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Five Benefits of the Avocado

About the Avocado

Avocados are a guilty pleasure when you consider their role in a good guacamole dip. Good news! Science has announced loud and clear once again that the avocado reigns supreme when it comes to combating high cholesterol levels.


The avocado is a nutrient-enriched or as nutritionist would describe, nutrient-dense fruit. With 25 minerals, phytonutrients and vitamins alike, the avocado is the only monosaturated fat fruit.

Image Source: Bigstock Photo/Robyn Mackenzie

Avocados help lower bad cholesterol

Health Benefits of the Avocado

Although the 2015 announcement surrounds the avocado's ability to combat high cholesterol, did you know that avocados have a few other benefits? In fact, the avocado has numerous health benefits, but for the purpose of the latest praise surrounding this fruit, we will focus on five -including its role with cholesterol.

Beta-Sitosterol

Avocados contain the phytosterol beta-sitosterol, which contains serum cholesterol-lowering properties. Translation? This means that beta-sitosterol prevents the intestines from absorbing cholesterol and decreases the livers conversion of cholesterol as well. In addition, phytosterols like beta-sitosterol have anticarcinogenic properties. Translation? This means they also combat cancer-causing cells.


Satisfies Hunger

According to a study in recent years, people who regularly consume avocados generally partake in healthier diets. When avocados are added to dishes, for example salads, they can help to decrease hunger and the desire to eat for an extended period of time, particularly in between meals.


Lutein

Avocados contain lutein, an antioxidant carotenoid, which protects the human body from free radicals which can damage cells and lead to cancer, age-related eye conditions or other conditions such as heart disease. Increased consumption of lutein can help stop the progression of age-related macular degeneration and research has shown that they can also help reduce prostate cancer cell growth by 25 per cent.


Vitamins and Minerals

As previously noted, avocados contain 25 essential nutrients. Those essential nutrients include folate, vitamins A, B, C, E and K, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium and phosphorus. Research has shown that those who regularly eat avocados have a fiber intake that is reportedly 36 percent higher than non-avocado consumers, they eat 23 percent more vitamin E and 48 percent more vitamin K than can be found in the average diet. That being said, if you are not a fan of wheat bread or other common sources of fiber, the avocado may be a nice addition to your diet.


The vitamins and minerals found in avocados helps to manage blood pressure levels, helps to protect one's immunity, and promotes heart health. In fact, studies show that when avocados are combined with the right foods like tomatoes or carrots, avocados have the ability to increase the overall absorption of beta-carotene.


Regulates Blood Sugar Post-Meals

Research continues to demonstrate that avocados also have stabilizing affect on blood sugar and/or insulin response after meals which can prove beneficial to diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

 
Shopping for Avocados

When shopping for avocados, there are a few characteristics to look for in selecting a ripe piece of the fruit.  Consider the dish you are making, the role of the avocado and how soon you are looking to actually consume the avocado.

Also consider the following:

  • Gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. If the avocado is ripe, it will be firm but will slightly give way under the pressure of your hand.
  • Color is not always a good indicator as some avocados may take on a dark-green color or even turn black while others may maintain a brighter green color.
  • Try to stay away from mushy/squishy avocados or avocados with soft-spots or fruit with dents or nicks on them


Storage

You can store avocados at room temperature for two to three days. Refrigerating avocados will slow the ripening process. Avocados can be refrigerated for up to one week.


Image Source: Bigstock Photo

Color is not always a good indicator of how ripe an avocado is for selection.

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