The avocado has become really popular in the last few years. They are available in many varieties, the most popular of all is the creamy Hass variety. It’s often called “alligator pear”, as it tends to be pear-shaped and has bumpy, green skin like an alligator. There is no end of health benefits the avocado is capable of delivering, making it one of the best fruits on the planet. Yes, you heard right: the avocado is technically a fruit, even more specifically, a large berry with a single seed. It is the only fruit in the world that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fats. It is also packed with fiber, antioxidants and heart-healthy minerals like potassium -- and that is just the beginning of the long list of health benefits of avocados.
➀ Your Heart Loves Avocados
Unlike other fruits, avocados are very high in fat. With the exception of the coconut, they are the highest fat fruit in existence. But don’t worry, not all fats are created equally. Our bodies need fat -- more specifically, they need healthy fats. Most of that fat in avocados come from a heart-healthy type of monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet is abundant in monounsaturated fats and is one of the healthiest diets known to man. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and contribute to good heart health. When eaten in place of unhealthy saturated and trans fats, monounsaturated fats can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol.
➁ Contains More Potassium than Bananas
You have probably heard that bananas are packed with potassium, which is true. But it’s not the only way to load up on this essential mineral. A single avocado has 900mg of potassium, while a banana, delivers just half that, with 450mg per fruit.
Potassium is an essential electrolyte, a mineral your body needs to function correctly. It is especially important for your nerves and muscles, including your heart.
By amping consumption of potassium-rich foods, we can cut the risk of high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
➂ Fat is Good for Your Brain
Have trouble remembering where you left your keys? Try some avocados. They’re a goldmine of nutrients that are good for your brain health.
Avocados are an excellent source of vitamins your brain needs like vitamin E, K, and the B complex vitamins. They help prevent blood clots in the brain as well as help us improve concentration and memory. Avocados are also high in tyrosine, a brain chemical that keeps you focused and motivated.
Our brains are composed of 60 percent fat. That being said, it should come as no surprise that healthy dietary fats are crucial for good mental health. Fats help carry the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) to the brain. If your diet provides sufficient amounts of “good” fats, your brain cells can function at their peak capacity.
➃ May Help with Weight Loss
Avocados are fairly calorie-dense. One full medium fruit has 240 calories and 24 grams of fat. Therefore, at first glance, it seems counterintuitive that avocados can help you lose weight.
But research shows eating avocado may help knock off stubborn fat. The researchers discovered that people who eat avocados were 33 percent less likely to be overweight or obese and 32 percent less likely to have an elevated waist circumference compared to non-consumers. On average avocado consumers weighed 7.5 lbs less, had 1.2 inches smaller waist circumference and 1 unit less in their BMI.
Avocados can also help control your appetite, as they pack a highly dense nutritional punch. A study showed that eating half a fresh avocado during lunch increased satiety, reducing the desire to overeat. In addition, they keep you full longer and make you less likely to snack between meals.
Remember, losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. If you want to drop a few pounds, avocados are all right to incorporate into your diet, but use them in moderation, just as you would any other type of “good” fat.
Try to use healthy avocados to replace saturated fats. To substitute mayonnaise for example, simply cut the fruit up, mash it with a fork, and use anywhere you would use mayo. They can also be a great natural or vegan substitute for products like margarine or butter.
➄ Natural Moisturizer for Glowing Skin
A healthy skin also reflects how healthy you are on the inside. If you want radiant skin, make avocados a part of your diet. Full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants avocados contain all the nutrients that are vital for a healthy skin.
The high content of Vitamin A helps the removal of dead cells from the body. Vitamin C is involved in the creation of collagen and elastin which maintain skin firmness. The high content of oleic acid in avocados is actually a component of many skin care items, which has potent moisturizing qualities. It helps the skin keep soft and supple.
➅ Powerhouse Food for Eye Health
Avocados are loaded with lutein. A single ounce of this pear-shaped tropical fruit contains 80 micrograms of lutein, most supplements only give you 20mg. So, what is lutein and why should you care about adding it to your diet? Lutein, known as “the eye vitamin”, is essential for vision health. It does not directly function in the process of sight, rather it acts as a light filter and improves vision by protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays and sunlight damage.
While guacamole is arguably the most popular way to eat avocado, there are actually a lot more things to do with the creamy fruit than just pair it with chips. Puree and toss with pasta, substitute for butter or margarine in your favorite baked good recipes, make a delicious salad dressing, or spread onto your sandwiches. Ever tried a healthy avocado smoothie? When it comes to avocados, the possibilities are endless.