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Is Avocado a fruit or a vegetable?
Often a topic of debate,
- Avocados are neither a fruit nor a vegetable, they’re actually considered to be a berry.
- Avocados are native to Mexico and Central America but are easily available and grown world wide in warm climates.
- Avocados are part of the lauraceae family, which also includes cinnamon and laurel.
- Avocados are also known as alligator pear or butter fruit.
- Avocados are creamy, green and mild in flavour, are versatile and have even become a kitchen staple around the world.
- Avocados are every millennial’s obsession, the world’s new favourite superfood and the “hip” thing to eat.
- Lucky for us, avocados are popular for good reasons — They are nutritious, full of healthy fats and it doesn’t hurt that they are delicious!
Let’s take an in-depth look at the health benefits avocados provide us with —
Avocados are an excellent source of nutrients —
If you’re looking for a nutritious addition to your diet, look no further, avocados are here for you. Avocados are high in healthy fats, full of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and magnesium. Avocados are rich in nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets. Avocados are especially rich in potassium, even more than bananas. Potassium is often considered to be a “nutrient of public health concern” because not many people consume enough of it. Your body needs potassium to function efficiently and normally.
Avocados are great for your vision —
Avocados contain two phytochemicals present in eye tissue which act as antioxidants which protect the eyes against damage and UV light. Adding avocados to your diet even help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Avocados are beneficial for your gut health and digestion —
Avocados are high in fibre which helps digestion and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.
Eating foods like avocados which have natural fibre can help prevent constipation, maintain your digestive tract health and even lower the risk of developing colon cancer.
Avocados are good for your heart —
Eating avocados can keep your heart healthy and young. It helps prevent heart disease, it increases your heart-protective HDL cholesterol levels, lowers your oxidised LDL cholesterol levels, keeps your blood pressure in check and all the nutrition found in avocados works together to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
Avocados are good for your bones —
Eating avocados equals stronger bones. Avocados are high in vitamin K which is essential for bone health and calcium absorption. Avocados can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis symptoms. Eating avocados has also proven to improve bone density and prevent fractures.
Avocados naturally detoxify your body —
Avocados are loaded with fibre which can regulate your bowel movements and expel toxins and waste from your body. The dietary fibre found in avocados also promotes good gut health and microbial diversity which keeps your digestive system healthy and clean.
Avocados protect your brain —
Avocados give your body a good dose of vitamin E which is great for your brain. It can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, slow cognitive and memory decline, keep your thinking skills up to date and even fight cell damage caused due to age, sun and radiation. Avocados are also rich in vitamin A which is strengthening for your brain and its functions.
Avocados are a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds —
Apart from being loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fibre, avocados are also brimming with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds protect your brain, heart and overall body from oxidative stress and damage. Avocados also contain compounds that have antimicrobial effects on the body and help prevent infections and allergies.
Avocados help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels —
Avocados are high in healthy fats and fibre but low in carbs and sugar, ticking all the boxes as a diabetic friendly food. Adding avocado to your meals can prevent your insulin and blood glucose levels from rising dramatically. Even just half an avocado can make a huge difference. Overtime, eating avocados can lower visceral fat which is known to be a cause of type 2 diabetes. Try replacing some of your carbohydrate calories with avocados instead.
Avocados are good for your skin —
Whether you eat it or put it on your face as a mask, your skin will love it. Avocados have antioxidants which help keep your skin looking youthful, it smoothes out wrinkles, boosts elasticity and protects your skin from UV damage. Did you know that avocado paste can even help relieve a sunburn and help with wound healing?
Avocados improve your prostate health —
Eating avocados regularly can relieve enlarged prostate symptoms due to the presence of phytonutrients like beta-sitosterol.
Avocados boosts satiety —
Eating healthy fats slows down the stomach emptying process which keeps you full for longer and delays hunger. This keeps you satiated for longer.
Avocados promote healthy body weight and even help you lose weight —
While many factors influence your weight, a nutritious and balanced diet is probably the most crucial when it comes to achieving your weight goals. Avocados are high in calories but are also full of nutrients and fibre. The rich dietary fibre in avocados promotes weight loss by promoting satiety and reducing overeating. The fats found in avocados are healthy monounsaturated fats which can help shave off a few inches around your waistline. Avocado consumption over time also reduces belly fat, or visceral fat.
Avocados boost your mood and reduce your risk of depression —
Avocados are packed with folate. If a person does not get enough folate it can cause depression symptoms and less likely to respond well to antidepressants. Folate also plays a role in preventing birth defects, improves circulation and uplifts your mood. Folate also helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine, a substance that can hinder the circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can cause cognitive dysfunction, depression and lower the production of serotonin and dopamine which regulates your mood, sleep and appetite.
In short — Avocados are versatile and delicious, highly nutritious and can be eaten as savoury or sweet preparations.