Classified as a single seed berry, Avocados are a fruit grown from trees in Mexico and Central America. They are a flowering plant, made up of approximately 80% fat, 15% carbohydrate and 5% protein.
Peoples of Central and South America have enjoyed Avocados for over 10,00 years and today it is one of the most popular and accessible "superfoods."
Phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol
Carotenoid antioxidants, including lutein, neoxanthin, neochrome, chrysanthemaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, violaxanthin , beta-carotene and alpha-carotene
Omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (approximately 160 milligrams per cup of sliced avocado)
Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PSA)s
Other (non-carotenoid) Antioxidants, including the flavonoids epicatechin and epigallocatechin 3-0-gallate, vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc
Cardiovascular (Heart) Health:
Despite its high fat content, avocado’s lipids improve heart and blood vessel health. Avocado's contain both oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have been shown to help promote heart health. Homocysteine is a compound that when found in high levels may increase heart disease risk. However, vitamin B-6, found in avocados, regulates this hormone decreasing heart disease risk.
The power of avocado is known to aid prostate, mouth and skin cancer prevalence. Though a lot of research is just starting out, the combination of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants reducing oxidative stress work towards strengthening healthy cell function and increase oxidative stress in cancer cells, ultimately killing them.
Blood Sugar Regulation:
The composition of avocado is low in carbohydrate and glycemic index (scale of food's impact on blood sugar). A one cups serving of avocado provide 7-8 grams of dietary fiber necessary for a healthy digestive tract. The carbohydrates in avocados regulate blood glucose spikes and insulin levels, benefiting people such as diabetics and other individuals concerned with keeping blood sugar controlled.
Incorporating Avocado Into Your Diet
As a spread. Avocado works great as a topping on sandwichs, subs, and wraps. Think of it as a great, healthy replacement to mayonaisse.
As a dip. Guacamole is a tasty, healthy alternative to cheese dip and goes great with whole wheat crackers.
Added to a salad. Avocado slices work well on nearly any salad.
As a main-dish topping. Avocado can be sliced, whipped, or mixed any number of ways to add extra flavor and nutrients on top of your next chicken or fish dinner.
Overall, avocados are extremely versatile and can (and should) be incorporated into anyone's diet in any number of ways.