December 31, 2012
While avocados have been gracing our salads for years, they have only recently become well known for their extremely beneficial health benefits. Research has shown that they are an extremely healthy food choice. Avocados are packed with mono-unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre. Each bite provides you with fabulous nutrition, these small fruits (yes! They are fruits) are truly amazing!
The avocado has gotten a bad rap for being a "fattening fruit". While it's true that they contain fats, it's also important to recognize that not all fats are created equal. Avocados' support for heart and blood vessels might sound surprising for those who think about avocado's as a high fat food. The avocado is virtually the only fruit that is packed with the heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats; the most beneficial and healthy fat known. Avocados boast a unique composition of healthy fat types, including the popular, Omega-3 fat, which is well known for its valuable impact on heart health. In a study done, high avocado intake was shown in one preliminary study to lower blood cholesterol levels. These subjects also showed a 22% decrease in both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels.
Another point to consider is that Avocados have high nutrient density-per calorie, and are full of fiber. Including avocado in your diet, therefore, might actually be useful in weight control as they give a person a feeling of satiety.
Not only are avocados famous for their healthy fats, they are also known for their extremely valuable nutrient content. Avocados, ounce for ounce, top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium and vitamin K. They also include good sources of Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid. Each one of these vitamins possesses distinct health benefits that are necessary for healthy living. This vast array of vitamins, give avocados their fame and each bite provides us with unimaginably useful health benefits.
But wait…this isn't all! Avocados are also unique for containing cartenoids. Cartenoids are important for eye health and also enhance the functioning of the immune system and promote healthy functioning of the reproductive system.
When considering all the various types of fruits, avocado's stand out for their high protein content. Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak or meat, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed.
Another feature of the avocado is it's fibre content. Avocados have the highest concentration of dietary fibre of any commonly eaten fruit. High fibre intake lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Although all avocados contain the same nutritional makeup, some might contain more nutritional content than others. The most nutritious avocados are those that are firm or slightly soft when squeezed, with no dents at all in the skin. If you buy an unripe, very hard, avocado, you can ripen it at home by placing it in a paper or plastic bag. To accelerate the ripening process, place an apple, pear or banana in the bag as well as these fruits gives off ethylene, a compound used in ripening fruits. The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most dense in nutrients, you'll notice, it's a darker green, so be sure to scrape the skin clean before discarding it.
Including avocados in your diet is a healthy way to boost the flavour and texture of your meals. Did you know avocados can be used a substitute for butter or margarine in your baked goods? It’s hard to believe, but try it out using the recipe below and see how delicious the cake will be and how you will hardly detect the avocado. You could also try tossing chopped avocado on a salad or bowl of soup, serve guacamole as an appetizer or condiment, or try one of these healthy avocado recipes below to get avocado into your diet.
Be sure to try my Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake- They'll never know!