Persea americana, commonly known as the Avocado or Alligator Pear, is a tree native to Mexico and Central America and has been cultivated for its densely nutritional fruit for thousands of years. The ancient Aztecs considered the avocado to be a fertility food and the Mayans used it as an aphrodisiac. Already back then it was well known that avocado was a Super Food!
So, what is so super about avocado?
Well, it is one of the few fruit (yes, avocado is classified a fruit and not a vegetable) that can provide high amounts of protein and good fats. Most fruits and vegetables contain more carbohydrates than anything, but not the avocado. In fact, about 75% of an avocado’s energy comes from fat, most of which (67% of total fat) is monounsaturated fat as oleic acid (Also known as Omega 9). Oleic Acid is well known is the scientific community to be beneficial in the prevention of cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as its ability to facilitate wound healing.
Avocados also provide high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Based on equal weight, avocados actually contain 35% more potassium than bananas. They are rich in folic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin K, and they are good dietary sources of other B vitamins, vitamin C as well as vitamin E. They contain high levels of dietary fiber – 75% insoluble and 25% soluble fiber and are chock full of phytochemicals such as lutein, phenolic antioxidants, and phytosterols which are associated with numerous potential health benefits. Below is the complete nutritional value of the avocado.
Another bonus is that, according to the EWG database, avocados are rated to contain the least pesticide residue out of 48 tested fruits and vegetables meaning that you can buy this fruit non organically and feel good about not getting a significant dose of pesticides along with it. This is due to its inherently thick skin which prohibits the pesticides from entering its flesh.
There have been many scientific studies proving the many, many health benefits of eating this nutritional powerhouse on a regular basis. Below are just 5 main scientific reasons why you should include avocado into your daily diet.
As mentioned earlier, avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is considered to be a “good fat” which helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and can lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
A 7-day study with 67 adult participants (30 healthy adults with cholesterol in normal ranges and 27 adults with mild hypercholesterolemia) were put on a on an avocado enriched diet. The results showed a 16% decrease in overall cholesterol levels in the healthy individuals and a 17% decrease in the subjects with mildly elevated cholesterol levels as well as a decrease in LDL-cholesterol (22%) and triglycerides (22%) and increase of HDL-cholesterol (11%).
Due to the avocados combination of nutrients of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) dietary fiber, essential nutrients and phytochemicals, the consumption of these fruit have shown to significantly improve risk factors that can lead to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
A study with more than 17,500 participants showed that avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a term used when several risk factors are combined resulting in an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. The results of the study showed that body weight, BMI, and waist circumference were significantly lower (p < 0.01), and HDL-C was higher (p < 0.01) in people who ate avocados on a regular basis.
There have been several studies that show the consumption of avocados support weight loss.In a study with animals fed a high fat diet, one group having added avocado extract, the results showed that the animals with added avocado extract to their diet had a significantly lower BMI as well as cholesterol levels.
Another study – a randomized single-blind crossover design study – with 26 healthy overweight adults showed significant results. The study was designed to see if by adding just ½ an avocado to a lunch meal would have an impact on satiety and overall feeling of fullness. The results were remarkable. The group who had avocado included in their meals had an increased satisfaction by 26% and decreased their desire to eat by 40%.
Along with asparagus, avocados are the foods that contain the highest levels of glutathione. Research has shown that glutathione, a very powerful antioxidant, along with other healthful nutrients found in the avocado may prevent cancer. Studies using extracts from the Hass avocado was shown to prevent or even kill precancerous cells that could lead to oral cancer.
Another study using the American Hass avocado variety (the most commonly sold) was found to contain the highest content of lutein among commonly eaten fruit as well as measurable amounts of related carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene). Lutein accounted for 70% of the measured carotenoids, and the avocado also contained significant quantities of vitamin E. These nutrients were found to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth in vitro.
These wonder fruit are definitely an amazing contribution to young and beautiful skin. Several compounds contribute to this. They can be used topically as masks as well as eaten for this purpose.
Avocados are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha carotene, beta carotene, astaxanthin, beta cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These powerful antioxidants can help with protection from environmental cofactors that contribute to accelerated aging of the skin such as fine lines and wrinkles.
In a German study from 2012, it was shown that adding high amounts of the above mentioned carotenoids to one’s diet could vastly improve the density, thickness, tone and general appearance of the skin. These are all nutrients present in large amounts in the avocado fruit.
Furthermore, it is evident that Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen and elastin. Vitamins E and C have also been researched as they are both powerful factors in the prevention of UVB damage aka sunburns! Both compounds are essential in keeping youthful skin.
One of the main benefits of avocado for skin health, however, lies in the content of monounsaturated fatty acids. Especially high in avocado oil, MUFAs are wonderful for maintaining moisture helping to keep the skin soft and supple and delays the onset of fine lines and wrinkles!.
These are just a few of the reasons why you should eat avocados. Many more studies are being done that show how avocados play a positive role in many emerging areas including skin, eye, joint and cellular health.
So, if you are not already on the avocado wagon, start today with this unusual recipe using avocado. You won’t believe what it is!
Also, here is an effective yet easy anti-aging avocado mask recipe to help you stay young and beautiful! 🙂
About the Author: Tinna Hawkins is a 9th generation Wise Woman and an avid health nut! For the last 13 years, she has been helping people with their health as a Wellness Consultant. She is a strong proponent of traditional and ancestral nutrition, cooking from scratch, medicinal herbs and essential oils, yoga, meditation, toxin-free personal and home care products, an active lifestyle, supplementation and a positive outlook on life! Together with her husband, Dr Budweiser, they own and operate Weiser Living. www.weiserliving.com
Tinna ‘LadyHawk’ Hawkins is a 9th generation Wise Woman and an avid health nut! For the past one and a half decades she has been helping people with their health as a Wellness Consultant. She is a strong proponent of traditional and ancestral nutrition, cooking from scratch, herbal medicine and essential oils, yoga, meditation, toxin-free personal and home care products, an active lifestyle, supplementation and a positive outlook on life! Together with her husband, Dr. Budweiser, they own and operate Weiser Living.
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