Better living through nature
Once shunned for their high fat content, today avocados are well-known in health circles. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, lutein, folate and other vitamins and nutrients, this wonder fruit offers health benefits that cover everything from your eyes to your heart. Here’s what avocados can do for you—and how you can incorporate them into your diet!
Creamy and nutritious, avocados are loaded with healthy fat and nutrients to boost your health. Photo By iFacu/Courtesy Flickr.
1. Lower cholesterol. Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that lowers cholesterol. A study of people with high cholesterol showed that eating a diet high in avocados can decrease bad cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol levels.
Try it: Avocadoes have a creamy texture, making them a suitable (and nutritious) substitute for mayonnaise. Try this open-face TLT sandwich with chunky guacamole.
2. Improve your vision. Avocados contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration and can actually improve your vision.
Try it: Replace the milk or yogurt in your smoothie with an avocado.
3. Protect your heart. Avocados are chock full of nutrients that promote heart health. The high amount of potassium in avocados can regulate blood pressure and help prevent heart disease and strokes (not to mention lower cholesterol). Avocados also contain high amounts of folate, a nutrient that can also help prevent heart attacks and heart disease.
Try it: Celebrate the earth—and your health—with this avocado, tomato and red onion salad.
Try this open-face tofu lettuce tomato sandwich with chunky guacamole for a delicious way to incorporate avocados into your diet. Photo By Joe Lavine.
4. Prevent cancer. The antioxidants in avocados do more than protect your eyes—they can also ward off certain types of cancer. In medical studies, avocado extract inhibited the growth of precancerous cells that led to oral cancer and prostate cancers. The oleic acid in avocados also offers protection against breast cancer.
Try it: Enjoy a real taste of Mexico with this authentic guacamole recipe.
5. Boost nutrient intake. Not only are avocados full of beneficial nutrients, they’ll help you absorb antioxidants from other fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that adding avocado to a basic green salad helps increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, from those foods, and adding avocado to salsa increases lycopene and beta-carotene absorption 4.4 and 2.6 times higher than eating salsa without avocados.
Try it: Add avocado slices to your salad at lunch.
Susan Melgren is the Web Editor of Mother Earth Living. Find her on Google+.