Why Avocados May Save Your Life
Have you ever sat around and wondered: if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, which one is the best one? Well we did, and we spent a lot of time researching it for you. Here’s our take...
The avocado is a highly nutritious fruit that offers beneficial monounsaturated fat, is affordable and easy to add to a diet, and offers many health benefits.
Avocados are fatty, isn’t that bad? Fat, long demonized until recently, is finally getting the attention it deserves and the findings may save your life. Fat helps your body absorb nutrients, reduces inflammation, builds new cell membranes, and moves muscles. Your brain consists of 60% fat, and when it comes to our health and longevity, we need fat. The low-fat craze is over and the fat cat is out of the bag. However a fatty reminder...
Some fats are bad, like trans fat, which is healthy fat turned solid to remain shelf-stable. This toxic substance causes heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In the ingredients list, it is often called partially hydrogenated oil.
Some fats are good. Fats that increase our health include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocados, certain oils, and fish.
1. Avocados Support Brain Function
The good fats found in avocados are anti-inflammatory and associated with less cognitive decline. Avocados contain significant amounts of Vitamin B9 (folate) at 30% of your daily value per avocado. Numerous studies have linked deficiency of folate to depression. Also, one avocado contains 20% of Vitamin C, and there is ample evidence that maintaining healthy Vitamin C levels may prevent age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease (and avocados)
Among the many reasons to eat an abundance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, is the alarming Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) epidemic and the possible link between fat consumption lowering your AD risk.
The number of Americans that die each year from AD has risen 66% since 2000. In 2010, there were 4.7 million Americans 65+ with AD, and by 2050 there will be 13.8 million. Each year AD kills more Americans than breast and prostate cancer combined.
Alzheimer’s is still seen as a disease with no cure, however, scientific studies are finding the undeniable link between diet and brain health. For example, a 2013 study, found that AD is associated with obesity and malnutrition. Another study published in the American Medical Association’s journal of Neurology found thatthe intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat resulted in a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. One medium sized avocado contains approximately 15 grams of monounsaturated fat and 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
2. Avocados Increase Nutrient Absorption
According to a Berkeley study, avocados increase nutrient absorption because their fat content assists the body’s uptake of carotenoids, which are a type of fat-soluble antioxidant. Since carotenoids dissolve in fat, pairing an avocado with carotenoid containing food such as carrots, kale, tomato, broccoli and spinach will allow the body to maximize absorption of essential antioxidants.
Why are antioxidants important? Antioxidants protect our cells against the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are a by-product of exposure to fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, air pollutants and pesticides. Free radicals, without the influence of antioxidants, can cause cellular damage. If we are not armed with adequate antioxidants, this damage may lead to age-related diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular disease. Avocados are an affordable and easily added fat that boosts our uptake of antioxidants.
3. Avocados Help Prevent Cancer
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that gives your brain protection by inhibiting oxidizing stress and free radicals. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Vitamin E can aid in the prevention of cancer. One medium sized avocado offers about 20% daily value of Vitamin E.
4. Avocados Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
One medium sized avocado offers approximately 20% of your daily value of potassium. The American Heart Association says that having adequate potassium intake helps regulate blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, two of the leading causes of death. Avocados, surprisingly, have higher potassium levels than bananas and without the sugar!
5. Avocados Are Easy to Eat
Avocados are easy to pack into a lunch bag or backpack. Bring one per day to work, the beach or on a hike. Cut in half and eat directly out of the skin. Avocados can be added to anything for a healthy boost of fat, from salads to sandwiches and smoothies. And of course, there is always guacamole!
With millions of Americans suffering from brain-related and other diseases, now is the time to evaluate the food we consume to optimize our well-being and longevity. Good fats are here to nourish us, so help spread the word about this wrongly demonized and essential part of life. The beauty of this information age is that study by study, the truth is revealed, allowing us to make informed, conscious choices that directly impact our health and happiness.