, stomach pain, cramping, bloating, or constipation.
Weight Loss and Appetite Control
Normally, foods that don't raise blood sugar levels are high in fiber and low in carbs, and very friendly to those wanting to lose weight.
Studies show people tend to feel fuller for longer after eating avocados, when compared to meals not including them.
Adding more avocados to your diet could be a great addition to a weight loss program for most people.
Avocados Great for Weight Loss
Allergic Reaction to Avocados
People with latex allergy should use caution if wanting to eat avocados.
Those with this type of allergy can get allergic reactions to fruits like avocados. An avocado allergy is very uncommon, but it can happen. Talk to your doctor if this is a potential problem for you.
How it works is the immune system attacks fruit proteins. These are similar to the same types of proteins causing allergies in latex.
Most of the time the symptoms cause discomfort like headaches, an upset stomach or stomach cramps, but in severe cases it can lead to extreme allergic shock.
If you're unsure in regard to latex allergies, consult your physician before consuming them.
Keeping Avocados from Turning Brown
When an avocado is exposed to the air it begins a rapid process of oxidation, which turns it brown in a short period of time.
The key to reducing the pace of oxidation and the fruit turning brown, is to limit its exposure to air.
What works the best is to cover up left over avocado with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic is in complete contact with the flesh of the avocado. If it's loose, contact with the air will turn it brown.
If you've pureed your avocado or made guacamole, the best thing to do is press the plastic directly down on to it. If you have a bowl, don't be tempted to put a tight lid on the pureed avocado or guacamole, as the air within will cause it to oxidize quicker than plastic in direct contact with the flesh of the fruit.
Using plastic wrap also helps to retain moisture, keeping it softer for longer.
Citrus (because of the acid), such as lemon or lime juice, or olive or vegetable oil (preferably olive oil), can be brushed onto the avocado to make it last longer. This will help more if it is accompanied by plastic wrap.
If trying to preserve slices of avocado, rub or brush on citrus or oil, and then wrap it up in plastic, removing as much of the air as you can.
When refrigerated, using the methods mentioned here, it can allow the avocado in its various meal forms, last for as long as two days.
If trying to keep your avocado looking nice as you prep your meals, you can place it in ice water until needed.
Not only is the avocado one of the most nutritious foods there is in the world, it is one of the most versatile when using with other food combinations, because it doesn't overwhelm other foods with a strong or overly distinctive flavor.
It has its own flavor of course, but it's very subtle, and works well with a lot of foods.
You owe it to yourself to give avocados a serious try. Because they're so versatile, you can use it with different foods or meals to find what works best for you.
With all the health benefits and delicious tastes available, I think you'll quickly become a fan of avocados and use them on a consistent basis. You'll never regret it as long you're not one of the very few that may get an allergic reaction to them.
Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on February 18, 2021:
A good post...health is wealth...