Delicious, versatile, and packed with health benefits, avocados make the perfect addition to your diet. Although they are high in fat and calories, they are extremely nutritious.
Their smooth, silky flesh and mild flavor makes them perfect for salads, sandwiches, and even desserts.
Here are 10 reasons you should pick some up the next time you go to the grocery store:
1. Avocados contain healthy fats
Over three-quarters (77%) of an avocado’s calories come from fat, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t good for you. Remember, not all fats are created equal.
Saturated fat is best avoided or eaten in minimal quantities, whereas unsaturated fats are an important part of a balanced diet. Avocados contain a high level of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help keep your heart in shape.
2. Avocados reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome
Research suggests that people who regularly eat avocados are generally healthier than those who don’t. Specifically, they seem to lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a set of symptoms linked with diabetes and heart disease. The same study also showed that avocado eaters tend to be slimmer.
3. Avocados help regulate blood pressure
Avocados contain high levels of potassium, a nutrient essential in the proper regulation of blood pressure. Healthy blood pressure is important for overall health, and lowers your risk of kidney disease and other serious conditions.
4. Avocados may help you lose weight
Avocados have a unique composition of oil and fiber that keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. Eating an avocado can help you resist unhealthy snacks, which may assist in weight control. They are also high in water, which adds to their satiating effect.
5. Avocados help maintain healthy eyes and vision
Every part of your body requires suitable nutrition, and your eyes are no exception. They need several compounds, including zeaxanthin and lutein, to function properly. Avocados contain significant quantities of both.
6. Avocados promote regular bowel movements
Because they are high in fiber, avocados prevent and relieve constipation by keeping food moving along the digestive tract. Compared to other fruits, they are low in fructose, which causes digestive discomfort in some people.
7. Avocados lower bad cholesterol in your body
Health professionals talk about two kinds of cholesterol in the body – high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good cholesterol,” and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad cholesterol.” Research shows that eating avocados lowers LDL.
8. Avocados are a healthy choice for pregnant women
If you are pregnant, avocados are a great source of nutrition. They contain folate, vitamin B6, and other vitamins and minerals that support foetal development and maintain maternal health. From the second trimester, women need to eat around 300-500 extra calories per day.
Ideally, these extra calories should be in the form of healthy foods. A medium avocado contains around 250 calories, so can be a useful addition to a pregnant woman’s diet in terms of both nutrients and calories.
9. Avocados may reduce your risk of cancer
Avocados contain compounds which are thought to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Although more research is needed, scientists believe that these substances may reduce oxidative stress on the body and reduce the risk of cancer, especially cancers of the oral cavity. Eating avocados may help your body kill precancerous and cancerous cells.
10. Eating avocado helps your body absorb nutrients from other plant-based foods
Our bodies don’t digest foods independently of one another. Sometimes, foods become more nutritious when combined. For example, vitamins D and K more readily absorbed by the body when combined with fats. It’s a good idea to include a source of healthy fats when eating vegetables, because this increases absorption.
How to choose, store, and eat avocadoes
You can eat an avocado by itself. Simply cut it in half, scoop out the spoon, and then eat the flesh.
You can mash avocado on toast for a quick breakfast, or add it to salads with leaves and seeds for a healthy vegan lunch. Avocado is commonly used in guacamole, a quick, simple dish made by mashing it with tomatoes and seasonings.
Avocados taste best if they are left to ripen at room temperature. When choosing avocados, squeeze them gently. If they feel slightly soft, they are ready to eat.
Very soft avocados are best avoided, as their flesh tastes bitter. To quickly ripen a hard avocado, place it next to a banana for a couple of days. If you have any leftover avocado, sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge.