Monday, April 8, 2013

Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados are incredibly healthy! Some people worry about their high fat content, but the monounsaturated fats contained within (such as such as oleic and linoleic acid) are actually good for you. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes. The oleic acid in avocado is also effective in preventing breast cancer.

 Monounsaturated fats also help to speed up your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the rate at which calories are burned when you’re in a state of rest. The calories are used to sustain basic functions such as cell repair, maintain body internal temperature and pump blood. Regular consumption of avocados can help you boost your BMR which facilitates weight loss endeavors.

However, keep in mind that even though monounsaturated fat is a “good” fat, it is high in calorie content. Try to keep your total fat consumption to less than 25 to 30% of your total calorie consumption—most of which should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. A serving of 170 grams (half an avocado) contains 285 calories. Fats account for about 25 grams. Monounsaturated fats at about 15 grams account for about 63 percent of the total fat content. The fruit also contains a low amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fats. These represent 20 percent and 17 percent of total fat content respectively (around 2 grams). Omega-3 fatty acids, which are the polyunsaturated fats present in avocados, help to stabilize blood pressure. They also help to sustain a normal heartbeat. This promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of stroke and coronary disease.

Another great thing about avocados is the amount of carotenoid lutein in them, which known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Avocados are also rich in folate, a B vitamin commonly known as folic acid. One cup of avocado provides about 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. The high amount of folate in avocado is essential in the prevention of birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida. The high levels of folate in avocados may also protect against stroke. A study has shown that individuals who ate a diet rich in folate had a lower risk of stroke than those who did not.

 Being rich in antioxidants, avocado is beneficial in preventing aging symptoms. The glutathione in avocado boosts immune systems, slows the aging process, and encourages a healthy nervous system.

They are also a great boost to other healthy foods, as avocado intake is linked with an increased nutrient absorption. A study suggests that, when participants ate salads which included avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes beta carotene and lycopene) than those who did not include avocados.

Avocados also aid in beauty:

Avocados are one of the best natural mouth wash and bad breath remedies. It cleanses the intestine which is often the real cause of coated tongue and bad breath.

The avocado oil is added in many cosmetics because of its ability to nourish and make your skin glow. This makes it perfect for face masks. Hair masks often use avocado as well. It is perfect for hydrating your hair and scalp while restoring shine and softness to dull hair. It also aids in treating psoriasis, a skin disease that causes skin redness and irritation.

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