It is hard to imagine a food that’s more popular than your basic avocado. Let’s face it, it’s hard to turn around today and not get hit with an avocado-based dish. There is, of course, guacamole. But there is also avocado toast, avocado sandwiches, avocado salads, baked and pickled avocado and even fried avocado chips. There are lots of other recipes as well. Avocados are actually fruits that have wormed their way into our hearts and pallets because they are tasty, creamy and versatile. Americans, in fact, are munching away. consuming on average 8.5 pounds of avocados each year, an amount that is expected to grow to 11 pounds per capita by 2026. Oh yeah, there’s another reason these fruits are so popular. They are loaded with health-promoting benefits. Here are seven of the more important assists. Read on.
Avocados are loaded with a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol, which is essential for helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy heart. In fact, every 100 grams of avocado contains 76 milligrams of sitosterol.
These fruits hold lots of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent light waves from harming the eyes. Not surprisingly, those who munch lots of foods rich in these antioxidants reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in older adults. The highest concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the darkest part of the green flesh near the skin.
Munching down on just one-half of an avocado counts toward a person fulfilling their five-a-day fruit and vegetable quota. Avocados hold lots of monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and folate. They also provide soluble fiber and iron, copper and potassium.
Avocados are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which helps people lose weight. Studies also show that after eating avocado individuals generally feel more satisfied and are less likely to eat again in the next five hours than people who did not eat the fruit. Beyond this, they also improve metabolism.
The lutein and zeaxanthin in avocados also protect the skin from ultraviolet ray damage, while vitamins C and E found in avocadoes also ward off sun damage.
The avocatin B and phytochemicals in avocadoes may help prevent leukemia and other forms of cancer.
Pregnant women should include folate-rich avocadoes in their diets to aid in healthy fetal development. Folate can also help battle depression while preventing the build-up of homocysteine. This substance can harm circulation and stymie the flow of nutrients to the brain.
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