During this Covid-19 pandemic, many more of us are paying attention to what we eat. Improvements to our diet can generate positive changes to our overall wellbeing.
One of the foods growing in popularity is the avocado. This pear-shaped fruit with a hard inedible outer green skin and a delicious savoury-tasting flesh is an excellent source of healthy fats that improve our cardiovascular and nervous systems, and vision. The avocado is also rich in minerals and vitamins, which are vital to our health.
This quirky fruit loves tropical climates and Mediterranean climates. Mexico is the world’s biggest producer of avocados, annually responsible for 45% of exports worldwide. In 2018, the global market for this commercially valuable crop was $13.5B.
Demand for avocados continues to grow as more people cotton on to its great taste and versatility in recipes, and of course, its many health benefits.
We’ve listed six of the top health benefits of the avocado, which are:
- Highly nutritious, rich in folate and Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, and E, providing between 10% and 26% of the daily recommended allowance (DRA).
- A great source of potassium, containing more than bananas. This helps reduce blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
- Packed full of fibre: a 3.5 ounce (99 grams) serving, for example, is the equivalent to a third of a person’s DRA. Fibre is important for weight loss, reducing blood sugar spikes, lowering the risk of many diseases, and generating health bacteria for the gut.
- Full of healthy fat, which account for 77% of an avocado’s calories and are mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, including Oleic acid which can also help reduce inflammation. They can also help improve absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and antioxidants.
- Capable of lowering bad cholesterol (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein) by 22%, and increase good cholesterol by 10%. It can help combat heart disease, which is the most common cause of death.
- Crammed with eye-protecting lutein and zeaxanthin, which not only stops harmful high-energy light waves damaging eyes, but also reduces the risk of chronic eye diseases.
Main image, top, of an avocado freshly cut. Photo © gil-ndjouwou / Unsplash