When it comes to our diets, it’s pretty safe to say that a decent percentage of us aren’t quite doing all that we can to help ensure we’re eating and drinking fresh and healthy produce that does our bodies a world of good. Instead, we’re snacking on processed junk food, are binge eating on greasy fast food and refined simple carbs, and are basically filling our bodies full of junk. What we should instead be doing, is consuming a variety of fresh, healthy, and natural foods instead. When people think of healthy foods, they think of green leafy vegetables, salads, and various pieces of fruit. They don’t however, immediately think of avocados, in fact they tend to steer clear of avocados as they think they’ll cause them to get fat. Avocados are known as “nature’s butter” and whilst this rich and creamy fruit is indeed high in calories and fat, the fat contained within it is incredibly healthy and beneficial for us. Here’s a look at just six reasons why you should be eating more avocados.
They’re jam-packed full of healthy carotenoids
One fantastic health benefit of avocados, is the fact that they’re jam-packed full of healthy carotenoids, including one known as lutein, which functions as a potent antioxidant and provides numerous health benefits, particularly when it comes to the eyes. They are also full of beta-carotene, vitamin E, zeaxanthin, and alpha-carotene as well. Not only are they rich in these nutrients, which provide so many health benefits it would take us all day to list them all, but they also allow us to obtain more carotenoids from other food sources, as the more you consume, the more your body is able to absorb.
They can help with weight loss
Avocados are high in fat and calories, so you’re probably wondering how it is exactly, that they’re able to help us to lose weight. Well, the fat contained within avocados is an extremely healthy fat, which helps improve the body’s metabolic function, allowing us to burn more calories and enjoy more energy as a result. They’re also able to help regulate blood sugar levels, which is a key-factor when it comes to weight loss. The avocado is able to inhibit insulin synthesis, and also suppress insulin secretion, which, in large quantities, is a hormone which has been found to contribute towards visceral fat gain. They’re also a great source of soluble fiber, which helps keep us feeling full for longer. Once consumed, the soluble fiber is broken down in water in your stomach and digestive tract, where it swells and forms a thick gel-like paste. This paste keeps us feeling full for longer as it helps fill the stomach. The fuller we feel, the less we eat, and the less calories we consume as a result.
They’re great for the heart
As mentioned, avocados are rich in healthy fats, including monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have been proven to be beneficial for our hearts, helping to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL cholesterol, which is healthy and beneficial. This reduces the risk of heart disease and heart attack. As avocados also improve natural absorption of carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients, the heart, and indeed other major organs in the body, also benefit greatly.
They taste great
Want another reason why you should be eating more avocados? How about the fact that they taste amazing? Known as nature’s butter, they’re rich and creamy with a subtle yet delicious taste that goes especially well with seafood and on sandwiches. Avocados don’t necessarily have to be used as main courses however, as they can also be used in desserts, where their rich and creaminess really works to their advantage, helping to provide thickness and richness to dishes that would ordinarily use butter or double cream to obtain the same results.
They boost the immune system
As our immune systems are our natural line of defence against illness and disease, ensuring our immune systems are as healthy as they can be is absolutely essential if we wish to enjoy a clean bill of health. The immune system thrives upon vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other various nutrients and avocados have all of the above, in abundance. In particular, avocados are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A, Folate, B Vitamins, Zinc, Niacin, Iron, Copper, and more. So, providing your body with a selection of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that the immune system absolutely loves, is only going to make you fitter and healthier.
They make fantastic substitutions for unhealthy fats
In foods that would ordinarily use an unhealthy spread rich in trans and saturated fats, margarine or butter for example, avocado works incredibly well as a healthy replacement, that not only provides the moisture, the richness, and the creamy texture, but it also provides a fantastic taste in the process. On sandwiches for example, rather than using butter or margarine on your bread, use mashed, ripe avocado instead.
Avocados can help reduce blood pressure
Hypertension (high blood pressure), is a very common yet extremely serious health condition that contributes to a whole variety of various ailments, some of which can be fatal. High blood pressure can cause renal (kidney) failure, strokes, and even heart attacks. Studies however, have revealed that consuming foods rich in the mineral Potassium, can help to significantly lower a person’s blood pressure. Avocados are packed full of this very mineral, with one average sized avocado containing a whopping 700mg of potassium, making them a better source of potassium than bananas. There is also the added bonus of reduced lactic acid build up which causes muscle cramps, as potassium also greatly suppresses lactic acid production.
They’re great brain food
Avocados are full of healthy fats, including Omega 3 fatty acids, which is incredibly beneficial for the brain. These fatty acids help to increase blood production and supply to our pre-frontal cortex, which is located at the front of our brains and is responsible for decision making, planning, thinking, and behaviour. The fatty acids contained in Avocado have also been found to help prevent degenerative diseases affecting the brain, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.