Most fruits are high in carbohydrates while avocados are high in healthy fats and can be used in all sorts of dishes due to its good flavour and rich texture. The main ingredient of avocado is in guacamole.
Avocado is really popular amongst health conscious individuals and is often referred to as a superfood. You can get all kinds of avocados with the most popular being Hass avocado and is often called the ‘alligator pear’ because of its pear shaped bumpy green skin! The yellow green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin is discarded. There are a wide range of nutrients inside an avocado including 20 different vitamins and minerals in 100gram (3.5 ounces), here are just some of them:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA
- Folate: 20% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA
Then small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin). The calorie content is 160, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats and 9 grams of carbohydrates. 7 of those are from fibre which is essential for keeping your bowels healthy, therefore making this a low- carbohydrate friendly plant food.
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and a low in saturated fats.
Did you know they contain more potassium than a banana. 100 grams (3.5 ounce) serving a 14% of the RDA compared to a banana which is 10% and is classed typically high in potassium. Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
77% of the calories in an avocado is from fats making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence. The majority of fat is Oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component in olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its beneficial effects. Oleic acid has been linked to reduce inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
The fat in avocado are also pretty resistant to heat- induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking. You can now get avocado oil!
Fibre is another nutrient found in avocado that can contribute to weight loss, reduced blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases. 25% of the fibre in avocado is soluble and 75% is insoluble.
Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
Heart disease is one of the most common cause of deaths in the world. There are several blood markers which are linked to increased risk such as cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers blood pressure and various others. Studies have shown avocados can:
- Reduce total cholesterol level significantly
- Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%
- Lower LDL (‘the bad’) cholesterol by up to 22%
- Increase HDL (‘the good’) cholesterol by up to 11%
These studies were done on small (13- 37 subjects) and short term (1-4 weeks) but the results are impressive.
Some nutrients are fat soluble meaning they need to be combined with fat in order to utilize in the body. These include vitamins A, D, E and K along with antioxidants like carotenoids.
Avocados are also loaded with powerful antioxidants that can protect the eyes. The nutrients Lutein and Zeaxanthin are incredibly important for eye health. Studies have shown that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly.