Top avocado benefits and facts that will make want to add them to your diet
The popularity of avocado is due to some good reasons. First, avocados are delicious. It is a fruit that can be eaten right out of the skin and is extremely satisfying. There is nothing quite like thick slices of fresh avocado even by themselves.
But there is much more to avocadoes than their great taste. Avocado benefits include a wide range of healthy qualities from this simple fruit. Avocados are great for your health. Just know that you are getting avocado benefits from that simple avocado toast in the morning.
What is more, avocados are extremely versatile foods. You can get avocado benefits by simply adding them to the foods you already eat. The obvious things like tacos and burritos are great, but you can add fresh avocados to any sandwich or salad and get fantastic avocado benefits.
Avocados have become so common in modern cuisine that many of us have never thought to ask what the benefits and nutritional value of avocados are. What are avocados? What are the benefits of avocados? And how do you include them in your diet? This guide will give you all the information you need on avocados.
We know we love to eat avocados. There is something uniquely satisfying about a fresh avocado on a sandwich, in a salad, or on its own as a snack. But what are the health benefits of avocados? You may be surprised to learn just how healthy avocados can be.
High in potassium
Avocados have more potassium than bananas which are the fruits most people eat to get a good dose of potassium. When it comes to potassium, avocados are superior.
Since most people do not get enough potassium, it pays to include avocados in your diet. Potassium helps maintain the electrical balance in your body’s cells. This helps regulate many important physiological functions.
A 3.5-ounce serving of avocado contains 14 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium. That is a full 10 percent higher than bananas, which is the most common high-potassium food.
A high intake of potassium can help reduce blood pressure, the risk of stroke, and heart disease. Potassium is also great for your kidneys.
High in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids
Avocados are high in fat. More than 70 percent of the calories from avocados is from fat which makes avocados one of the fattiest plant foods you can find. But this fat is not just any fat.
Most of the fat in avocados is oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid like the fatty acids found in olive oil. And this type of fatty acid has numerous health benefits. Oleic acid is known to reduce inflammation, the cause of several chronic health problems, and it is also linked to cancer protection.
The fats in avocados are also resistant to heat which makes avocado oil an extremely healthy substitute for olive oil.
High in fiber
Fiber is indigestible plant matter. The fiber we get from plants like avocados helps with weight loss, reduced blood sugar spikes, and may reduce the risk of several diseases.
Doctors generally distinguish between soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is great for intestinal health and optimizes body functions.
A 3.5-ounce serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, about 25 percent of the RDA for fiber. Roughly 25 percent of the fiber in avocados is soluble fiber.
Fights heart disease
The blood markers for increased risk of heart disease include cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Several studies have shown that a diet that includes avocados can lower these blood markers for heart disease.
Consuming avocadoes decreases levels of cholesterol. It reduces blood triglycerides by as much as 20 percent. And eating avocados can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 22 percent.
Avocados improve the overall health
A survey of the dietary habits of people who regularly eat avocados showed that this population was significantly healthier than people who do not eat avocados. This study looked at over 17,000 participants and found they have lower risks of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes.
People who eat avocados tend to weigh less than those who do eat avocados, having a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat.
Can help you absorb nutrients from other plant foods
The quantity of nutrients you consume is not the only thing that matters when it comes to getting enough nutrients. You also need to be able to absorb these nutrients.
Some nutrients are fat-soluble, and this means you need to take in fats with these nutrients for your body to absorb them. Avocados are a great source of this kind of fat.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins. Several important antioxidants and carotenoids are also fat-soluble. A recent study found that simply adding a little avocado oil to salads or salsa can increase the absorption of antioxidants as much as 15 times the basic rate.
Not only is avocado oil nutritious in itself, it vastly increases the amount of nutrition you absorb from other foods.
Antioxidants for eye protection
Avocados increase the levels of antioxidants you absorb, and they are high in antioxidants themselves. Avocados contain high levels of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. These are important for the health of your eyes.
Simply by eating avocados, you reduce your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration, a disease common in older adults.
Avocado nutrition facts
Avocados are extremely nutritious. They contain 20 different vitamins and minerals.
A single 3.5-ounce serving of avocado contains the following nutrients:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin).
