12 proven health ben­e­fits of av­o­cado

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Health Mat­ters With Kris Gun­nars

THE av­o­cado is a rather unique type of fruit.

Most fruit con­sists pri­mar­ily of car­bo­hy­drate, while av­o­cado is high in healthy fats.

Nu­mer­ous stud­ies show that ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects to health.

Here are 12 health ben­e­fits of av­o­cado that are sup­ported by sci­en­tific re­search: 1. Av­o­cado is In­cred­i­bly Nutri­tious What we re­fer to as “av­o­cado” is the fruit of the av­o­cado tree, called Persea amer­i­cana.

This fruit is prized for its high nu­tri­ent value and is added to all sorts of dishes due to its good flavour and rich tex­ture. It is the main in­gre­di­ent in gua­camole.

These days, the av­o­cado has be­come an in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar food among health con­scious in­di­vid­u­als. It is of­ten re­ferred to as a su­per­food . . . which is not sur­pris­ing given its health prop­er­ties.

There are many kinds of av­o­ca­dos, and the shape (from pear-shaped to round) and colour (from green to black) can vary be­tween them. They can also weigh any­where from 8 ounces (220 grammes) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg). The most pop­u­lar type is called Hass av­o­cado.

It is of­ten called “al­li­ga­tor pear,” which is very de­scrip­tive be­cause it tends to be shaped like a pear and have green, bumpy skin… like an al­li­ga­tor.

The yel­low-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are dis­carded.

Av­o­ca­dos are very nutri­tious and con­tain a wide va­ri­ety of nu­tri­ents, in­clud­ing 20 dif­fer­ent vi­ta­mins and min­er­als.

Here are some of the most abun­dant nu­tri­ents, in a sin­gle 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serv­ing:

Vi­ta­min K: 26 per­cent of the Rec­om­mended Di­etary Al­lowance (RDA). Fo­late: 20 per­cent of the RDA. Vi­ta­min C: 17 per­cent of the RDA. Potas­sium: 14 per­cent of the RDA. Vi­ta­min B5: 14 per­cent of the RDA. Vi­ta­min B6: 13 per­cent of the RDA. Vi­ta­min E: 10 per­cent of the RDA. Then it con­tains small amounts of Mag­ne­sium, Man­ganese, Cop­per, Iron, Zinc, Phos­pho­rous, Vi­ta­min A, B1 (Thi­amine), B2 (Ri­boflavin) and B3 (Niacin).

This is com­ing with 160 calo­ries, 2 grammes of pro­tein and 15 grammes of healthy fats. Al­though it con­tains 9 grammes of carbs, 7 of those are fi­bre so there are only 2 “net” carbs, mak­ing this a low-carb friendly plant food.

Av­o­ca­dos do not con­tain any choles­terol or sodium, and are low in sat­u­rated fat. I per­son­ally don’t think that mat­ters, but this is one of the rea­sons they are favoured by many “old school” ex­perts who still be­lieve these things are in­her­ently harm­ful. 2. They Con­tain More Potas­sium Than Ba­nanas Potas­sium is a nu­tri­ent that most peo­ple aren’t get­ting enough of.

This nu­tri­ent helps main­tain elec­tri­cal gra­di­ents in the body’s cells and serves var­i­ous im­por­tant func­tions.

Av­o­ca­dos are ac­tu­ally very high in potas­sium… with a 100 grammes (3.5 ounce) serv­ing con­tain­ing 14 per­cent of the RDA, com­pared to 10 per­cent in ba­nanas, which are a typ­i­cal high potas­sium food.

Sev­eral stud­ies show that hav­ing a high potas­sium in­take is linked to re­duced blood pres­sure, a ma­jor risk fac­tor for heart at­tacks, strokes and kid­ney fail­ure.

3. Av­o­cado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Mo­noun­sat­u­rated Fatty Acids Again, av­o­cado is a high fat food. In fact, 77 per­cent of the calo­ries in it are from fat, mak­ing it one of the fat­ti­est plant foods in ex­is­tence.

But they don’t just con­tain any fat … the ma­jor­ity of the fat in av­o­cado is oleic acid.

This is a mo­noun­sat­u­rated fatty acid that is also the ma­jor com­po­nent in olive oil and be­lieved to be re­spon­si­ble for some of its ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects.

Oleic acid has been linked to re­duced in­flam­ma­tion and been shown to have ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects on genes linked to can­cer.

The fats in av­o­cado are also pretty re­sis­tant to heatin­duced ox­i­da­tion, mak­ing av­o­cado oil a healthy and safe choice for cook­ing. 4. Av­o­ca­dos Are Loaded With Fiber Fi­bre is an­other nu­tri­ent found in rel­a­tively large amounts in av­o­cado.

Fi­bre is in­di­gestible plant mat­ter that can con­trib­ute to weight loss, re­duce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many dis­eases.

A dis­tinc­tion is of­ten made be­tween sol­u­ble and in­sol­u­ble fi­bre.

Sol­u­ble fi­bre is known to be able to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the in­tes­tine, which are very im­por­tant for the op­ti­mal func­tion of our bod­ies.

A 100g (3.5 ounce) serv­ing of av­o­cado con­tains 7g of fi­bre, which is 27 per­cent of the rec­om­mended daily amount.

