Avocados are a stone fruit with a creamy texture that grows in warm climates. They are low in sugar and contain fiber. Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene and omega 3 fatty acids. Their potential health benefits include improving digestion, decreasing risk of depression, and protection against cancer.
Although most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, but are full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full and satiated. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable. Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system.
Health Benefits Of Avocado
Healthy for the heart:
Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Great for vision:
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are specially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes where they provide antioxidants protection to help minimize damages, including from ultraviolet light. As the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta carotene, adding avocados to your diet helps to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Lowers risk of depression:
Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression because folate helps to prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which regulates mood, sleep and appetite.
Despite its creamy texture, an avocado is actually high in fiber with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit. Eating foods with natural fiber helps prevent constipation and maintains a healthy digestive tract, and also lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool. Dietary fiber may also play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation.
Potential health risks of consuming avocado
It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and for achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health. If you are taking blood-thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin), it is important that you do not suddenly begin to eat more or less foods containing vitamin K, which plays a large role in blood clotting.