By Nelly Favis-Villafuerte
As I mentioned in Part I of this article last week, avocado is considered a superfood because of its high nutrients properties. In Part I, I also said that avocado is a very important food for optimizing our digestive health.
Let me share with you other health benefits of avocado. (References: Publications on fruits including Internet reports)
Do you know that avocados are very rich in potassium? In fact, avocados contain more potassium than bananas. There are research studies that show that potassium reduces blood pressure, considered a big risk factor for heart attacks, stroke, and kidney failure;
- Do you know that avocados contain an antioxidant known as carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein which are good for eye health and can reduce the risk of age-related diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases related to age? Since avocados are high in fat, the carotenoid antioxidants that are found in the fruit are well-absorbed;
- Do you know that avocado is one of the high nutrient foods that reduce the inflammation in tissues, joints and muscles – arthritis;
- Do you know that eating avocado freshens our breath? Bad breath is due to indigestion or upset stomach. Thus, halitosis which is the main cause of bad breath can be eliminated by improving our digestive health. Also, not many know that it is the antibacterial and antioxidant properties of flavonoids found in avocado that help us get rid of bad breath because they can kill the bacteria in our mouth;
- Do you know that the ability of avocados to provide dental care includes its ability to prevent oral cancer;
- Do you know that avocado is one of the few fruits associated with healthy aging and longevity because of one powerful antioxidant compound which avocados contain? Said antioxidant compound regenerates our body and decreases signs of the aging process on different parts of our body. This powerful antioxidant is called zanthophyll;
- Do you know that the carotenoids contained in avocados (as earlier mentioned) such as zeaxanthin and lutein which are good for eye health likewise help also in lowering the risk of osteoarthritis and consequently improve our bone mineral density? One study on the effects of avocado on osteoarthritis shows the beneficial effect of avocados in patients suffering from hip or knee osteoarthritis;
- Do you know that recent studies suggest a lot of beneficial effects of avocados on weight control? Since avocados are high in fiber which is good for weight loss and metabolic health;
- Do you know that avocado is a healthy heart food since it contains beta-sitosterol which helps to stabilize healthy cholesterol levels? Also, potassium found in avocados is a vasodilator, which relaxes the tension of blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering the chances of clotting, heart attacks, and strokes;
- Do you know that avocados are a good source of vitamin K which pregnant women need to lower the risk of VKDB in the newborn child? VKDB is an acronym for “vitamin K deficiency related bleeding disorder.” Avocados are rich in Vitamin K;
- Do you know that aside from its high content of Vitamin K, avocados are again beneficial to pregnant women because avocado is rich in folic acid? The latter helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and neural tube. Spina bifida is a birth defect where there is the incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. The most common location is the lower back, but in rare cases, it may be the middle back or neck. (Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spina_bifida) Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. They happen in the first month of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. (Reference: (https://medlineplus.gov/neuraltubedefects.html);
- Do you know that avocados have anti-cancer properties? Avocados lower the risk of cancers including breast cancer and prostate cancer. Because the fruit contains carotenoids and monounsaturated fat which both reduce the risk of cancer. Also, avocado contains glutathione, an antioxidant that protects the cell from cancer and the bad effects of free radicals. Free radicals are the bad byproducts of cellular metabolism causing different serious conditions in the body including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, visual problems, and premature aging. There are now on going researches to look further into the avocado-cancer relationship;
- Do you know that avocados contain vitamins and minerals for healthy skin? Carotenoids found in avocados help reduce UV-induced inflammation of the skin due to exposure to the sun. The oil made from avocado helps protect the skin against sunburn damage;
- Do you know that avocado is a high-energy food? No wonder, avocado is a favorite fruit of athletes since it helps maintain their required energy levels. Avocados contain phytochemicals that are natural fuel source for our bodies;
- Do you know that avocados have low sugar content and have very low glycemic index score? Meaning, avocados do not raise the blood sugar to a high level;
- Do you know that avocado reduces liver damage and improves liver health? A recent study suggests the vital role of avocados in protecting the liver. Avocado produces glutathione, a type of antioxidant which filters out harmful substance from liver and protects liver cells from damage. Avocado is also high in vitamins C and E which protect the liver from the harmful free radicals.
Yes, avocado is one fruit that has a terrific impact on our health. Let’s include avocado in our diet.
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