Avocados are a super food packed with essential nutrients; they are easy to digest and are rich in natural antibiotic and antifungal chemicals. Avocados contain monounstaurated fat, which is a healthy, beneficial fat. Research has shown that adding naturally fatty foods such as avocados to the diet is associated with optimal nutrient absorption. This and many other health benefits make avocados a valuable addition to any diet.
The avocado is actually a fruit and not a vegetable, and it contains more protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, Vitamin E and vitamin K that any other fruit. Avocados are also rich in other nutrients and plant chemicals like beta-sitosterol, a phyto-chemical that can aid in reducing the size of the prostate gland and fighting prostate cancer; lutein, a phytochemical that helps fight macular degeneration; and carotenoids, which help the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients and protect against cancer, eye problems and heart disease.
Avocados are a source of linoleic acid (known as omega-6 fatty acid), a substance that helps to thin the blood, soothe inflammation and improve blood-sugar balance.
Gingivitis and other gum disease
Studies conducted on human gum tissue found that avocado helped to decrease the occurrence of gingivitis and other periodontal disease.
A human study found that those diabetic subjects who consumed a high monounsaturated fat diet, consisting mostly of avocados, had far better control of their blood glucose and triglycerides (elevated triglycerides contribute to heart disease) when compared with those who consumed a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
Four studies have found that a dietary supplement made from a combination of soybean and avocado oil is associated with the relief of symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Research showed that when avocado extract was added to prostate cancer cells, cell growth with inhibited by up to sixty percent.
Avocados help to improve and maintain healthy skin with the natural oils they contain, and the antioxidants Vitamin A and E. A puree of avocado and live yoghurt makes a fabulous face mask for cleansing and nourishing. It increases the amount of collagen in the skin, making it look plumper, wrinkle-free and clearer.
Tips on Using Avocados
- Avocados are usually picked before they are ripe, and take about a week to ripen at room temperature. To speed this process up, store them in a paper bag with a banana.
- Stop cut avocados from turning brown by sprinkling the exposed surfaces with lemon juice and leaving the stone in.
- Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6.
- Kut-Lassere C, Miller CC, Ejeil AL, Gogly B, Dridi M, Piccardi N, Guillou B, Pellat B, Godeau G. Effect of avocado and soybean unsaponifiables on gelatinase A (MMP-2), stromelysin (MMP-3), and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2) secretion by human fibroblasts in culture. J Periodontal. 2001 Dec;72(12):1685-94.
- Lerman-Garber I et al. Effect of a high-monounsaturated fat diet enriched with avocado in NIDDM patients. diabetes Care. 1994 Apr;17(4):311-5.
- Angermann, P. Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Ugeskr Laeger. 2005 Aug 15;167(33):3023-5.
- Lu QY, Arteaga JR, Zhang Q, Huerta S, Go VL, Heber D. Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances.J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jan;16(1):23-30.