Since avocados are a really easy way to get in healthy fats when eating the keto diet, I thought it would be fun to share a few health benefits of eating avocados.
Avocados were once considered to be high in fat and were not recommended to be a part of a healthy diet. That opinion has since been revisited and some amazing discoveries were made which indicates that eating avocados does in fact promote optimal health. Nutritionists and researchers have determined that when eaten in moderation, avocados produce health benefits that outweigh its fat content. As a matter of fact, most of the fat is mono-unsaturated which has a natural tendency to lower cholesterol levels.
Native to Central and South America, avocados were introduced to the United States in 1871 by Judge R.B.Ord who planted three trees in Santa Barbara, California. A postman Rudolph Hass in 1935 patented the Hass avocado tree and the Hass variety has since become the most popular in the United States. It grows year round and has a green skin that turns purplish black when the fruit is ripe. Its flesh has a pale green color with a creamy texture. Even though it is found in abundance in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Asia, Mexico is the largest commercial producer of avocados.
Avocados are rich in potassium and beta-sitosterol which helps in the regulating of blood pressure. Potassium helps with the prevention of high blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke. Fatty acids such as oleic acid are also found in avocados and it was determined that this helps with the protection against breast cancer. Carotenoids such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin have in recent studies shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Mono-unsaturated fats present in avocados lowers triglycerides levels in diabetics. This naturally lowers the blood sugar level and makes insulin work better. Rich in dietary fibre, avocados contains approximately 40% of the daily recommended dose. Fibre helps to lower cholesterol, regulates bowel movement and of course slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. The carotenoid lutein also present in avocado, promotes good eye health by protecting against cataracts.
Avocados are high in vitamin E and have high levels of folate. Folate is an inhibitor of stroke since it has a natural tendency to place high blood pressure in check. Folate is a B vitamin which is highly recommended for pregnant women and has the added benefit of keeping nerves functioning properly. In addition, avocados are a good source of the antioxidant glutathione which slows down the aging process and protects against heart disease. Overall it contains small quantities of vitamin B12, Zinc and phosphorus but it is rich in iron and copper.
Avocados because of their natural health benefits have also made tremendous strides in the cosmetic industry. Skin moisturizers, cleansing creams, bath oils and even hair conditioners are currently manufactured from an avocado base. However, avocados contain substances known as chitinases which are associated with latex allergies. It is therefore advisable that people with latex allergies exercise caution in consuming avocado or using any of the cosmetic products that are avocado based.