AVOCADOS are rich in folate, vitamin B6 and betacarotene. They also contain monounsaturated fat, which is a good type of fat, so you don’t need to worry about eating them. The health benefits of avocado are endless…
Calorie-wise they average around 300 calories, or 150 for half, so with a salad and slice of whole bread. you have a nice healthy lunch that should keep you going throughout the afternoon.
Rich in potassium, vitamins B and E as well as high in fibre, avocados may help protect against lung cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. They also contain good amounts of fibre, around 11g to 17g per fruit.
Although officially classed as a fruit, avocados are generally treated as a salad vegetable. They are high in fat, however most of this is the heart-friendly monounsaturated variety, or more specifically, oleic acid, an omega-9 fat also found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fat has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and diabetes. Those who have difficulty in digesting fats are usually fine with avocados.
An excellent source of vitamin E, avocados are also high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance which helps lower blood cholesterol levels and protect the prostrate. Vitamin E also helps prevent the oxidation of LDL, or bad cholesterol, and is important for healthy skin. This vitamin has also been shown to help boost fertility in men by protecting the sperm cell membranes from damage by free radicals and increasing sperm motility. For this reason avocados have been traditionally used for erectile dysfunction. Other uses include: constipation, nervousness and insomnia.
The Health Benefits of Avocado include Vitamin B6
Avocados also contain lutein, a carotenoid with natural antioxidant properties that help keep eyes healthy and also contribute to a healthy skin. One small avocado contains half the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6 which is essential to the central nervous system function. Low levels of B6 have been linked to depression and chronic fatigue. Anyone taking the contraceptive pill, or antibiotics, would be wise to add avocado to their diet as both these drugs increase the body’s need for vitamin B6.
Avocados are High in Fibre
They are also a good source of fibre – around 11 to 17g per fruit. Rich in potassium with two to three times that of bananas, avocados also contain good amounts of folate, vitamin A as well as beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.
Eating Avocados Reduces Lung Cancer Risk
Foods high in beta-cryptoxanthin protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and provide a good source of vitamin A. This carotenoid may also reduce the risk of lung cancer according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. The 2004 study found beta-cryptoxanthin reduced lung cancer risk by more than 30 percent in those with diets providing the highest amounts. Studies have also shown beta-cryptoxanthin providing a 41 percent reduction in the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
How to Reap the Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocado is excellent in salads, as a garnish, sandwich-filler or, of course, as guacamole. The small knobbly Haas varieties seem to have a nicer flavour than their smooth Fuerte cousins.
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