—A Special Report from Victor Marchione, MD
While it’s true that the humble avocado packs more calories than any other fruit on the planet (yes, the avocado is a fruit — not a vegetable as most people think), they are actually chock full of healthy fat. Because avocados’ calories are mostly in the form of fat, many people choose to avoid eating them. But avocados contain a dose of healthy monounsaturated fats that are actually beneficial and very important to maintaining your good health. So don’t be afraid to add these amazing, creamy fruits to your diet.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to add avocados to your diet: they’re high in fruit oil, giving a high food energy value; they’re low in carbohydrates; and they contain 14 minerals that help regulate your body functions. Some of these nutrients include vitamins K, C and B6, fiber, potassium, copper, iron, and folate. And what’s great about avocados is that they contain no starch and little sugar.
Researchers have also discovered that avocados have a high content of phytochemicals with potential cancer-preventing effects. A team at the College of Medicine at Ohio State University tested this chemo-preventive activity on human oral cancer cell lines. The research team found that phytochemicals extracted from avocado meat caused cancer cells to die, but left normal human cells alive and healthy.
Another benefit of avocados? They could actually HELP you lower levels of bad cholesterol. Avocados could reduce painful inflammation caused by arthritic conditions, too. They are good for your heart, as their high potassium levels could help lower your blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
A half an avocado contains about 57 micrograms of folate. Folate, of course, is recommended for pregnant women, as it helps prevent life-threatening birth defects of the brain and spine. But moms-to-be are not the only ones who can benefit from eating folate-rich foods. Everyone needs folate to keep the nerves functioning properly.
One health tip about avocados: if you are still worried about the fat content, shop for Florida avocados, as they have about 2/3 of the calories and 1/2 the fat of avocados grown in California. Or buy those harvested between November and March, as these avocados may have as much as 1/3 of the fat of those picked in September or October.