Good nutrition should be delicious, and the extraordinary avocado is one of the tastiest nutrient-dense foods you can find. Every bite is packed full of critical vitamins and minerals that support full-body wellness, among other health benefits. Here are eight reasons you should act like a millennial and eat more avocado toast.
1. Enhances the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
A plate full of vegetables is an opportunity to give your body plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, without a little fat, your digestive tract may not be able to fully absorb the full nutritional value of these foods. Avocados have a balance of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, which ensures your body can absorb all of the nutrients from your veggies.
2. Helps speed metabolism.
Free radicals are molecules that attack your mitochondria, causing a variety of health problems, including lower metabolism. The antioxidants in avocados attack free radicals so that your mitochondria work more efficiently, which speeds up your metabolism.
3. Does not clog arteries.
Avocados are a zero-cholesterol food, making them an excellent choice for cardiovascular health.
4. Supports lower cholesterol levels.
Some of the fat in avocados is oleic acid, which can also be found in olive oil. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels.
5. Regulates blood pressure.
Potassium is an important nutrient for keeping blood pressure down, however many people do not get enough of it in their diets. Avocados can help. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, making them an excellent option for helping maintain healthy blood pressure.
6. Helps prevent strokes.
Healthy blood pressure is key for preventing strokes, but potassium isn’t the only way avocados protect you. The monounsaturated fats ensure your blood vessels stay supple so that blood can move along properly. Vitamin K is another important stroke-prevention nutrient, as it also prevents your arteries from hardening.
7. Helps prevent cancer.
Researchers have discovered that avocados are effective in the battle against cancer. They contain strong antioxidants such as carotenoids, which help prevent cell damage. In particular, studies show that adding carotenoids to your diet may guard against prostate, oral, breast, and gastric cancers.
8. Promotes healthy eyes and skin.
Avocados are a rich source of carotene and lutein. These nutrients play an important role in the health of your eyes and skin. The healthy fats in avocados ensure that the carotene and lutein are effectively absorbed by your body.
The mild flavor of avocado makes it a perfect companion to many dishes, from salads and dips to grilled veggies. It spreads nicely, so you use it in place of butter, or you can mix larger pieces into spicy black beans and rice for a cool companion to hotter ingredients. Also, avocado oil has a higher smoking point than other healthy fats, such as olive oil, so you can use it safely for cooking and sautéing.
Inside an Avocado
The first thing to know about avocados is that their reputation for being high in fat is true but misleading. One serving (50 grams or one-third of a medium avocado) has 8 grams of fat. However, 75 percent of that is heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and avocados have no cholesterol. In fact, avocados meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for labeling a food as “healthy.”
In addition to the heart-healthy fats, avocados have more than 20 important vitamins and minerals. Some of these include:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin)
A version of this story originally appeared at wellwithinbeauty.com. It has been reprinted with permission.