I was just reading a book by cardiologist Stephen Sinatra. He mentions avocados as a useful tool when working to lower blood pressure, so I thought I’d share some of the benefits and how you can incorporate avocados into your diet.
Now, I can’t say I’m an avocado lover, so this is for those of you who enjoy this supposedly “tasty” fruit:)
Avocado Nutritional Benefits
Avocados are high in fat; however, they contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats providing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection. The avocado inner flesh is a good source of the fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid. Avocados are rich in vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and vitamin E. They also provide the minerals magnesium (important for lower blood pressure), copper and iron. Avocados also contain the anti-carcinogenic antioxidant glutathione, as well as the beta-sitosterols to promote lower cholesterol levels.
Avocados and Potassium
Now, here’s something I bet your didn’t know - Avocados have more potassium than bananas. Half a medium avocado contains 549 mg potassium, while one medium banana provides 451 mg.
A diet high in potassium promotes a lower blood pressure by balancing out the sodium in your diet. A diet high in potassium can reduce systolic blood pressure ~4.4 mm Hg and diastolic pressure ~2.5 mm Hg. The more potassium in your diet the better your blood pressure will be. (FYI - If you have kidney issues discuss with your physician.)
Tips to Increase Avocado Intake
Increasing your intake of avocados is not difficult and is especially good if you use it to replace less healthy sources of fat.
For example, replace the butter or cream cheese on your bagel/bread with mashed avocado. You can also opt for avocado slices on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise.
You can also add avocados to salads or use as a dip for raw vegetables.
A word of caution:
Just because avocados are nutrient dense and good for your health, they are high in calories! They make a great addition to your diet . . . in moderation.
A serving of avocado is ~2 tablespoons (or about 1/6 an avocado). One serving provides 55 calories. So, enjoy, look for ways to add more to your regular diet, BUT don’t go overboard.
Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.