Janet Perry RHN, CSNC
The Mighty Avocado!
The Mighty Avocado!
Avocado is one of my top 5 favourite foods, and since it’s cold and snowy, I’ve been dreaming about beaches and eating fresh avocados.
Avocado is a unique fruit in that many fruits consist mainly of carbohydrates, but the avocado is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats.
Here are a few health benefits connected with incorporating avocados into your diet:
1. Avocados are Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Avocados are nutrition powerhouses containing a variety of nutrients, including: Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E as well as containing small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamins A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
Avocados are also high in fibre, the indigestible plant matter which contributes to weight loss, reduces blood sugar spikes, aids in lowering cholesterol, and supports digestive health.
Avocados don’t contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat.
2. Avocados Contain More Potassium Than Bananas
Potassium is an important nutrient that most people aren’t getting enough of. The health benefits of potassium include relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, and water balance.
Avocados are an excellent source of potassium with a 3 – 4 ounce serving containing 14% of the Recommended Daily Intake, compared to 10% in bananas.
3. Avocado is Packed with Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
77% of the calories in avocados are from healthy fats. Some of the benefits of including monounsaturated fats in your diet are a decreased risk for breast cancer, reduced cholesterol levels, lowered risk for heart disease and stroke, weight loss, and reduced belly fat!
The fats in avocado are fairly resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
4. The Fat in Avocados Helps in the Absorption of Nutrients from Plant Foods
Proper absorption of nutrients is essential for good health.
Some nutrients are “fat soluble,” meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be properly utilized. These include vitamins A, D, E and K. Therefore, not only is avocado a highly nutritious fruit, it can increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.
Studies have shown that eating avocado or avocado oil with veggies can dramatically increase the amount of antioxidants you take in.
5. Avocados are incredibly versatile
Avocados aren’t just healthy, they’re delicious and pair nicely with many foods. I often just cut one in half, remove the pit, add a splash of fresh lemon juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and eat it with a spoon. You can add them to salads, use them in your favourite smoothie recipe, use avocado and/or avocado oil in home-made salad dressings, and of course the most popular avocado recipe is guacamole.
Avocados are an amazing food, packed with nutrients which can help fill the nutrient gaps found in the modern day diet. So please think about picking up an avocado or two the next time you’re at the grocery store, you won’t regret it!