One of the biggest issues that I have with our American eating habits is not that we are completely inept at eating correctly, but that we cannot seem to do anything in moderation- the way it should be. Whether it is avoiding gluten, or eating fast food, we seem to have the ability to only do one or another. I have previously subscribed to the notion of “If It Fits Your Macros” or “Flexible Dieting” for the simple reason that it plans and advocates for moderation of both healthy and unhealthy foods, creating a balance that is easily sustainable. The issue with our society then becomes that it is hard to believe whether something is just another “fad” or if it is legitimately as good as people say it is. Take for instance the Atkin’s Diet or South Beach Diet of ~10 years ago. Both of these diet plans were extremely popular, but have now become relatively obsolete. Moving on from this point, one of the more recent discoveries of American “fitness” fanatics is the avocado.
The avocado is a great fruit that is rich in healthy oil; and it can be eaten and used in the production of avocado oil. Although avocado oil is not as popular as other oils, it is still very delicious, and equally as good for your body. The health benefit of avocado oil is greatly as a result of the presence of antioxidants and healthy fats in it. Whether you are using avocados as a fruit for eating, or as an oil, the health benefits are real and you should not miss out on them!
According to SFGate.com, Avocados originate from Guatemala, Mexico, or the West Indies. As their population has grown due to health reasons, Avocados are now commonly grown in various places in America as well as the entire world. In America, the majority of avocados are grown in California. Personally, I strongly suggest that you purchase organically grown avocados because they are far less likely to be effected by Monsanto growing habits. I will write more on Monsanto in the future, but I strongly believe that you should do your best to never, ever eat a Monsanto grown product. America has very good climates for avocado growing in different regions, and we usually have an abundance of them during all seasons due to this!
Enhances Heart Health
Based on several studies in animals, it was discovered that avocado oil has multiple different benefits to the heart. A study conducted on rabbits compared avocado oil to olive, corn and coconut oil, and it was discovered that avocado possesses positive effects on blood cholesterol levels when used consistently. Both olive oil and avocado oil were effective in increasing HDL (which is the good cholesterol). It also proves to lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and also lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in rats. Consistently switching to avocado oil can be extremely beneficial in combating our normal American diets, which are generally high in Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as high amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners. The way our diets are generally set up, it takes more than just being consistently active to undo a lot of the damage that foods have done to our bodies.
Great Source of Oleic Acid
Avocado contains “good fat” including the monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. About 70% of the entire content of avocado oil is oleic acid, and the level of the saturated fats it contains is relatively low. According to a study produced in 2002, “the hypothalamus and other regions within the central nervous system (CNS) link the sensing of nutrients to the control of metabolism and feeding behavior. Here, we report that intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of the long-chain fatty acid oleic acid markedly inhibits glucose production and food intake” (Central Administration of Oleic Acid Inhibits Glucose Production and Food Intake). In more simple terms, eating a food which contains a high amount of oleic acid (avocados) actually helps to stop the amount of unnecessary glucose are body absorbs (and converts to fat), as well as the amount of any other food our body absorbs (and converts to fat). For you, this means that you can literally eat more food but have less fat on your body from it. Pretty cool, right?!
Good source of Lutein
Lutein is an antioxidant which is good for your eyes and avocado oil is an extremely good source of lutein. When you consume a large amount of lutein, it may be able to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, both which are things that are common age-related eye diseases. As shown in a study produced in the year 2000, lutein supplementation resulted in “mean visual acuity improved by 0.7 dB and mean visual-field area by 0.35 dB. Improvements started 2 to 4 weeks after supplementation began, and plateaued at 6 to 14 weeks” (Lutein improves visual function in some patients with retinal degeneration). Ingesting foods that are high in lutein can literally improve your vision! Because your body does not have the resources to produce lutein, you need to obtain it from food sources; and a good source is avocado oil.
Helps to Lower the Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis is a very common disease which affects millions of people around the world, it involves the inflammation of the joints, with the most common form of arthritis being osteoarthritis (the breakdown of the cartilage in joints). Results of several studies reveal that extracts from soybean oil and avocado may be able to lower the stiffness and pain that is associated with osteoarthritis, especially for individuals having hip and knee osteoarthritis. Personally, I am not a fan of any product which contains soy, so I would opt directly for the avocados! This mechanism is most likely due to the increased health of all your joints from the “good” fatty acids in avocados!
Great for your Skin and Hair
A study that involved 13 patients discovered that a cream which contained vitamin B12 and avocado oil improved the symptoms of psoriasis after a period of twelve weeks of treatment. Avocado oil has also been studied for its fast wound healing abilities in rats. The natural oil of avocados is also an amazing ingredient for your hair! It is funny to me that at any local pharmacy or store which sells hair care products you will find “avocado oil” products, but they are also filled with 20+ additional ingredients which are completely unnecessary! Avocados themselves are completely capable of improving the quality of your hair and skin, all you need to do is apply them to the area which needs help! Don’t fall for phony marketing techniques, understand the science behind what you are doing!
One of the most unique benefits of avocados is that it actually helps your body absorb more of the beneficial nutrients from other foods! Studies have proven that when eating foods such as a salad along with avocados, your body actually absorbs more nutrients from the salad than it normally would. Although there are not studies to prove this on any wider range than this, it is fairly safe to say that adding avocado to any meal is a great choice!
Nutrients in avocados
avocados themselves do have slightly different overall health benefits than avocado oil, even though they are essentially the same thing. Nutrients which can be found in avocados include:
- Vitamin C; 17% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA
- Folate: 20% of the RDA
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA
It also contains zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and other minerals in small amounts, while also being low in carbohydrates, with 160 calories and 15 grams of protein. Apart from the list of vitamins and minerals that avocado contains, it also provides you with fiber which can contribute to weight loss.
Avocados and avocado oil should be added to your diet barring some allergy, they really are that good. No, this does not mean that you need to post a photo to Instagram with one every time you find a nice looking one at the store, but they certainly are more than just another “fad” food. avocados have benefits that no other fruit, or food, on this planet has! Start to add this super food to your regular diet today and see how quickly you begin to notice the overall amazing benefits!