About 25 per­cent of the fi­bre in av­o­cado is sol­u­ble, while 75 per­cent is in­sol­u­ble.

5. Eat­ing Av­o­ca­dos Can Lower Choles­terol and Triglyc­eride Lev­els

Heart dis­ease is the most com­mon cause of death in the world.

It is known that sev­eral blood mark­ers are linked to an in­creased risk.

This in­cludes choles­terol, triglyc­erides, in­flam­ma­tory mark­ers, blood pres­sure and var­i­ous oth­ers.

The ef­fects of av­o­cado on some of these risk fac­tors has been stud­ied in eight hu­man con­trolled tri­als.

These are stud­ies where peo­ple are split into groups… one group is in­structed to eat av­o­ca­dos, while the other is not. Then re­searchers see what hap­pens to their blood mark­ers over time. These stud­ies have shown that av­o­ca­dos can: Re­duce to­tal choles­terol lev­els sig­nif­i­cantly. Re­duce blood triglyc­erides by up to 20 per­cent. Lower LDL choles­terol by up to 22 per­cent. In­crease HDL (the “good”) choles­terol by up to 11 per­cent.

One of the stud­ies showed that in­clud­ing av­o­cado in a low-fat veg­e­tar­ian diet led to im­prove­ments in the choles­terol pro­file.

Un­for­tu­nately, all of the hu­man stud­ies were small (13-37 sub­jects) and short-term (1-4 weeks), but the re­sults were im­pres­sive nonethe­less. 6. Peo­ple who eat av­o­ca­dos tend to be health­ier One study looked at the di­etary habits and health of peo­ple who eat av­o­ca­dos.

They an­a­lysed data from 17,567 par­tic­i­pants in the NHANES sur­vey in the US.

Av­o­cado con­sumers were found to be much health­ier than peo­ple who didn’t eat av­o­ca­dos.

They had a much higher nu­tri­ent in­take and were half as likely to have meta­bolic syn­drome, a clus­ter of symp­toms that are a ma­jor risk fac­tor for heart dis­ease and di­a­betes. it has pow­er­ful

Peo­ple who ate av­o­ca­dos reg­u­larly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and sig­nif­i­cantly less belly fat. They also had more HDL (the “good”) choles­terol.

How­ever, cor­re­la­tion does not im­ply cau­sa­tion and there is no guar­an­tee that the av­o­ca­dos caused these peo­ple to be in bet­ter health. There­fore I don’t think this par­tic­u­lar study car­ries much weight. 7. The fat in them can help you ab­sorb nu­tri­ents from plant foods When it comes to nu­tri­ents, the to­tal amount of them is not the only thing that mat­ters. We also need to be able to ab­sorb them . . . move them from the di­ges­tive tract and into the body, where they can be used.

Some nu­tri­ents are “fat sol­u­ble,” mean­ing that they need to be com­bined with fat in or­der to be utilised.

This in­cludes vi­ta­mins A, D, E and K — along with an­tiox­i­dants like carotenoids.

One study showed that adding av­o­cado or av­o­cado oil to ei­ther salad or salsa can in­crease an­tiox­i­dant ab­sorp­tion by 2.6 to 15-fold.

So, not only is av­o­cado highly nutri­tious, it can dra­mat­i­cally in­crease the nu­tri­ent value of other plant foods that you are eat­ing.

This is an ex­cel­lent rea­son to al­ways in­clude a healthy fat source when you eat veg­gies. With­out it, a lot of the ben­e­fi­cial plant nu­tri­ents will go to waste.

8. Av­o­ca­dos are loaded with Pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants that can pro­tect the eyes

Not only do av­o­ca­dos in­crease an­tiox­i­dant ab­sorp­tion from other foods, they are also high in an­tiox­i­dants them­selves.

This in­cludes nu­tri­ents called Lutein and Zeax­an­thin, which are in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for eye health.

Stud­ies show that these nu­tri­ents are linked to a dras­ti­cally re­duced risk of cataracts and mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, which are com­mon in the el­derly. There­fore, eat­ing av­o­ca­dos should have ben­e­fits for eye health over the long term. 9. Av­o­cado may help pre­vent can­cer

There is lim­ited ev­i­dence that av­o­cado may be ben­e­fi­cial in pre­vent­ing can­cer.

One study showed that it may help re­duce side ef­fects of chemo­ther­apy in hu­man lym­pho­cytes. Av­o­cado extract has also been shown to in­hibit the growth of prostate can­cer cells.

How­ever, keep in mind that these stud­ies were done in iso­lated cells and don’t re­ally prove any­thing about what hap­pens in a liv­ing, breath­ing hu­man. 10. Av­o­cado extract may help re­lieve symp­toms of arthri­tis Arthri­tis is a com­mon prob­lem in Western coun­tries. There are many types of arthri­tis, and these are of­ten chronic prob­lems that peo­ple have for the rest of their lives.

Mul­ti­ple stud­ies have shown that ex­tracts from av­o­cado and soy­bean oil, called Av­o­cado and Soy­bean un­saponifi­ables, can re­duce symp­toms of arthri­tis of the bones, called os­teoarthri­tis.

Whether av­o­ca­dos them­selves can have this ef­fect, and not just the extract, re­mains to be seen. 11. Eat­ing av­o­cado may help you lose weight There is some ev­i­dence that av­o­ca­dos are a weight loss friendly food.

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