Ever wonder about the health benefits of avocado? Avocado belongs to the plant species known as Persea Americana. They can be classified into 3 main categories based on where they originated from, for instance, West Indies avocados were first grown in tropical lowland and subtropic countries like Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. However, due to continuous hybridization and cross germination, most varieties that are available today aren’t pure forms but rather blends of these different breeds.
When ripe they are known to have a rich creamy texture which comes mainly from their high fat ratio. Nevertheless, not all of them are similar in terms of calorie content. Small sized fruits tend to be much oilier than their larger counterparts. Check out these 6 health benefits of avocado.
Health Benefits of Avocado
1. Rich Source of Carotenoids
They contain decent amounts of carotenoids which help prevent cardiovascular diseases, their high fat content also promotes faster absorption of these nutrients. If you’re consuming an avocado-free snack that contains little fat and more carotenoids, adding a few chops of avocado on top will be helpful in improving the absorption rate of carotenoids and vitamin A. Avocadoes also pack phytonutrients that form the major pulp of this fruit, these phytosterols include stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, campesterol and polyhydroxylated alcohols. The product is also a rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, which comprise 60% of the overall fat content present in this food.
2. Improves Digestion
Scientists believe that avocados soothe the intestines and promote better digestion, they also contain lots of soluble & insoluble fibers which help keep the digestive tract running smoothly. These 2 types of fiber have the ability to bulk up stool, hence ensuring smooth passage of digested food along the intestines.
Furthermore, they stimulate the stomach’s digestive juices so that essential nutrients are absorbed much faster and in an efficient way. They also reduce symptoms associated with gut disorders like diarrhea and constipation. Generally, the high amounts of fiber found in avocados make this food important for boosting digestive health. The product is best taken alongside other vegetables and fruits, mainly because it promotes better absorption of ingredients found in these other foods. Furthermore, absorption of carotenoid antioxidant elements which help protect the body from free radical damage increases up to five times over when salad is taken alongside avocado. Therefore, adding a few sliced pieces on top of your dessert is a nice way of making your meals more nutritious. As such, the fruit functions as a great appetizer since it prepares digestive tract system to work optimally before taking meals.
Make sure to also check out our article on the benefits of mint for digestion.
3. Natural Remedy for Diabetes
Diabetes is a major health problem in America today where approximately 19 million people suffer from the disease, with another 7 million believed to be un-diagnosed. This according to statistics from the National Institute of Diabetes. Some primary symptoms of undetected insulin deficiency include dry mouth, leg pain, rapid weight loss and vision problems. If you experience any of these then avocado might just be the answer. However, in case symptoms persist feel free to consult a doctor for more advice.
Monounsaturated fats present in avocados can boost your cholesterol reversal process, as well as prevent insulin resistance which is a key contributor to type 2 diabetes. Moreover, high amounts of soluble fiber found in avocados can help improve blood glucose levels in patients. Avocados contain oleic acid which has the same health effect on insulin sensitivity as monounsaturated lipids. Despite the said benefits, do not take it in excess or even overripe avocados.
4. Promotes Good Vision
A single ounce of avocado contains approximately 81 micro grams of compound lutein, which has been shown to prevent macular degeneration that otherwise occurs as we age. Through adding the food to everyday salads and soups, you can get sufficient amounts of phytonutrients to aid in your eyesight. Together with carotenoids and zeaxanthin, this ingredient filters out harmful high-energy blue waves of light and generally acts as a free-radical remover in the eyes. Helping to protect and nourish healthy cells and also prevent cataracts.
Of all the 600 carotenoids that naturally occur in nature, only 2 are deposited in ample quantities within the retina. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t have compounds that synthesize zeaxanthin and lutein which it requires. That’s why daily intake through proper dieting is essential for maintenance of good eyesight. Furthermore, a recent study found that women who took avocado more often were 23% less likely to develop nuclear cataracts condition, which is hardening of eye lenses. Additionally, vitamin E in the fruit helps safeguard the eyes from retinopathy that damages the retina as the name suggests.
5. Prevents Breast Cancer and Birth Defects in Newborns
Avocados perfectly fit in the list of anti-cancer foods, they contain concentrated levels of carotenoids, an organic fat-soluble pigment found in plants and known to significantly lessen the risk of contracting breast cancer. They have been shown to have chemopreventive properties on malignant cells, as well as inhibit the growth of androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells. These fruits are also rich in cytochrome P-450s, the enzymes involved in estrogen and drug metabolism.
In addition, research shows that avocados may significantly lower the risk of delivering babies with birth defects. This is made possible by the high quantities of folate found in this product compared to other fruits. Half an avocado serving has 10 % the total folate portion pregnant women require per day in order to stay healthy, it has been shown to lessen the risk of birth abnormalities like spina bifida.
6. Enhances Cardiovascular Health
Nutrition experts believe that high intake of pro-inflammatory refined vegetable oils play a significant role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They advise reducing the intake of polyunsaturated fats, and increasing amounts of healthy monounsaturated lipids in the diet. Avocado is a good source of mono-unsaturated oleic fatty acid and its oil can be used as a healthier substitute for traditional cooking fats. It reduces LDL cholesterol levels inside the bloodstream, while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol amounts. The fruit also decreases high blood triglycerides, which is yet another indicator of cardiovascular problems.
Eating high fatty acid foods like avocado can significantly lower the ratio of bad fats in your system, with results shown in benefits such as improved skin tone, better weight loss management and much more.
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