Avocados have so many different nutritional benefits that it can be easily considered a real superfood. Compared to other fruits, avocados contain very little sugars and their carbohydrate content is mainly dietary fibre.
The glycaemic index and load of avocado is expected to be about zero, which makes it a great ally food if we want to loose weight. In fact, adding a half avocado to your lunch has been reported to reduce hunger and desire to eat and increase satiation as compared to a control meal.
Moreover avocados contain a unique phytochemical called D-mannoheptulose, and research indicates that it may support blood sugar control and weight management.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
There are several preliminary clinical studies that have consistently demonstrated avocados benefits on cardiovascular health. This is primarily because avocados are very rich both in heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and in phytosterols, which are compounds with well documented LDL cholesterol lowering effects.
The consumption of half to one and a half avocados per day may in fact help maintain normal serum cholesterol in men.
Avocados are an extremely nutrient and phytochemical dense food. They are especially rich in mineral potassium, and adequate potassium intake may promote normal blood pressure in adults. They also contain the mineral magnesium, which is important for cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity.
Interestingly, avocados are one of the few foods that contain significant levels of both antioxidant vitamins E and C. Studies have shown that a combination of these vitamins may slow atherosclerotic progression.
Avocados are also very rich in xanthophylls, a class of carotenoids, which includes lutein and zeaxanthin. Xanthophills are fat-soluble antioxidants, which are protective of our cardiovascular health.
Lutein and xeaxanthin in addition are taken up into the macula of the eye and studies have shown that diets low in these phytochemicals may increase age related macula degeneration.
Xanthophylls may moreover have DNA protective effects, which may contribute to healthy ageing. Fruits and vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin have also been reported to be protective against cartilage defects, which are indicators of osteoarthritis, and protect the skin from damage from sun radiation.
The additional piece of good news is that the lutein and xeaxanthin in avocados appear to be more easily absorbed than most other fruit and vegetables sources, as avocado’s unique unsaturated fatty acid content is naturally designed to improve carotenoid intake.
For this reason, adding an avocado to your salad will also improve the absorption of all fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals present in other vegetables.
Since the total carotenoid concentration in avocados is highest in the dark-green flesh just below the skin, be careful, when you peel your avocado, not to peel off any flesh!
The phytochemical compounds present in avocados, which besides carotenoids and D-mannoheptulose include phenols and gluthatione, have been reported to have anti-carcinogenic activity. Gluthahione for instance is a potent antioxidant whose intake has been associated with decreased risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer.
Adding an avocado to your regular meal has also the unique health benefit of inhibiting inflammation. A recent study found that eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a hamburger significantly inhibited the production of an inflammatory compound called Interleukin-6, compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado.
Last but not least, avocados are one of the safest fruits to eat in terms of pesticides content. The avocado’s naturally thick skin protects the fruit very effectively from pesticides making avocado one of the safest fruit to buy conventionally-grown.