Avocado sure is yummy, and luckily, it’s also a staple for the keto diet! Yes, the keto diet, a low carb, high-fat diet consists of some pretty delicious foods, and the Body Reboot book goes into detail as to what other types of food is permitted on this incredible diet. Today we’ll discuss why avocado, which is the fruit of the avocado tree is well-known for its high nutrient value. That’s good news for keto dieters because not only is it more than alright to eat on a daily basis; it’s ideal to add to a variety of keto dishes thanks to its creamy texture and fantastic flavor. Plus, let’s not forget that it is the main ingredient in guacamole! Besides being delicious, avocado has a ton of health benefits. In particular, in this article, we’ll discuss seven of those benefits.
For starters, Healthline provides a pretty convincing argument why an avocado has a ton of nutrients. Avocados have more than 20 different vitamins and minerals. See what type of nutrients it has below!
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (3):
Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
Folate: 20% of the DV
Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
Potassium: 14% of the DV
Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. This is why they are favored by some experts who believe these substances are harmful, which is a debated topic, however.
Excellent for Vision
Medical News Today reveals that avocado provides antioxidants that can help protect and minimize damage in your eyes. Read on to find out more:
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from ultraviolet light.
As the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, adding avocados to your diet may help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Food Network also reveals why avocados are so beneficial to our eyes:
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in these fruit. Both have been shown to keep the eyes healthy as we age and may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we get older.
Improves Heart Health
Dr. Axe discusses just how essential avocados are for heart health and it turns out a high-fat diet can block the development of arteries that may cut off blood flow. Many studies have revealed how avocados help with cardiovascular health and it’s exciting to think what future studies may show as well.
Avocados (and especially avocado oil) promote heart health by balancing blood lipids because of their fatty acid composition. In terms of their chemical make-up, avocados are about 71 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, 13 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids and 16 percent saturated fatty acids.
Diets that are moderately high in healthy fats — especially monounsaturated fat, or MUFAs — are known to block the development of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries that cuts off blood flow) better than diets that are high in insulin-spiking carbohydrates. On top of containing MUFAs, other factors like high levels of fiber, beta-sitosterol compounds, magnesium and potassium have been shown to help reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure in multiple human studies.
Thankfully, after years of being forgotten, there is a growing body of clinical studies explaining why healthy sources of fat like avocado are so important to maintaining cardiovascular health. For example, researchers from Mexico administered an avocado-enriched diet to both healthy adults and people with high cholesterol and compared how they fared before and after eating avocados.
After just one week, it was discovered that when healthy people with normal lipid levels ate avocados their total cholesterol levels dropped 16 percent. The results observed in the high cholesterol group were even more profound. Not only did total cholesterol drop 17 percent, so did LDLs (22 percent) and triglycerides (22 percent), while their HDLs actually rose 11 percent!
Luckily on the keto diet, you will already experience satiety because protein and fat help you feel fuller, but it’s good to know that avocados can also help you feel fuller longer. Health discusses why this is so and why you can’t beat the healthy fats in an avocado.
Eating good fats helps to slow stomach emptying, which keeps you fuller longer and delays the return of hunger. Avocados, which provide about 22 grams of fat each (mostly as heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs), certainly fit the bill. In one recent study, volunteers rated feelings of satisfaction and appetite after dining on meals with or without avocado. The addition of half of an avocado to meals resulted in a significant boost in self-reported satiety and a reduced desire to eat for up to five hours. This is one of the reasons I often reach for guacamole as my salad dressing.
Helps With Digestion
Having a healthy digestion system is great while on keto, and avocados can help with that. The reason why they aid in digestion is due to the soluble and insoluble fibers they contain. Organic Facts reveals more on how avocados help with digestion below.
Avocados are soothing for the intestine and aid in digestion. They contain soluble and insoluble fibers that help to keep the digestive system running smoothly. These types of fiber are very important for digestion because they bulk up stools and help ensure the smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract. Furthermore, they stimulate gastric and digestive juices so nutrients are absorbed in the most efficient and rapid way. Finally, they reduce the symptoms from conditions like constipation and diarrhea. All in all, the huge amount of fiber found in avocados (40% of daily requirement per serving) makes this a very important food for optimizing your digestive health.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Medical News Today also mentions that avocados may help prevent diseases such as cancer. The reason why this is the case is due to the intake of folate. It’s pretty exciting that avocados may have a role in preventing cancer!
Adequate intake of folate from food has shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers.
Although the mechanism behind this apparent reduction in risk is currently unknown, researchers believe that folate protects against undesirable mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division.
Avocados may even have a role to play in cancer treatment, with some research finding that phytochemicals extracted from avocado can selectively inhibit the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells and cause the death of cancer cells, while encouraging the proliferation of immune system cells called lymphocytes.
These phytochemicals have also been shown to decrease chromosomal damage caused by cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapy drug.
Dr. Axe mentions several studies (Nutr Cancer. 2009 and Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 are just a few) that showed how avocados might help with cancer prevention.
Several studies have surfaced recently touting avocado as a cancer-fighting food. The Journal of Nutrition and Cancer published the results of a study, for instance, claiming that the phytochemicals in avocados are so powerful that they could prevent the use of chemotherapy in people with oral cancer!
Researchers from Ohio State University are taking this theory one step further and attempting to figure out exactly how this phenomenon happens. A preliminary study published in 2011 suggests that the specific phytonutrient combination within each avocado may hold the key to its anticancer effects. Research suggests that phytochemicals extracted from avocados help induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines. Studies indicate that avocado phytochemicals extracted with 50 percent methanol help in proliferation of human lymphocyte cells and decrease chromosomal changes.
Helps Kidneys Stay Healthy
Avocados are an excellent source of potassium, which is why they help keep kidneys healthy. Organic Facts reveals more on why avocados help with kidney health.
Diet plays a very important role in maintaining the balance of minerals and fluids in those who suffer from chronic kidney disorders. Potassium is one of the minerals that help in maintaining a normal heart rate. Avocados are a good source of potassium and their inclusion in your diet may provide other benefits as well. It is important to make sure that potassium levels are not too high as that can also be dangerous for the heart. Potassium is a key aspect of maintaining fluid balance through chemical channels for cells and organs. This balance of fluid is also vital for the functioning of the kidney, which handles the movement of fluid and toxins through the body.
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