Do you know the amazing health benefits of avocados? Avocados are extremely nutritious and can greatly benefit your health. In the past some have been concerned about avocados containing too much fat. However, this is a misconception, as the fat avocados do contain is the good kind. Not only that but we need fat from our diet. Fat is one of the primary macronutrients our bodies need for bodily functions. Also, there is the misconception that fat makes you fat, which is simply not true.
So here are some great facts about the benefits of avocados and why you should include them in your diet!
What are Avocados?
Avocados, a type of fruit, grow from trees that belonging to the family Lauraceae. Avocados are native to Central and South America. Avocados are grown in most tropical and subtropical areas, including Florida, California, Mexico, Brazil, and Columbia. Avocados mature on the tree and ripen off of the tree. Avocados can ripen in a few days when stored at room temperature. Avocados are firm and a medium green color, as they ripen the avocado becomes softer and darker in color.
Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocados Nutrition:
The health benefits of avocados are well known due to the 25 vitamins and minerals they contain. Avocados contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, iron, magnesium, folic acid, copper, fiber, protein, and potassium. Avocados also contain phytonutrients. Avocados contain 18 essential amino acids which can be used to form a complete protein. For this reason, avocados are often an integral part of vegetarian, vegan or raw food diets.
Avocados consist of approximately 20% fat. The majority of the fat contained in avocados is monounsaturated fat. Avocados also contain a small amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fat. The fat in avocados is the healthy kind of fat that our bodies need for growth and to perform bodily functions.
10 Benefits of Avocados in Your Diet:
1. Heart Healthy Benefits –Avocados vitamins and minerals help maintain homocystine levels. The monounsaturated fat and glutathione also benefit for a healthy heart. Avocados also support the blood vessels. Additionally, heart health benefits from oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are present in avocados.
2. Boosts the Immune System- The glutathione in avocados aids in boosting the immune systems and benefits the nervous system. The carotenoids present in avocados has been found to enhance the functioning of the immune system and benefit the reproductive system.
3. Avocados are Anti-Inflammatory- The phytonutrients, polyphenols and flavonoids, present in avocados reduce inflammation.
4. Lowers Cholesterol Levels – Avocados contain beta-sitosterol which studies have shown is effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels and increasing HDL levels.
5. Benefit Blood Pressure – Avocados contain more potassium then bananas. The potassium aids in controlling blood pressure levels.
6. Cancer Protecting Properties- Those who consume type of fat found in avocados have been found to have a reduced risk of cancer. Studies have also shown that avocados can aid in fighting prostate cancer.
7. Increases Absorption of Nutrients-Avocados increase nutrient absorption. Studies have shown that when subjects ate meals containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of beta carotene and lycopene.
8. Contains Antioxidants –Avocados are rich in antioxidants and aid in fighting oxidative stress. The glutathione is a strong antioxidant which fights free radicals.
9. Prevent Diabetes and Regulate Blood Sugar- Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes. The monounsaturated fats help regulate blood sugar and can reverse insulin resistance.
10. Benefit Eye Health- The high amount of carotenoid lutein in avocados aids in protecting against cataracts and macular degeneration.
These are just some of the benefits of avocados. Not only are avocados beneficial when consumed, they are also often used topically to benefit skin and hair.
How to Get the most Benefits of Avocados:
Avocados are most beneficial when they are ripe . Over-ripe avocados will be darker in color, almost a dark brown or black color. When you peel a just right avocado it should be a nice bright green color. If there are any dark brown spots when peeled, it is too ripe. It is best to buy the avocados un-ripen and you can allow them to ripen in your home at room temperature. To make them ripen faster you can store them in a bag with apples or bananas. To stall the process of ripening you can store the avocado in your refrigerator.