2 slices of whole grain wheat toast (or substitute bread of choice)
Earth Balance spread (vegan with a delicious buttery taste)
Half of a ripe avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt
Sprinkle of black sesame seeds
Sprinkle of lemon pepper
Optional additions: hard boiled egg whites, green or red onion, tomato, goat or feta cheese
Why should you include them into your array of meals and snacks? They 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:
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).
Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. They contain more potassium than bananas. Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
Avocado is a high-fat food.
In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
But they don’t just contain any fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits.
Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
Fiber is another nutrient that avocados are relatively rich in.
It’s indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases.
Soluble fiber is known for feeding the friendly gut bacteria in your intestine, which are very important for optimal body function.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of avocado packs 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the RDA.
About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world.
It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk.
This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.
Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.
These studies showed that avocados can:
Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
Increase HDL (the "good") cholesterol by up to 11%.
One of the studies found that including avocado in a low-fat, vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile.
Though their results are impressive, it’s important to note that all of the human studies were small and short-term, including only 13–37 people with a duration of 1–4 weeks.
One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados.
They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the US.
Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn't eat this fruit.
They had a much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.
People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters.
You also need to be able to absorb these nutrients — move them from your digestive tract and to your body, where they can be used.
Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, along with antioxidants like carotenoids.
One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption.
So, not only is avocado highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.
This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.
Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves.
This includes the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health.
Studies show that they’re linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in older adults.
Therefore, eating avocados should benefit your eye health over the long term.
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of this condition, which are often chronic problems that people have for the rest of their lives.
Multiple studies suggest that avocado and soybean oil extracts can reduce osteoarthritis.
Avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote weight loss as well, at least in the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.
Avocados are not only healthy, they're also incredibly delicious and go with many types of food.
You can add them to salads and various recipes or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain.
They have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients.
The Bottom Line
Avocados are an excellent food, loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet.
They’re weight loss friendly, heart healthy and, last but not least, taste incredible.