Since starting on my journey most days include either half or a full avocado. I have fallen in love with this rocket filled veg (actually its a fruit!) yet as a child growing up in the 70s and 80s they were viewed as the dieters nemesis.
So just how healthy are these little brown (or green) tear-drop shapped fruits?
Unlike most fruits, avocado consists mainly of healthy fats instead of carbohydrates. Who’d have thought?
An avocado contains a staggering 20 different vitamins and minerals:
- 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.
On top of this, small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
On average an avocado has 160 calories, 2g of protein and 15 healthy fats. Of its 9g carbohydrates, 7g are fibre making this a low-carb food. They are low in saturated fab and contain no cholesterol or sodium.
100g of avocado contains 14% of the RDA potassium. A high potassium intake has been linked to reduced blood pressure and helps maintain electrical gradients in cells. Bananas are typically considered to be high in potassium, however they only have 10% of the RDA.
So why are avocado’s considered fattening? Well they ARE a high fat food with 77% of the calories being fat, but is what sort of fat that’s important. In avocados the fat is mainly oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid (the main component of olive oil). Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
100g of avocado contains 7g of fibre (27% of the RDA). Fibre can contribute towards weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and avocados are considered to be high in fibre compared to other foods.
Cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure are all blood markers linked to a higher risk of heart disease. A number of human tests have been carried out on the effects of avocados on these blood markers. Avocados have been seen to significantly reduce cholesterol, reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%, lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22% and increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%.
Some vitamins such as A, D, E and K along with some antioxidants, need to be ingested with fats to be able to absorb them. In addition to having vitamins it is essential that the body is able to absorb them, i.e. moving them from the digestive tracks and into the body where they are needed. A study has shown that adding avocado to a salad can improve antioxidant absorption by 2.6 to 15-fold.
Avocados also contain high levels of antioxidants including nutrients Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are vital for protecting the eye. Studies have linked these nutrients to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
A number of studies have shown that extracts from avocado and soybean oil, called Avocado and Soybean unsaponifiables, can reduce symptoms of arthritis of the bones, called osteoarthritis.
Wow! Well it looks like avocados are pretty amazing and in addition to tasting great, for all the reasons above I will keep on eating avocados like they are going out of fashion – which I am sure they will at some point!