Superfoods – An Overview of the Avocado

 

Avocados are a trendy and delicious fruit with roots in Central America. They are a versatile and delicious food, and one of the few deserving of the title “Superfood.” From a creamy sandwich topper or a fantastic salad additive to the main ingredient in the beloved Mexican staple dip, guacamole, this amazing food has a great and healthy place in any diet. The buttery green meat of the avocado is even good in smoothies!

Nutritious and Delicious

The avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Ounce for ounce, they are among the richest in fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium among all fruits. This nutrition profile makes it a worthy Superfood.

A Dietary Staple Across the Board

Avocados were used as a main source of nutrients by the Aztecs. In today’s US markets, they come in two varieties: the Hass avocado hails from California, while the West Indian avocado grows plentifully in Florida. The more popular green-black Hass avocado was named for Rudolph Hass, a Wisconsin mailman who retired to Pasadena, California and obtained a patent for the “Hass” avocado tree in 1935.

Hass avocados are nutty, buttery and rich in healthy monounsaturated oil (18 to 30 percent oil in each avocado).

The West Indian avocado from Florida may beat the Hass in juiciness and size, but it is less buttery, with far less oil at 3 to 5 percent, and has about 25 to 50 percent less fat than the Hass avocado.

Healthy Fat

While oils and fat may sound like something to shy away from in a healthy diet, the avocado’s nutrient richness comes from its healthy monounsaturated fat, which is one of its biggest SuperFood health claims. Yes, there are healthy oils and fats! The only food that can be compared in monounsaturated fat content is the olive.

The monounsaturated fat in avocados is oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol. One study found that after seven days on a diet that included avocados, there were significant decreases in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as an 11 percent increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol.

Health Benefits Abound

The myriad health benefits that the avocado boasts include facilitating weight loss, the aforementioned fiber density, cholesterol lowering, and avocados are even known to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

The nutrients packed into the avocado, and their related health benefits, include:

  • Beta-sitosterol – Used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for boosting the immune system and for preventing colon cancer, as well as for gallstones, the common cold and flu, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, psoriasis, allergies, cervical cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, asthma, hair loss, bronchitis, migraine headache, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Carotenoids – Antioxidants, helpful for protecting vision and combating cellular damage. Support cardiovascular system and male reproductive health.
  • Chlorophyll – Helps in normal blood clotting, wound healing, hormonal balance, deodorizing and detoxification of the body and promotes digestive health. Healing effects on oxidation and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • Fiber – Famous for maintaining bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and aids in achieving healthy weight.
  • Folate – Great for reproductive and cardiovascular health, normalizes cholesterol, provides neurological support, and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Glutathione – Extraordinary levels of antioxidant benefits.
  • Lutein – Antioxidant that protects eyes and skin.
  • Magnesium – Helps increase energy, calms nerves and anxiety, relieves constipation and aids digestion, relieves muscle aches and spasms, regulates calcium, potassium, and sodium levels, aids in heart health, prevents migraine headaches, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Polyphenols – Rich antioxidants.
  • Vitamin E – A fat-soluble antioxidant, with protection against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.

Avocados as An Ingredient – Not Just Guacamole!

Avocados aren’t just chock full of nutrients with far-reaching health benefits; they’re very tasty and can be added to almost any dish, as well. They’re most well-known for being the main ingredient in everyone’s favorite dip. They can be diced and added to a salad or eggs, mashed or sliced and spread on a sandwich as a healthy mayonnaise alternative, blended into a smoothie, mashed into a healthy baby food, or they can even be used as the creamy base for a healthy, vegan ice cream! In fact, they are a great replacement for anything creamy in a vegan diet.

The avocado could safely be called the mother of all superfoods, with its hundreds of health benefits and its ability to enter your diet through almost any type of food.

For a real treat, don’t forget to try out our Super Food Salad, ALT, and Bistro Vegetable Wrap, all of which include avocados. Also, don’t forget, you can add avocados to any menu item!

Disclaimer:

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.