Avocado superfood

Avocado belongs to a group of food products with significantly high nutritious and pro-health value. Unfortunately, there aren't many people who realize that, and there are even less people who include this fruit in their menu, which is a pity, because having it in a diet results in many health and body advantages.

 Good calories

There's no doubt that avocado is a highly-calorific fruit (it is sometimes perceived as vegetable because it isn't sweet, but in this case we'll stick to the botanical terminology). That's the reason why many people approach it with reserve, after all, excess amount of calories in a diet fosters gathering body fat. However, in practise, it doesn't have to be like that. Our bodies need proper supply of energy in order to work appropriately, it's just important that it doesn't come from “empty calories”, i.e. those which are accompanied only by energetic nutrients. However, avocado is a real vitamin-fiber-mineral bomb. Research prove that the diet of people who eat this fruit regularly is richer in nutrients, and, at the same time, it makes the risk of the metabolic syndrome lower [1].

Fat that you need

Avocado is quite a rich source of fat, because it supplies about 15g of it in 100g. Fortunately, this is a healthy fat, which hasn't been processed and is accompanied by vitamin E. Lipids found in this fruit are mainly oleic acid (about 70%) - which is exactly the same as that found in olive oil, and even people on high-carb diet, or those having problems with lipid economy (I will write more on that in a second), should not be worried about it. Avocado also provides small amount of polyunsaturated acids (almost 10%) and saturated acids (about 12%). It's worth underlining, that fat is an important compound of diet and it shouldn't be avoided. Instead of that, it's good to grab good sources of this nutrient, such as avocado.

Avocado is good for the lipid economy

It is commonly thought that lipid economy disorder is linked with the risk of development of heart-vessel diseases, such as atherosclerosis. This type of problems are quite universal and can be caused by inappropriate nutrition habits. What's more, by improving diet you can influence the lipid economy to support the metabolic health. Research point out that including avocado in diet positively influences the lipid economy by lowering total cholesterol by roughly 17%, the level of “bad cholesterol” (which is low-density lipoprotein) by 22%, triglicerides by 22%, and it contributes the increase of the “good cholesterol” (high-density lipoproteins) by 11%, and it can be observed after a week of including avocado in diet [2]. This research was done among people with slight hypercholesterolaemia.

Avocado influences the acid-base balance in a positive way

Our present diet is highly acidic, which is caused by large supply of products, such as cereals, meat or eggs, and low intake of vegetables. Knowing that, it's good to include a product of strongly base-forming potential, such as avocado. This fruit owes its deacidification properties to extremely high content of potassium. Potassium is a very important component for physically active people. It's good to know, that scientific tests proved that high supply of this element may act anticatabolically leading to lowering the activity of proteolytical enzymes which decompose muscle proteins (it is connected with base-forming action) [3, 4]. Potassium is also important to keep the circulatory and nervous systems in good condition. Avocado is a great source of potassium, there is about 500-600mg of this element in 100g of this fruit, which is 15% of recommended intake. So, it is much better, in this matter, than bananas and tomatoes usually associated with large content of this element...

The richness of antioxidants

Avocado is an awesome source of antioxidants, including vitamin E in form of various tocopherols (not only one, like in case of e.g. diet supplements). Vitamin E, also known as the youth vitamin, protects the body from destructive influence of excess amount of free radicals. Appropriate supply of this compound is especially important for the prophylaxis of heart-vessel diseases, as well as for assuring proper protection for lipids included in the cell membranes and transported in a form of lipoproteins. In 100g of avocado you can find about 15% of recommended intake of tocopherols.

Great source of fibre

Adequately high intake of fibre is important to keep intestines in good shape, it also allows to lower the after-meal glycaemia and fosters prolonging the state of satiety after meals. The recommended intake of fibre is about 20-45g during 24 hours (different sources give different values, however, general directives are similar), whereas avocado supplies 3.5-7g in 100g! There aren't many fruits or vegetables which contain that much fibre. This fact should be mostly appreciated by people who like low-carb diets, which may be poor in fibre because of limited consumption of cereal products, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes and fruits rich in sugar. Not only does avocado compose well with high-fat diet (because of large amount of lipids), but it also provides enormous dose of fibre.

Universal use

Avocado is a universal-use fruit. You can prepare sauce to meat with it, bread spread (alternative to butter and margarine), or cook soup with it. It also composes well with sweet dishes, which may seem surprising. It's worth looking through recipes and experiment with this fruit in the kitchen. Not only your health will benefit from it, but also your palate.

Summary

Avocado has large nutritious and pro-health value, which makes it possible to include this product into the group of superfoods. Knowing that – it's worth having it in your diet. It will be beneficial for your health and body.

Sources: [1]. Fulgoni VL, Dreher M, Davenport AJ. Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutr J. 2013 Jan 2;12:1. [2]. López Ledesma R, Frati Munari AC, Hernández Domínguez BC i wsp. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23. [3]. Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Ceglia L Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults..Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):662-5., [4]. Welch AA, MacGregor AJ, Skinner J. A higher alkaline dietary load is associated with greater indexes of skeletal muscle mass in women., Osteoporos Int. 2013 Jun;24(6):1899-908.