Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Health benefits of the avocado


The health benefits of the avocado are almost as important as the taste of this versatile fruit. Now you can make salsa for your tortilla chips and know your only eating it for your good health. Avocados are power packed extra large berries grown in hot climates. They received their name from the Aztecs. Originally, the Aztecs called it ahuacatl, their word for testicles because of the shape of the avocado.

The avocado is a fatty fruit. In fact, it contains about 330 calories each and almost 30 grams of fat. There is an upside to this however. The fat is the good fat, monounsaturated fat, the kind that actually helps you lower your cholesterol. In addition to that, this giant sized berry contains an abundance of beta-sitosterol, another cholesterol lowering compound. One study found that after several months of including avocado in the diet the 45 subjects of the study average a 17 percent drop in their cholesterol. You'll save about 17 grams of fat and 145 calories every time you mash it and spread it on bread or sandwiches in place of butter.

The avocado also has other health benefits. A study in China found that it helped protect the eyes from damage caused by too much time looking at a computer screen. After several weeks on the same supplement found in avocados, carotenoid lutein, there was an improvement in vision. The carotenoid lutein also helps to protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.

Both men and women benefit from this mighty fruit. Several scientific studies show that it does have toxins that attack cancer cells in both prostate and breast cancer. Don't let the word toxins scare you. This same ingredient is also great for the heart, just bad for cancer cells. The oleic acid found in the avocado, the same as in olive oil, is also beneficial to fighting the ravages of breast cancer.

The avocado also contains folate. One cup of avocado provides you with almost a quarter of the recommended daily amount necessary for individuals. Studies found that if you have a diet high in folate, you have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

The avocado also contains glutathione. The more glutathione you have in your cells, the longer your life expectancy is. This powerful antioxidant also aids both vitamin E and C in doing their work by regulating them within the body. There is an association between low levels of glutathione and immune dysfunction, liver dysfunction, cardiac disease, death and premature aging.

The avocado fights other forms of cancer besides breast or prostate cancer. It also fights oral cancer. Research into the area oral cancer found that it doesn't harm healthy cells but seeks out cancerous and precancerous cells in the oral tissues.

It also helps the absorption of the vitamins from the other foods you eat with it. A study of two groups showed that the group that ate salad with avocado in it had higher absorption of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. Avocados also provide the highest source of vitamin E in fruits.

If all this good news of avocados encourages you to purchase some at the grocery, don't complain if they look like the farmers picked them and shipped them before they were ripe. This fruit doesn't improve the longer it remains on the plant. In fact, avocados won't ripen until after you pick them. Just bring home the green avocado and put it in a paper sack for two or three days. The health benefits of the avocado are well worth the wait. 

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