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Avocados are good for the heart and more

No one fruit is as nutritious as the avocado. The yellow-green fleshy fruit contains a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. It is certainly my personal favorite. 

The fleshy and creamy fruit is a great salad ingredient and a delicious side dish in the form of the popular guacamole. It is great with grilled chicken in wraps or over a toast. It is popular as an ice cream, fruit shake or as dessert. When I was a child, I would pour condensed milk on scoops of avocado or mix them with ice, milk, and sugar. Nowadays, I would rather just scoop them out and eat them plain.

A single 100-gram serving of avocado provides 26 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin K, 20 percent of the folate RDA, 17 percent of the vitamin C RDA, 14 percent of the potassium RDA, 14 percent of the vitamin B5 RDA, 13 percent of the vitamin B6 RDA, and 10 percent of the vitamin E RDA. Avocados contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin).

A serving has 160 calories,  two grams of protein, nine grams of carbs, and 15 grams of healthy fats. Seven grams of those carbs are fiber, so there are only two net carbs.

Need potassium? One immediately thinks of grabbing a banana, right? Well, did you know that a serving of avocado provides 14 percent of the potassium RDA compared to 10 percent in bananas? A high-potassium intake supports healthy blood pressure levels.

Avocados are rich in powerful antioxidants that are good for the eyes. Nutrients in avocados called lutein and zeaxanthin are important for eye health. Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in the elderly.

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Avocados are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). In fact, 77 percent of its calories are from fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid, a MUFA that is also the major component in olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its beneficial effects. It has been linked to reduced inflammation and has shown beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. The fats in avocado are highly resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe cooking oil.

Avocados are also loaded with fiber, an indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes, and lower the risk of many diseases. A 100-gram serving of avocado has seven grams of fiber, which is 27 percent of the recommended daily amount. About one fourth of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while the balance is insoluble. Soluble fiber feeds the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which are very important for the optimal function of our bodies.

Avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Several studies have been conducted where people are split into two groups — one group is instructed to eat avocados while the other doesn’t eat the fruit. Researchers observe their blood markers over time. These studies have shown that avocados can reduce total cholesterol levels significantly, reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20 percent, lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22 percent, and increase the “good” cholesterol HDL by up to 11 percent.

The fat in avocados can help you absorb more nutrients from vegetables. You see some nutrients are “fat soluble,” which means that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized. These nutrients include vitamins A, D, E, and K plus antioxidants like carotenoids. One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption by up to 15 times.

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Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

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