The Health Benefits of Eating Avocados

Did you know that the avocado is actually a fruit? It is unusual because most fruits are mainly carbohydrates, whereas avocado is mainly fat. But don’t freak out-it’s a good fat (monounsaturated).

Avocados also known as alligator pear or butter fruit have a creamy taste and are grown tropical and Mediterranean climates thought the world.

There are so many benefits to avocados that I could write a book! However, here are my 6 top reasons why you should include avocados in your diet:

1. A naturally nutrient dense food

1 cup of diced avocado contains:

240 Calories

22g Fat (3g of which is saturated and the rest is monounsaturated)

3g Protein

15mg Vitamin C (25% RDI)

10g Fibre (40% RDI)

31.5mcg Vitamin K (39% RDI)

122mcg Folate (30% RDI)

0.4mg Vitamin B6 (19% RDI)

2.1mg Vitamin B5 (21%) RDI)

3.1mg Vitamin E (16%)

727mg Potassium (21% RDI)*

*RDI refers to Recommended Daily Intake

It also contains smaller amounts of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. What a superfood !

2. Great for Heart Health

Avocados contain plant sterols called beta-sitosterol. Research shows that eating foods containing plant sterols help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. A cup of avocado contains 21% of your RDI of potassium. A high potassium intake can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and the incidence of stroke.

3. Helps Bone Health

Avocados contain a whopping 39% of your recommended daily amount of Vitamin K. Vitamin K increases calcium absorption and reduces urinary excretion of calcium. Studies have shown poor bone health including higher risk of fractures in participants with low intakes of Vitamin K. The potassium content in bananas also helps lower the risk of osteoporosis.

4. Helps Digestion

1 cup of avocado contains 40% of your RDI of fibre which is essential for a healthy digestive system and to keep things moving! A good fibre intake can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and colon cancer as well as contributing to weight loss.

Here I am picking avocados in Queensland, fresh off the tree!

5. Beneficial for Eye Health

Avocados are high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential for eye health and lower the risk of developing age-related conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts 

6. Great for Brain Health

Foods that contain high levels of folate have been shown to help lower the incidence of depression. 1 cup of avocado contains 30% RDI of folate. Folate also helps prevent excess homocysteine forming in the body, which can block other nutrients getting to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also block serotonin, dopamine and norephineprine-the body’s happy hormones !

Vitamin B6 is important for brain function and one cup contains 19% RDI. Not only that but studies show that participants that had a high intake of B Vitamins in their diet had a lower risk of dementia.

Studies show also that phytosterols made reduce the onset of Alzheimers.

Combine all these elements and you have an amazing superfood perfect for great brain health.

Avocado Tree in Queensland. Did you know avocados don’t ripen on the tree?

As an added bonus, avocados can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dessert! They are great mashed with lemon juice on top of toasted sourdough, made into a guacamole dip or even as a dessert.

Check out my chocolate avocado mousse recipe here

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