While most of us probably think of avocados as a vegetable, it is actually a fruit, specially a “single-seeded berry”, and recently, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a research study was published showing how avocados were good for lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad type) in our blood.
Actually, avocados have many positive health benefits. This research—a joint study between researchers in Pennsylvania and Australia—studied 45 overweight or obese men and women from age 21 to 70. They tested their levels of LDL cholesterol after going on a low-fat diet.
As part of this low-fat diet, they tested in a couple different ways—with an avocado added to the diet each day, and for other people, no avocado. The results showed that the low fat diet lowered LDL cholesterol in both groups, but the people who ate one avocado per day had an additional 10% reduction in LDL levels. Not a huge amount, but significant, and now let’s list some of the other healthy attributes of the avocado:
1) Full of the healthiest type of fat
Yes, avocados are full of fat, but it’s fat of the best kind, the type that helps you rather than cause damage. Avocados have an unusual and fortunate mix of fats, similar to what is found in olive oil and nuts.
2) One avocado has more potassium than a large banana
Potassium is a good nutrient, and a single avocado has about 800 milligrams of potassium. A single large banana has maybe 500 mg. Besides, an avocado is a very low-sodium food, having only about 5 mg. per fruit, and also low-sugar, having less than 2 grams per serving.
3) Full of a wide variety of carotenoid antioxidants and lutein
We might associate carotenoids with brightly colored fruits such as carrots and tomatoes but avocados have an amazing diversity of different types of carotenoids including alpha-and beta-carotene and lutein, including other carotenoids and antioxidants not commonly found elsewhere.
4) A high protein content for a fruit
We don’t’ normally think of fruits as good protein sources but a typical avocado contains 4 to 6 grams of protein. Not a huge amount, but more than most other fruits or vegetables.
5) Lots of fiber and vitamins
One avocado contains about half your daily fiber needs, and is strong in Vitamins C, E, K, and various B vitamins.
6) Besides heart benefits, may help arthritis, blood sugar, and fight against cancer
Along with the nutritional benefits of an avocado, there are various research studies that suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties in avocados are helpful for arthritic conditions, and with it’s low glycemic index, avocados may help regulate blood sugar levels as well. Finally, their high antioxidants and fiber content may decrease the risk of some cancers, but more research is needed.
So, have you had your avocado yet today?
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