Health 101: What’s in an Avocado?


Avocado, which was once known as alligator pear, is a not only a delicious fruit, but is also a very versatile ingredient and a healthy source of nutrients. From being used as smoothies, dips, sandwich spreads, dessert, guacamole, or by just eating it alone, the avocado sure is the kind of fruit that many enjoy.
What’s in it?
Beta-Sitosterol: This compound may block cholesterol absorption as well as reduce the discomfort of BPF (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). It also under review for the potential to prevent breast cancer.
Fiber: The fiber content of Avocados are high (one avocado provides 34% of the daily value for dietary fiber), which is good news since soluble fiber removes excess cholesterol from your body, and insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation by keeping your digestive system running smoothly.
Folate: Avocados are good sources of folate (one avocado provides 57mcg, or 28% of the daily value). This important B vitamin is linked to the prevention of neural-tube defects in fetuses as well as prevention of cancer and heart disease in adults.
Glutathione: Functioning as an antioxidant, this compound may neutralize free radicals that damage cells.
Magnesium: This mineral may help to reduce discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome, migraines, anxiety and other disorders.
Oleic Acid: A type of monounsaturated fat in avocados, oleic acid has been linked to lower cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fat in the diet.
Maximizing the benefits
Avocado flesh turns brown rapidly, so it is a good idea to sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloration.
Add more to your diet
Make a salad dressing: Puree avocado with plain nonfat yogurt, lime juice or vinegar to taste, salt and hot sauce, if you like.
Make avocado smoothie: In a blender, puree avocado, milk, a touch of sweetener and a couple of ice cubes.
Try avocado dessert: Drizzle cubes of avocados with honey and top with a sprinkling of nuts.
Mash avocados with a little salt (and perhaps some mustard) and use in place of mayonnaise in a tuna or chicken salad.
Health Bites
Some people tend to avoid avocados because they regard them as high in fat. Avocados are indeed high in beneficial monounsaturated fat, which-when substituted for saturated fat in the diet-helps to lower LDL ”bad” cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease.

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