Avocado is now recognized as a “super fruit” because it is packed with vitamins and minerals and supplies many health benefits. But these health accolades were not always associated with the avocado. In fact, the tremendous health benefits of the avocado really started to be recognized only about two decades ago and have been gaining steam ever since.
But aren’t avocados high in fat?
In the past, nutritionists were reluctant to trumpet the avocado because of its high fat content. It is true that avocados are relatively high in fat. A medium-size avocado has approximately 25 g of fat, which is around the same amount of fat in a quarter pound cheeseburger. The difference is that the fat in the avocado is almost completely unsaturated fat whereas the fat in the cheeseburger is saturated. The health benefits of unsaturated fat has not always been well understood and for a long time unsaturated fats were lumped together and considered unhealthy.
But recent science has shown that diets that replace saturated fat with more heart healthy unsaturated fats have a much lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease. Unsaturated fats are those that are liquid at room temperature such as olive oil and canola oil. It is now well recognized that these types of fats provide many health benefits.
Avocados and weight loss
Because the avocado is high in fat, it does pack quite a caloric punch. A medium-size avocado has roughly 250 calories. For this reason, people who are looking to lose weight should eat avocados in moderation. For those people who are looking to gain weight such as weight lifters and athletes, avocados make a great addition to your diet.
The avocado is packed with vitamins and minerals
Avocados are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B, and phenolic acids. Avocados are also high in a substance called beta sitosterol which helps to naturally reduce cholesterol levels. The heart healthy unsaturated fat in avocado is associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol which is the “bad cholesterol” and raising HDL cholesterol. Avocados are great source of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant helpful with cancer prevention and skin health. For optimal nutrition, the avocado should be eaten raw so as to preserve its full nutritional content.
Additional avocado health benefits
Avocado is known to have beneficial effects on the skin and hair. In fact, many skin and hair care products contain avocado extracts for this reason. Avocado also has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It aids in the quick healing of skin wounds and rashes, and many people even find that it helps to reduce the symptoms of acne and skin breakouts.
There are also some studies that have shown that avocados are helpful in the prevention of cancer. It is well-known that green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants and other substances which helped to protect against free radicals which can cause cancer. Avocados are also high in these helpful substances.
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