Available in almost all parts of the world, Avocados are some of the most widely recognized fruits globally. Avocados are used raw for various culinary purposes such as making guacamole, as flavoring in sweet and savory foods and as an addition to salads and sandwiches. But flavor is not the only thing avocados boast of, they are also highly nutritious on nutritional value of avocado.
Nutritional Value of Avocado
Of course, different types of avocados will vary in their nutritional composition due to a difference in geographic location and cultivation method. Generally, however, there are certain nutritional components that are common.
All avocados nutritional value contain high levels of healthy fats. The avocado is one of the few fruits that contain an unusually high amount of fat. Around 75% of energy gotten from consuming an avocado comes from its fat content.
Different types of fats are contain in the avocado. The biggest share goes to monounsaturated fat, which occurs in avocados as oleic acid. This type of fat has been found to be especially good for children. In adults, it helps to lower the risk of breast cancer.
Monounsaturated fat makes up 67% of the total fat content in avocados. Other types of fats found in avocados include linoleic acid and plamitic acid.
1 cup of sliced avocado (146g) provides 12.4g of carbohydrates. These include 0.9g of sugars and 9.7g of dietary fiber. This makes it a great food for people who are on a low carb diet but still want the fiber.
A 100g of avocado contains 2g of proteins. The most common source of protein is animal meat. But this meat is often high in unhealthy saturated fat. Not so for avocados. In addition avocado protein is easier to digest than animal protein in meat. This is because avocados also contain fiber which comes in handy during digestion. Including them regularly in your diet can provide a great source of proteins especially for vegans.
There are over 20 vitamins found in avocados. This is one of the reasons why the fruit is referred to as a superfood. The highest levels of vitamins belong to Vitamin B5 (28%) Vitamin K (20%), vitamin B9 (20%) and vitamin B6 (20%). Other vitamins include E, C, B3, B2, B1 and beta-carotene.
Each of these vitamins has a purpose in the human body. Combined together, their health benefits are massive. Examples of these benefits include a stronger immune system, faster healing infections, better skin and lower risk of various types of cancers.
5. Trace Metals (Minerals)
There are also plenty of healthy minerals such as potassium (10%), phosphorous (7%), Zinc (7%), Manganese (7%), Magnesium (8%), calcium (1%) and Iron (4%) among others.
Of interest to note is that avocados do not contain any trace of sodium which is believed by some health experts to be harmful to the human body.
Health benefits of Avocados
With so many nutrients packed in one fruit, it is easy to see why avocado is regarded as one of the healthiest foods to include in your diet. Here are some of the main benefits you will enjoy by eating avocados.
- Avocados do not contain sodium or cholesterol, both of which are bad for your heart. By replacing saturated fat food with avocados, you will be improving your heart health. This means a lower risk of heart disease.
- Avocados contain plenty of potassium, even more than that found in bananas. Potassium is a mineral that is essential to muscle function. By consuming avocados, you are protecting your muscles which includes your heart. It also prevents kidney failure, high blood pressure and stoke.
- Plenty of dietary fiber. Intake of fiber is popularly associate with better and smoother digestion. However, it also prevents a number of diseases and even helps to lose weight and help people with blood sugar problems.
- Ideal for people on a weight loss diet. The avocado is the perfect food for anyone trying to lose weight.( calories in 1 avocado ) It supplies energy without any extra calories or carbs. The high fiber content also means that one stays full for longer, reducing food intake without any starvation.
- They help in enhanced absorption of plant nutrients known as carotenoids. The fat in avocados helps the body better absorb carotenoids, also found in avocados. Adding avocado to other plant based foods with carotenoids will also boost their absorption by the body.
- Treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). AML is a serious form of cancer that kills over 90% of sufferers within five years. Treatment of the cancer is difficult and very expensive. Recently, researchers found that a certain fat molecule in avocado (Avocatin B) exclusively targets leukemia stem cells. It stops them from growing and spreading. This has the potential of increasing the lifespan of a leukemia patient.
A major study has revealed what you already know by now. It shows that frequent avocado eaters have overall better health, higher nutrient levels and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a contributing factor to obesity.
Getting the Most out of an Avocado
Due to a lack of knowledge, you might be missing out on the many benefits of avocados because you are not getting all the nutrients. Most nutrients in an avocado are found in the seed and peel. The pulp has varying levels of nutrients based on proximity to the peel.
First of all to get the most out of the fruit, you have to cut and peel. Start by cutting the whole fruit into four equal quarters. Cut it into two halves, take out the seed and cut each of the two halves lengthwise.
Once you have your two quarters, peel the skin off just like a banana. It comes off easily. This way, you do not lose the healthiest parts of the avocado.
Other than salads and guacamole, so you can also use mashed avocado as baby food instead of buying processed food. Even more creatively, add it to your baking in place of fat. Use the same amount of avocado as the oil or fat in the recipe.
How to eat Avocado
Whether you eat it in a sandwich or in a smoothie, the benefits of avocados remain the same. So, they will improve you cardiovascular system, you immune system and your whole body in general.
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