What is Avocado?
Avocados are a stone fruit with a creamy texture that grow in warm climates and are often a feature of Mexican and South American cuisine. Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, the versatile avocado is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Health Benefits of Avocado
Better Hormonal Balance and Cognitive Function: Fatty acids play an important role in regulating central nervous system functions, reproductive health and cognitive processed because they impact hormone levels and help balance hormones naturally. As a consequence, your moods are also benefited when you eat enough healthy fats. Eating whole-food, natural fat sources is one key to following an anti-depression diet, while also boosting fertility and your mood, because various neurotransmitters and hormones are synthesized from fatty acids within the diet.
Great for vision: Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes, where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from ultraviolet light. As the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also supports the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants such as beta-carotene, including avocados as part of a healthy diet may help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Osteoporosis prevention: Half of an avocado provides approximately 25% of the daily-recommended intake for vitamin K, a nutrient that is often overlooked, but which is essential for bone health. Vitamin K is often overshadowed by calcium and vitamin D when thinking of nutrients important for maintaining healthy bones, however, eating a diet with adequate vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.3
Cancer: H, low levels of which have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Adequate intake of folate from food has also shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic and cervical cancers.
Although the mechanism behind this apparent reduction in risk is currently unknown, researchers believe that folate protects against undesirable mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division.
Avocados helps protect against eye disease: Avocados are packed with carotenoids and are great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease. They also contain the related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as tocopherol (vitamin E).
But avocados aren’t just a rich source of carotenoids by themselves-they also help you get more of these nutrients from other foods. Carotenoids are lipophilic (soluble in fat, not water), so eating carotenoid-packed foods like fruits and vegetables along with monounsaturated-fat-rich avocados helps your body absorb the carotenoids. An easy way to do this is to add sliced avocado to a mixed salad.
Lower risk of depression: Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression as folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite.
Improved digestion: Despite its creamy texture, an avocado is actually high in fiber, with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit. Eating foods with natural fiber can help to prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer.
Uses of Avocado
- Avocado is a very versatile fruit.
- Its creamy flavour goes well with many foods, making it a refreshing and nutritious addition to various recipes.
- They have nourishing and moisturizing properties
- Oil extracted from its flesh (avocado oil) can have many cosmetic uses.