There’s more to avocados than being the base to a creamy guacamole dip.
One avocado contains about 160 calories, two grams of protein, and 15 grams of monounsaturated (good) fat that helps lower bad cholesterol. These superfoods are also low in sugar, high in fiber, and contain nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals per serving, including:• Vitamin K: Helps build strong bones and prevents heart disease; one avocado contributes to about 26% of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA).• Folate: Helps with cell repair, which is especially important during pregnancy; one average-sized avocado contains 20% of your RDA.• Vitamin C: Helps build your immune system; one avocado contains 17% of your RDA.• Potassium: Lowers blood pressure; one avocado contains 100 grams of potassium, or 14% of your RDA, compared to only 10% that one banana provides.• Vitamin B5/B6: Keeps your body energized; one avocado contains 14% of your RDA.
Top Health Benefits of Avocados
1. Cancer prevention: The glutathione that is found in avocados can potentially kill or prevent the growth of pre-cancerous cells that can lead to oral cancer.2. Stabilizes blood sugar levels: Avocados are rich in dietary fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
3. Prevents birth defects: The folate in avocados can help reduce a baby’s risk of developing a “neural tube defect.” This is important because as the neural tube closes, it helps form the baby’s brain. For maximum results, it is recommended that women take up to 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate before they get pregnant. An avocado contains approximately 121.50 mcg of folate.
4. Maintains eyesight: Avocados contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help maintain proper eyesight as you age.
5. Low pesticide residue: Avocados are one of the fruits that are least likely to contain pesticide residues; they only have one percent contamination.
6. Weight loss: Research has shown that those who incorporate half an avocado with their lunch are 40% less likely to be hungry in the following three hours, and 28% less likely to eat in the following five hours! The high fiber content found in avocados (approximately 27% of your RDA) can help with digesting food and aid in weight loss.
7. Lowers cholesterol: Avocados are rich in oleic fatty acids, which have been shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels (without lowering the beneficial HDL cholesterol). This is especially helpful for diabetics to process glucose levels more effectively.
8. Improves heart health: Oleic acid can also help reduce high triglyceride levels in the blood, which is a predictor of cardiovascular disease. Since high cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease, avocado’s cholesterol-lowering abilities will keep your heart happy and healthy.
9. Improves sexual health: The healthy fats and nutrients found in avocados will keep your heart strong and your blood flowing. Avocados are rich in folic acid and vitamin B6, which can help regulate sex hormones. Furthermore, research shows that vitamin B6 and potassium can boost a man’s testosterone levels.
10. Promotes beautiful skin: This superfood can also be used as a fantastic topical treatment! Avocados are rich in D-manno-heptulose and glutamine amino acids; they will help cleanse your skin, boost collagen formation, and protect against environmental elements when used applied topically. Furthermore, the amino acids and carotenoid antioxidants found in avocados can help reduce the look of age spots and heal scars. To make a simple yet moisturizing avocado face treatment, take one avocado and mash the pulp. Spread the pulp evenly on your clean face and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then rinse it off with warm water.
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Herrington, D., “10 Health Benefits of this Superfruit,” Care2 web site, July 27, 2014; http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-this-incredible-superfruit.html.
Gunnars, K. “12 Proven Benefits of Avocado (No. 5 is Very Impressive),” Authority Nutrition web site; http://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/, last accessed June 17, 2015.
“5 surprising health benefits of eating avocados,” Best Health web site; http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/healthy-eating/5-surprising-health-benefits-of-eating-avocados?slide=1#A8MqchRdmWtXXLVL.97, last accessed June 17, 2015.
Herrington, D., “How to Use Avocado – Beauty Tips & Recipes For Healthy Skin and Hair,” Real Food For Life web site, July 25, 2014; http://realfoodforlife.com/how-to-use-avocado-beauty-tips-recipes/.