Avocado is something I can eat every single day. A perfectly ripe avocado sliced and fanned out is sublime.
The word avocado comes from the Spanish word aguacate, derived from the Nahuatl word ahuacacuauhiti – meaning testicle tree! Guatemala is the birthplace of the avocado. It was brought from Antigua, Guatemala to California and launched the avocado industry there. A plaque in the main plaza was given to the people of Guatemala in appreciation by the California Avocado Society back in 1946. It reads, “In recognition and appreciation of the great contribution of Antigua and of all Guatemala, to the development of the avocado industry in California. A healthy growing child salutes a generous parent.”
The avocado is a fruit but should have it’s own special category. Much maligned and misunderstood because of it’s high fat content, many people are still missing out on the avocado’s many virtues. Aside from being delicious, they are packed with valuable nutrients and fibre.
1. They Are Satisfying
Yes, half a medium avocado contains about 138 calories and 14.1g of fat, but it is mostly unsaturated, healthy fat. Because there are so many calories from fat, and it is high in fibre and oleic acid, it is an extremely satisfying food. Oleic acid is a fat that triggers your brain to make you feel full. The fibre slows the digestive system as it breaks down the carbohydrates in your body and makes that full feeling last even longer.
2. They Contain Antioxidants
They are rich in lutein, a carotenoid which works as an antioxidant protecting against two age related eye diseases – macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as skin issues. They also help make carotenoids more available from other foods. Because carotenoids are soluble in fat, not in water, your body will better absorb these nutrients from fruits and vegetables when eaten with avocados which contain monounsaturated fats.
3. They Protect Your Heart
Studies have shown that regularly including beta-sitosterol rich avocado in the diet helps significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Healthy HDL cholesterol levels were shown to increase by as much as 11% while volunteers saw their overall cholesterol drop by 17% on average – in just one week. One of the main risk factors for heart disease is high cholesterol, so avocado is a terrific way lowering that risk. A cup of avocado contains 1/4 of your suggested daily amount of folate which is known to lower the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Other heart healthy nutrients in the avocado include vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione.
4. They Protect Against Cancers
They have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. There are compounds in avocados that destroy oral cancer cells without harming healthy cells. The oleic acid in avocado has been shown to prevent breast cancer.
5. They Have Anti-Aging Properties
Glutathione, found in avocados, is known as the master antioxidant, and is proving to be a key to slowing down premature aging. It is a tripeptide, composed of the following three amino acids: L-glutamine, L-cysteine, and glycine. Not only is it a potent antioxidant, it also promotes absorption of vitamins C and E. It is also a detoxifying agent, and plays a role in regulating immune cells.