Is Avocado Healthy
Most people tend to agree when it comes to the consumption of avocados. This unique fruit currently reigns supreme as the “it” food of the moment. With its fleshy consistency and creamy texture, it has exquisite mouth feel. And it has a flavor that balances subtle sweetness with a savory taste that has much in common with natural proteins. The central ingredient in guacamole, avocado has been likened to a blend of vegetable and butter.
Avocado Healthy? Nutrition and Facts
But is avocado good for you? Most nutritionists and dietitians agree that avocado is exceptionally healthy. Studies have shown that this superfood boasts a wide spectrum of beneficial nutritional properties that can help keep your body running in top form while helping to prevent or mitigate a whole host of serious health concerns.
First and foremost, avocados are incredibly rich in nutrients. The National Nutrient Database of the USDA shows that one serving (approximately 40 grams or one-fifth of an average-sized avocado) contains a strikingly large number of vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C, E, K, and B6. Avocadoes also contain the antioxidant and vitamin A-producing agent beta-carotene and the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin. Both lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate specifically in the eye to help minimize damage from ultraviolet light.
Other nutritional benefits of avocados include high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with everything from rheumatoid arthritis to depression, and high levels of potassium, which aids in muscle development among other bodily processes. With nearly 3 grams of fiber per serving, an avocado can also go a long way to keeping your digestive system clean and running smoothly.
How to Eat Avocado
For maximum nutritional benefit and optimum flavor and texture, an avocado should be eaten soon after it ripens. You can test for ripeness by pressing on the exterior skin of your avocado. If it yields to gentle pressure, you should eat it within a day or two.
Like most fruits and vegetables, avocados pack the most nutritional punch in their raw and unprocessed natural state. Cooking or even heating an avocado can damage its delicate beneficial fats and eliminate many of its nutrients.
Luckily, there is no shortage of avocado recipes that call for the ingredient in the raw. Most guacamole recipes, for example, call for raw avocado. You can also enjoy a freshly cut and pealed avocado on its own, sprinkled with sea salt, drizzled with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or spiced with a dash of paprika.
If you want to use avocado in a recipe that calls for heat, try to cook it under the lowest temperature possible for the least amount of time possible. As suggested in many Mexican recipes, you can also add raw avocado to a dish that has already been cooked.
Avocado Benefits for weight loss
Perhaps just as important as what avocados contain is what they don’t contain. A single serving of avocado contains only 3.4 grams of carbohydrate and less than a gram of sugar. This makes the avocado a powerful ally in the fight against weight gain. In fact, a diet rich in avocado will help you loose weight by replacing the carb-heavy foods that you usually eat with a richly satisfying and filling alternative.
Although most of the avocado’s calories come from fat, don’t be alarmed. The fat in an avocado is healthy, mono-unsaturated fat that is an essential element of every cell in the human body. In addition to containing absolutely no cholesterol, this kind of fat has multiple health benefits from facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients to helping to boost the immune system.
Avocado Benefits for Skin & Hair
The consumption of mono-unsaturated fat has also been connected to the development and maintenance of beautiful skin and hair. Scientists have found that this form of healthy fat helps to maintain moisture levels in both the skin and the hair, while supplying the skin with basic microscopic building blocks that keep each cell healthy. In short, many of the nutrients in avocados act as humectants, drawing water into the skin and plumping it up to minimize the appearance of fine lines and lend skin a more youthful quality. But its high level of mono-unsaturated fat is only one of the reasons that the avocado is great for your skin.
Folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and K are just a few of the nutrients that help your skin looking great, feeling soft, and functioning at peak levels. Vitamin E, for example, has exceptional anti-oxidant properties that can protect skin from wrinkles and other forms of damage that commonly arise as a result of exposure to sun, smoke, and pollution.
Their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids make avocados a great food for both your skin and your hair. In addition to omega-3 and mono-unsaturated fat, avocados contain high levels of biotin (vitamin B7): a nutrient that not only makes hair shiny and healthy looking, but actually promotes new hair growth.
All told, if you want to look and feel great, you could do far worse that to introduce or keep avocados as part of your regular dietary regimen. This superfood is incredibly rich in many natural beauty factors that both genders can appreciate.
Avocado Benefits for Women
While women certainly benefit from the muscle building and heart health properties of the avocado detailed above, they also have much to gain from another important nutrient: calcium. Because women tend to have bones that are significantly smaller and thinner than men, they suffer from osteoporosis at disproportionate rates. The gap between male and female osteoporosis sufferers becomes even more pronounced after menopause, when women stop producing the bone-protecting hormone estrogen.
Of course, the greatest weapon we have against the scourge of osteoporosis is calcium. Each serving of avocado contains a whopping 13 milligrams of calcium, which goes a long way toward helping both women and men protect and maintain strong bones.
Women should also pay special attention to the ways in which avocados can help them during pregnancy and after birth. Avocados are an excellent source of folate: a nutrient that is extremely important during early pregnancy due to its ability to significantly reduce the risk of many birth defects. This superfood also contains higher amounts of non-essential compounds, such as fiber and lipid-soluble antioxidants, that have been linked to improvements in general maternal health, birth outcomes, and breast milk quality.
Avocado Benefits for Men
Although avocado’s muscle building properties are important for both men and women, men tend to push these properties further than their female counterpoints. And, with twice as much potassium as a banana per serving, the avocado is the body-builder’s friend when it comes to packing on the muscle.
But that’s not the only benefit of potassium that men, in particular, should pay attention to. Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, men are at a significantly increased risk. According to recent statistics gathered by the United States Center for Disease Control, between 70% and 89% of emergency cardiac events occur among males.
The potassium in an avocado has been known to reduce risk of heart attack and mitigate heart disease by reducing blood pressure and lowering levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. The healthy mono-saturated fats in avocado also play an important role in overall heart health. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommended consuming 0.5 to 1.5 avocado each day as the best way to lower levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol without decreasing levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.
Despite all these amazing health benefits, men might be most attracted to the avocado for its flavor. But that’s just fine, considering the fact that men are less likely to take a multivitamin or sacrifice taste for nutrition in their daily meals!
|Total lipid (fat)||0.69 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||2.1 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||1.9 g|
|Sugars, total||0.18 g|
|Glucose (dextrose)||0.08 g|
|Calcium, Ca||32 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.96 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||27 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||70 mg|
|Potassium, K||79 mg|
|Sodium, Na||6 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.92 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.157 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.188 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.6 ?g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||8.2 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.563 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.034 mg|
|Folate, total||36 ?g|
|Folic acid||0 ?g|
|Folate, food||36 ?g|
|Folate, DFE||36 ?g|
|Choline, total||14.4 mg|
|Vitamin B-12||0 ?g|
|Vitamin A, RAE||8 ?g|
|Carotene, beta||87 ?g|
|Carotene, alpha||6 ?g|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta||6 ?g|
|Vitamin A, IU||155 IU|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||0 ?g|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.02 mg|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||0 ?g|
|Vitamin D||0 IU|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||30.5 ?g|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.069 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.056 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.409 g|
|Alcohol, ethyl||0 g|