You can add this to 160 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although avocados contain 9 grams of carbohydrates, 70 of these are fiber. This leaves a net carb intake of 2 grams.
Avocados contain no cholesterol or sodium. They are low in saturated fat. The fats and fatty acids in avocados can help you process other types of fat to remain healthy and fit.
How many calories in an avocado?
One cup of sliced avocado contains 234 calories.
Types of avocados
Avocados come from the avocado tree. The scientific name is Persea Americana. It is sometimes referred to as an alligator pear due to its shape and its bumpy skin which resembles the skin of an alligator.
The most popular type of avocado is the Hass avocado. This is what you commonly see in grocery stores, restaurants, and in things like guacamole.
Other types of avocados include:
- Choquette: The Choquette has smooth, glossy skin with watery flesh that often leaks when the fruit is cut. This variety comes from South Florida.
- Lula: The Lula peaks during the summertime have fewer natural oils and contain more water than many other varieties. It's resistant to cold but highly susceptible to fungi. The Lula grows to weigh around 1 pound (450 grams).
- Reed: The Reed is only available during the summer months. It has a lighter, more subtle flavor and is about the size of a softball. As the Reed ripens, its skin remains the same green color, unlike other types.
- Pinkerton: The Pinkerton has an oblong shape, rough skin that is easy to peel, and a small seed inside of creamy flesh. This type grows to 0.5–1.5 pounds (225–680 grams).
- Gwen: The Gwen is similar to the Hass avocado in taste and appearance. This is a larger Guatemalan variety with a thick, dark-green skin that is easy to remove.
- Maluma: The Maluma is a dark-purple avocado that was discovered in the 1990s in South Africa. This variety grows slowly, but the trees bear a lot of fruit.
Less common varieties of avocados include:
- Ettinger: The Ettinger is most often grown in Israel and has bright green skin, large seed, and mild flavor.
- Sharwil: The Sharwil is an Australian avocado with a rough, green peel and yellow flesh. It’s very oily with a bold flavor and is susceptible to frost.
- Zutano: The Zutano is covered in lighter, yellow-green skin and has a mild taste that’s unlike many other, more buttery varieties. It typically grows to around 0.5–1 pound (225–450 grams).
- Brogden: The Brogden avocado is a dark-purple hybrid of West Indian and Mexican varieties. Though it’s very resistant to the cold, it’s hard to peel and thus not a popular commercial variety.
- Fuerte: The Fuerte is distinctly pear-shaped and available for eight months of the year. Its name means “strong” in Spanish, and it has an oily texture similar to that of a hazelnut.
- Cleopatra: The Cleopatra is a small dwarf avocado that is relatively new to the consumer market.
How to consume avocados
You can eat an avocado straight out of the skin. Seriously, just cut an avocado in half, discard the seed, and eat it as it is. Other popular ways to consume avocados are sliced in salads and on sandwiches. You can cut them into smaller bites and put them on other foods like beans, chili, soups, meats, and fish.
Avocado salsa is relatively easy to make, as is guacamole, a mixed relish of avocados, lime juice, garlic, and tomato. Avocados can also be added to your juicer with your favorite fruits and vegetables. This adds protein and a good dose of healthy fats.
Really, the only limit to how you consume avocados is your own imagination. They are an extremely versatile fruit.
Avocado side effects
There are no known side effects or allergic reactions to avocados.
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Avocados have become a staple of our diet in recent years. While once we had to go to specialty restaurants to find avocados on a menu, we can now find them almost anywhere. Salads, sandwiches, smoothies—almost anything can have delicious avocadoes. And simple avocado toast has become something of a cliché, even if it is delicious and satisfying.
But maybe the best news about avocados is that they are a superfood. Avocados are amazingly healthy. Avocados are a great source of plant-based protein, which is great news for vegetarians and vegans. They are high in the healthy fats that fight heart disease. And avocados are filled with vitamins and minerals. Avocados can improve your heart health, improve the health of your eyes, and are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Finally, avocados are just easy to include in your diet. They go with almost anything. The only thing you need to do with an avocado is cut it and serve. There is no prep, no cooking, and no worries. You can even start adding avocado oil to your pantry for another healthy way of eating avocados. The health benefits, great taste, and satisfying nature of avocados make them one of the best additions to our diets.