Would it surprise you to learn that avocados are not “fattening” when substituted for other fats in the diet? A study found that you can replace 30g of other healthy fats such as margarine spreads and cooking oils with 200g of avocado in a weight loss diet and still lose weight Healthy fats play a role in controlling appetite by releasing hormones in the intestine that signal fullness.
So even if you are watching your waistline you can still eat avocados.
Avacado health benefits & nutritional Values
Avocado for antioxidants Mother Nature protects the fats in avocados from going rancid too quickly by ensuring antioxidants are present.
The gorgeous green and yellow colours of avocados come from natural antioxidant pigments called chlorophyll (green) and carotenoids – beta carotene (orange) and lutein and zeaxanthin (yellows).
As these orange and yellow colours are fat soluble, they are present inside the very nutrient they are there to protect.
These natural colours also play important roles in maintaining eye health.4,5 Avocados are also a rich source of vitamin E – a fat soluble antioxidant vitamin.
Vitamin E needs vitamin C to work efficiently6 so it’s no surprise that avocados are also rich in vitamin C with 120g providing nearly a third of daily vitamin Cneeds. Avocados therefore have a strong antioxidant capacity similar to other fruits and vegetables.
Avocado for better absorption of carotenoids The fats in avocados help your body absorb the carotenoids from other vegetables too.
Research found adding avocado (75-150g) to salads helped the absorption of these colourful pigments from carrot, lettuce, spinach and other vegetables. The more avocado added, the more carotenoids were absorbed
Avocado for natural plant sterols:
Plant sterols help reduce cholesterol re-absorption in the intestine, thereby increasing the amount of cholesterol excreted from the body. You can purchase margarine spreads, milks and other foods with added plant sterols.
Avocados also contain small quantities of plant sterols – around 100mg in a half an avocado. The main kind of plant sterol in avocados is beta-sitosterol.
Avocado for fibre :
Like all plant foods avocados are a good source of fibre with around 5g per 120g serve or 17% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for adults. Fibre is needed to maintain a healthy bowel function but can also help fill you up, controlling your appetite for longer. Of the fibre in avocados, about two thirds is soluble fibre.
Soluble fibre is a gel-like substance that can also lower cholesterol reabsorption from the intestine – similar to plant sterols. The cholesterol gets trapped in the gel and is excreted.
Avocado for a healthy heart:
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables such as avocado can reduce the risk of heart disease. Around two thirds of the total fat in avocado is monounsaturated fat.
Diets rich in monounsaturated fatsare necessary to maintain a healthy heart. Research has found that if you have high blood cholesterol then eating avocados as part of a healthy diet can lower total and lowdensity lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol while increasing the high density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol.
An elevated cholesterol level is a risk factor for heart disease. Plant sterols and soluble fibre also add to avocados’ heart health properties.Avocados are low in sodium and contain potassium. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke
Avocado for Folate Avocados are rich in folate a B group vitamin needed for cell division. Women of child bearing age need to consume at least 400ug folate per day at least the month before and three months after conception and then 600ug during pregnancy.
A diet rich in folate including avocado may reduce the risk of foetal neural tube defects.15 Half an avocado contains 144ug, 36% of the adult RDI or 24% RDI for pregnant women. Avocados are also a perfect first food for babies to try – smooth, nutrient rich and conveniently packaged.
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