Why should one choose to eat avocados? It’s very simple. They’re good for you. Doctors recommend using avocados to replace other fat sources in your diet, instead of adding to them. Avocados contain a great deal of fat, called monounsaturated fat, but surprisingly, they can help lower your cholesterol. It may seem rather inconceivable that a fruit containing so much fat (up to 30 grams each) could be good for you, but none the less, it certainly can be. Another great reason they can lower cholesterol is that they are high in beta-sitosterol, which helps block the absorption of cholesterol from food, and the anti-cancer compound glutathione (a powerful antioxidant).
What other health benefits do avocados offer? They are also known to be a great source of folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene, potassium, and fiber as well.
What is folate and what does it do? Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for cell growth and reproduction.
What is lutein and what does it do? Lutein is an antioxidant that is believed to help protect the eyes from free radical damaged due to the sun’s harmful rays.
What is zeaxanthin and what does it do? Zeaxanthin is another antioxidant that is believed to help protect the eyes from free radical damage and also help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
What is beta carotene and what does it do? Beta carotene is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radicals.
What is potassium and what does it do? Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte which is essential for muscle function and balance of bodily fluids. It aids healthy electrical activity in the heart, helps keep blood pressure down, and aids in the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body.
What is fiber and what does it do? Fiber is nondigestible carbohydrates, which helps regulate digestion and cleanse waste products from the intestines.
Fun fact on avocados:
1) The avocado is native to Central and South America, dating back to around 8,000 B.C.
2) The avocado is also known as the “alligator pear”.
3) Although they are regularly placed in the vegetable section of the grocery store, they are actually a type of fruit grown on trees.
You may be wondering: How can I work avocados into my diet? An easy way to introduce it into your meal plan is to use it as a condiment. Mash up an avocado and spread it on your sandwiches instead of using the typical mustard or mayonnaise. Another possible option is to use mashed avocado on your baked potato instead of the typical sour cream or butter options. Maybe you’d even like to try putting a small amount of avocados in your salad. And don’t forget the all powerful avocado dip you can use for your chips!