Friday, April 22, 2016

Are Avocados a Forbidden Food?

Avocados have become even more popular recently with the trendy debut of avocado toast (being sold in hip restaurants nearby at exorbitant prices) Should you include avocados in your diet or are they a "forbidden" food?

Many people tend to stop eating avocado due to its high calorie content, thinking that it may add to their weight. Much of the fat content comes from unique sources, like phytosterols. This special group of fats has been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits to our body systems, including our cardiovascular system.

The addition of avocado to already well-balanced diets has been shown to lower risk of heart disease, improve blood levels of LDL, and lower levels of oxidative stress in the bloodstream. In one particular research study, participants in two groups all consumed a diet with the same overall balance, including 34% fat in both groups. But one avocado per day was included in the meal plan of only one group, and that was the group with the best heart-related results in terms of blood fat levels.

Eating mono-saturated fats can contribute to satiety. You feel fuller and get less hungry when you include healthy fats in your meal plan. Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals.

Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an anti-oxidant as well as related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene and tocopherol (vitamin E). Avocados also help you get more of these nutrients from other foods. Anywhere from two to six times as much absorption was found to occur with the added avocado! But in addition, avocados also improved conversion of specific carotenoids (most importantly, beta-carotene) into active vitamin A.

Salad greens—including romaine lettuce—and mixed greens like kale, chard, and spinach are great examples of very low fat, carotenoid-rich foods that might be eaten alone but would have more of their carotenoid-richness transferred over into your body with the help of some added avocado. 

Add avocados to your daily diet to improve cardiovascular health, contribute to satiety and improve antioxidant absorption. Enjoy your guacamole this Cinco de Mayo!


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