5 Surprising Health Benefits of Avocados
If your New Year's resolutions have anything to do with eating better, you may want to start by loading your shopping cart with avocados. These super fruits are not only delicious, but they are also packed with nutritional and health benefits — to your heart, eyes and much more — that may surprise you.
Avocados contain the plant chemical beta-sitosterol which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. They are packed with monounsaturated fat and according to the American Heart Association, when monounsaturated fats are eaten in moderation in place of saturated and trans fat, this can help reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in these fruit. Both have been shown to keep the eyes healthy as we age and may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we get older.
Avocados contain 3.5 grams of unsaturated fat per 1 ounce serving (about 1/5th an avocado). Studies have shown that unsaturated fat is important for proper growth and development of the central nervous system and the brain of youngsters.
Avocados are free of sodium and are recommended while on the DASH Diet – which is the prescribed diet to help lower blood pressure. They also have a nice amount of potassium, which may also help lower blood pressure. Studies have found that when avocados are eaten in place of other fats (like butter and mayo), they can help control blood pressure.
These babies are brimming with healthy fat, which takes the body longer to digest and help keep you full and satisfied (so you’re less likely to snack!). Further, avocados are nutrient-packed with over 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which is especially beneficial if you’re trying to cut calories and keep up with all the nutrition your body needs.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.