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Why you should eat avocado

Avocado is a ‘superfood’. It possesses excellent nutritional qualities as it contains high levels of unsaturated lipids, dietary fibers, vitamins, magnesium potassium and antioxidants. Eating avocado has been shown to be extremely healthy.

It is a fruit that grows on trees that originally came from Central America.

Here are the health benefits of eating avocado:

1. Prevention of ischemic heart disease and cardiovascular protection

Avocado has been shown to significantly reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood but increase the ‘good’ cholesterol levels (HDL) due to the action of phytosterols in avocado. Eating avocado can potentially improve your cholesterol profile and therefore have a very positive effect on the health of your heart, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Avocado does not contain cholesterol, is low in saturated fat and rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, good for the heart

Avocado is also high in potassium which has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

In addition avocado oil has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with metabolic syndrome (energy storage deregulation leading to obesity and its associated medical conditions).

Avocado therefore can help you maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

2. Protecting the skin

Fatty acids from avocado have been shown to protect against skin damage resulting from ultraviolet (UV) exposure. This property might potentially be useful both to help prevent skin cancers and as an antiaging tool. Moreover fatty acids from avocado oil displayed some capability in aiding wound healing. A combination of avocado oil and vitamin B12 was also observed to be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis (skin inflammation).  Avocado therefore appears to be beneficial in protecting the skin.

3. Protecting the eyes

Avocado contains carotenoids and are high in anti-oxidants and other nutrients which protect the function of the eye as we age. It has a role therefore for the health of the eyes as we age potentially reducing the chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

4. Beneficial to the joints

Avocado contains antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties that potentially might be useful in preventing or delaying the development of osteoarthritis (joint degeneration), another age-related condition.

Avocado also contains phytosterols (type of fat) which stimulate increase in the levels of prostaglandins. Prostaglandin is strongly anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation and pain in joints (as well as inflammations associated with the digestive tract, for example from food intolerance or sensitivities).

Avocado therefore is beneficial to your joints.

5. Helps control blood sugar

By its effect on prostaglandins, it affects insulin and therefore can indirectly help in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

6. Anticancer

Avocado displays a number of interesting anticancer properties.  It contains compounds like acetogenin and alkene lactone that have been shown to block the proliferation of breast and oral cancer cells in laboratory studies. Therefore avocado intake may potentially have benefits in cancer prevention

7. Weight loss, improved gastrointestinal health and improve general body metabolism

Avocado is high in fiber which in itself has so many health benefits, including helping digestion, and feeling satisfied after a meal. This will reduce hunger which is helpful for weight loss. And since it is high in monounsaturates (oleic acid) it has a positive affect on the distribution of fat in the body (some studies have shown that it reduces body fat distribution around the belly)

8. Feel healthy 

Studies have shown that people who regularly eat avocado tend to feel healthier and indeed tend to be healthier

9. Helps improve absorption of Vitamins A, D, E and K

These vitamins are known as ‘fat soluble’ vitamins and are better absorbed when combined with fats. Avocado is an excellent fat source. It also improves the absorption of anti-oxidants from the other foods you may be eating. Vitamin K helps the blood clot when one bleeds.

 Is Avocado fattening? Many people avoid eating avocado because they feel it will ‘make them fat’. Avocado is indeed a high fat food, probably one of the ‘fattest’ fruits. But the fat is a ‘monounsaturated’ fat, mostly oleic acid, with many health benefits, particularly for the heart. And other nutrients in avocado contribute to weight loss. A medium sized avocado contains about 25 grams of fat or about 225 calories, about 10% of the recommended daily caloric intake. But since most of the fat in avocado is good fat, healthy for the body, you should be encouraged to eat avocado.

 Here’s a trick to get a hard avocado soft quickly so that you can enjoy it sooner. Simply keep the avocado wrapped in a paper bag and they will soften in a day or so. The reason? Avocados produce ethylene, a gas which ripens them. So if kept stored in the paper bag the gas doesn’t quickly disappear and so it ripens quickly

Cook with Avocado oil? Avocado oil was said to be healthy for cooking as the fats in avocado are mostly resistant to the oxidation caused by the heat. But recent evidence suggests it may not be healthy to cook with avocado oil

Sources:

Isolation and chemical identification of lipid derivatives from avocado (Persea americana) pulp with antiplatelet and antithrombotic activities. Rodriguez-Sanchez DG, Flores-García M, Silva-Platas C, Rizzo S, Torre-Amione G, De la Peña-Diaz A, Hernández-Brenes C, García-Rivas G. Food Funct. 2014 Oct 16. [Epub ahead of print]

Avocado oil supplementation modifies cardiovascular risk profile markers in a rat model of sucrose-induced metabolic changes. Carvajal-Zarrabal O, Nolasco-Hipolito C, Aguilar-Uscanga MG, Melo-Santiesteban G, Hayward-Jones PM, Barradas-Dermitz DM. Dis Markers. 2014;2014:386425. doi: 10.1155/2014/386425. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.556759.

Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols derived from avocado suppress inflammatory response and provide non-sunscreen protection against UV-induced damage in skin cells. Rosenblat G, Meretski S, Segal J, Tarshis M, Schroeder A, Zanin-Zhorov A, Lion G, Ingber A, Hochberg M. Arch Dermatol Res. 2011 May;303(4):239-46. doi: 10.1007/s00403-010-1088-6. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Effect of semisolid formulation of persea americana mill (avocado) oil on wound healing in rats. de Oliveira AP, Franco Ede S, Rodrigues Barreto R, Cordeiro DP, de Melo RG, de Aquino CM, E Silva AA, de Medeiros PL, da Silva TG, Góes AJ, Maia MB. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:472382. doi: 10.1155/2013/472382. Epub 2013 Mar 19.

Vitamin B(12) cream containing avocado oil in the therapy of plaque psoriasis. Stücker M, Memmel U, Hoffmann M, Hartung J, Altmeyer P. Dermatology. 2001;203(2):141-7.

Novel anticancer alkene lactone from Persea americana. Falodun A, Engel N, Kragl U, Nebe B, Langer P. Pharm Biol. 2013 Jun;51(6):700-6. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2013.764326. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Aliphatic acetogenin constituents of avocado fruits inhibit human oral cancer cell proliferation by targeting the EGFR/RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK1/2 pathway. D'Ambrosio SM, Han C, Pan L, Kinghorn AD, Ding H. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Jun 10;409(3):465-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.05.027. Epub 2011 May 8.