Avocados, also known as alligator pears during colloquial times, are one of the healthiest fats on earth offering a multitude of benefits for overall health. They are also great for those eating a primarily vegetarian or vegan diet as they provide the fat necessary to feel satiated after a plant based meal. For far too long, many people have been convinced that fats are bad. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to good quality fats, which our bodies need to thrive. More accurately, it is trans fats found in processed foods that will lead to weight gain. Today, I'd like to share 5 reasons why avocados are one of my favorite health foods on earth.
1. Nutrient Rich
Not only are avocados packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients, they are also surprisingly high in protein containing 18 amino acids. Since they also have high fiber content, this allows the protein to be easily digestible whereas meat protein tends to be difficult to digest and absorb correctly. Avocados also contain an extensive mix of carotenoids, providing an excellent source of antioxidants. They are particularly rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium (double the amount found in bananas), folate, and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). Avocados are also extremely low in sugar even though they are considered a fruit, with less than 2g of carbohydrates per avocado.
2. Healthy Fat
One of the best things about the avocado is that when you eat one you generally feel full.
This is because the body needs fat to not only feel satiated, but also to transport nutrients to the cells, keep the body warm, maintain proper hormone and immune system function and support mental wellbeing. Fat is also a necessity for the absorption of all of the nutrients listed above which are fat-soluble. For example, those eating a salad with avocado will absorb 200-400% more of the nutrients contained in the other vegetables.
3. Prevent Disease
Due to their unique fat composition, avocados are also anti-inflammatory in nature. This makes them especially beneficial for those with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Avocados are also high in oleic acid (over half the fat content), which benefits the digestive tract and supports the transport of carotenoids in the body. Both the omega 3 (in the form of ALA) and oleic acid found in avocados support heart health, lowering the risk of heart disease. Healthy fats also boost HDL (good cholesterol), protecting against free radical damage and regulating triglyceride levels (necessary in the prevention of diabetes). Some studies suggest that the unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients may also prevent cancer. This is because they may play a role in keeping non-cancerous cells healthy while supporting the death of those considered cancerous.
4. Promote Healthy Skin
Avocados are also great for skin health and anti-aging. The oil found in avocados can actually prevent wrinkles when applied to the skin topically. Avocado is also an effective moisturizer and can be mashed and utilized like a facial mask, left for 10 minutes on the skin and then rinsed off for smooth glowing skin. Those with eczema or extremely dry skin may benefit from the use of avocado in this way. Avocados work both from the inside and out to improve skin tone, prevent dryness and slow visible signs of aging.
5. Many Ways to Enjoy
There are many delicious ways to consume avocados. The most obvious is on top of a salad or mixed with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic and lemon to make guacamole. However, avocado is also great for thickening raw, blended soups, spreads, salad dressings and sauces. It is also surprisingly a great replacement for butter, cream and eggs in desserts. You'll find it as a "tasteless" yet healthy ingredient in pudding, mousse and other raw vegan desserts.
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