Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is a goal we should all be striving to meet every day. Unfortunately for most of us, it’s hard to meet even our most basic, daily nutritional needs because of our busy lifestyles however; there is one food we can add to our diet that helps to meet them … the unassuming avocado.
Also referred to as the alligator pear, the avocado originates from South America. It grows on a tree known as the Persea Americana who’s fruit can vary in weight from 8 ounces to 3 lbs. Cutting open the dark green, leathery outer peel reveals a soft, light green, buttery flesh that is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and “good” fats, the avocado is rightfully haled as the world’s most perfect food.
Here are ten health benefits of adding avocado to your diet:
Avocado is beneficial to the skin when ingested as well as being applied topically. It is rich in skin-soothing emollients as well as vitamins A, D, and E, which all aid in cellular repair and general skin health.
Making a facial mask of avocado is easy and helps to minimize wrinkles. With its highest concentration of skin aiding vitamins being located in the darker green flesh that clings to the skin … you will want to scrape this off of the skin and use it in your mask. Oil is also pressed from the seed of the avocado and is available at most health food stores. It’s perfect for soothing irritated skin and scalp as well as added to prepared dishes.
2.Aiding in Weight Loss
Avocados are a relatively high calorie food it’s true, however … more than two-thirds of its fats are derived from monounsaturated fats like oleic acid. These fats are much more likely to be converted to a slow burning, sustained energy source than converted to stored fat. Increasing monounsaturated fats in your diet have been shown to improve glycemic index and insulin sensitivity which can help improve your chances of avoiding obesity and diabetes.
Avocado is also a great way to reduce hunger. By processing all of the vitamins in avocado, the body takes more time to digest it, leaving you feeling full longer. Its high fiber content increases feelings of satiety so you’re less likely to feel hungry quickly after eating a meal.
Avocados are full of folate from which comes folic acid. Folic acid is essential for health and brain development of a healthy fetus.
Women wishing to get pregnant are advised to take folic acid supplements but you can get the same benefits of the supplements from adding avocado to your diet. Consuming avocado during pregnancy is not only great for your developing baby but due to its high fiber content, it can actually help pregnant women avoid hemorrhoids.
Speaking of fiber … avocados are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber works to attract water and forms a gel which slows down digestion, keeping you feeling full longer which also helps to control weight, balance insulin and blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber is gut healthy fiber that has a laxative effect. It is indigestible fiber that moves, intact, through the gut to help prevent constipation.
An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Byproducts of this oxidation are called free radicals which have been linked to cancer in humans and animals. Antioxidants are important in fighting signs of aging, inflammation and helping with weight loss. Due to their inhibition of oxidation, free radicals are not released so it is believed they also help fight cancer and heart disease.
Foods that are high in monounsaturated fats, like the avocado, are often high in antioxidants as well to help prevent the fats from oxidizing.
As mentioned earlier, avocados are vitamin rich. They contain high levels of vitamins A, D and E.
Vitamin A is great for eye health while vitamin D is good for skin and bone health while vitamin E is perfect for the overall health and soothing of the skin.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and function … avocados are one the best sources for these fatty acids.
Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which occur in avocados, have been clinically proven to stop-p Alzheimer’s disease from progressing and possibly reverse the early stages. For this reason, avocados are considered one of the best brain healthy foods you can consume.
Because avocados are so rich in soluble fiber, adding them to your diet can help you avoid diabetes.
The soluble fiber acts to slow down digestion which also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and has been noted to have a beneficial effect on insulin levels. Maintaining constant blood sugar and insulin levels can help you to keep the weight off which, in turn, helps you avoid diabetes from obesity.
Avocados are great for eye health. Eating them seems to increase your levels of Lutein in your blood which can aid in the prevention of macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts.
With its high levels of vitamin A and E, consuming them aids in overall eye health as well.
Finally, avocados can reduce your cholesterol. This seems strange for a food so high in fats but as stated earlier, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and soluble fiber.
Monounsaturated fats and soluble fiber help to control the “bad” cholesterol by being heart healthy and by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol respectively.
So there you have it. Avocados just may be nature’s most perfect food, so why don’t you try to add some to your diet today!