The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Mexico and Central America.
Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Avocados are well known for their numerous health benefits, as well as for their delicious taste. No matter if you eat them raw or juice them, avocados should be part of your daily diet, since they will increase you mineral and vitamin intake, and will also lower the long-term risk for various diseases and ailments – including some that can be fatal. If you are still not sure whether you should start eating avocados regularly, here are six strong reasons to do so:
1. Avocados Are Very Rich in Carotenoids
Avocados contain a plethora of nutrients, and carotenoids (lutein, in particular) are certainly the most important ones, given the fact that they protect you against eye disease. Your sight is by far one of your most valuable assets, and while it is true that it inevitably degrades as we age, there is something we can do to slow down the process and even reverse eye disease, in certain cases. As is often the case, it starts with a good, balanced and nutritious diet – one that involves eating at least one avocado per day, since this is undeniably the best way to get the carotenoids (from lutein and alpha-carotene to beta-carotene, tocopherol and zeaxanthin) that your body so much needs. Besides this, avocados taste great, and you can easily add them to your salad – this is certainly the best way to increase your daily lutein intake, rather than resorting to pills and dietary supplements.
2. Avocados Are Great for Lowering Your Cholesterol
As you may already know, there are two types of cholesterol: the ‘good’ cholesterol and the ‘bad’ cholesterol. The latter can wreak havoc on your arteries and your vital organs, if you don’t do something about it. It often happens that fatty foods and sugar are the main culprits behind high levels of bad cholesterol, but fortunately you can easily keep it under control by simply eating avocados on a regular basis. By consuming avocados, you lower your cholesterol in a fast, efficient, natural and side-effect-free way – mainly due to the high amounts of oleic acid present in this delicious fruit. By lowering your level of LDL cholesterol due to its high folate content, avocados will also lower your risk of developing heart disease.
3. Avocados Are Your Greatest Allies in the Battle Against Extra Pounds
If you are trying to lose some weight, there is no easier way to do it than by consuming more avocados, and for a good reason. These fruits are very rich in fiber, which are known to fill your stomach and make you feel full for a long period of time. On average, one medium-sized avocado contains around 7 grams of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fibers are essential for the health of your immune system – especially the soluble ones, since they help your body break down carbohydrates. On the other hand, the oleic acid content described earlier also ‘tricks’ your mind into thinking that you are full, which means you will likely reduce your average food intake. This feeling of satiety is precisely what makes avocados your greatest allies in the battle against those extra pounds.
4. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a condition that affects millions of people around the world, and unfortunately it is often ignored due to the fact that it is asymptomatic, which means that it typically has no noticeable signs whatsoever. However, many people neglect their hypertension until it is too late and it has already caused extensive damage to their heart, veins and arteries. Avocados can help lower your blood pressure in a natural and efficient way, since they are very rich in potassium and magnesium – two essential compounds for treating hypertension. As a matter of fact, avocados are richer in these two nutrients than most other fruits, such as bananas or kiwis.
5. Avocados Will Improve Your Blood Flow and Keep Your Brain Healthy
These two aspects are interconnected, since a brain can only be healthy if the blood flows correctly throughout the body. However, impaired blood circulation is very common these days, and avocados can help improve your blood flow, despite being a fatty food that has a high caloric index. This is why avocados are highly recommended for both adults and the elderly, since it can prevent or at least slow down the decline of your cognitive abilities.
6. Avocados Can Reduce the Risk for Breast Cancer
The incidence rate of breast cancer has increased a lot over the past several years, and this is known to be one of the most aggressive types of cancer out there. Fortunately, a balanced diet that includes at least half an avocado per day can reduce the risk for breast cancer, thanks to their high content of monounsaturated oleic fatty acid, vitamin E and lutein. Not only are avocados rich in carotenoids, but they also help your body absorb the carotenoids from other fruits and vegetables. These ‘superfoods’ are also great for preventing prostate cancer, and it is believed they can even be added as part of the treatment scheme for the disease because the tocopherol content in avocados inhibit the growth of androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The vitamin E also turns off what are known as ‘signaling agents,’ which stimulate the production and reproduction of cancer cells, thus slowing the progression of this potentially fatal disease.
To sum it all up, avocados should become part of your daily diet, regardless of how you choose to consume them. No matter if you eat avocados because of their unique taste or simply because you care about your health and overall well-being, these superfoods will certainly benefit you in the long run. However, you must be careful not to exceed the recommended daily amount of avocados, since these fruits are very fatty and could have the opposite effect in great amounts – especially if consumed for their weight-loss properties and high fiber content.
Text Courtesy: lifespan.com