Avocado: Nutritional And Health Benefits

It is one of the most common fruit trees in Africa. Its family name, Lauraceae. The scientific name, Persea Americana. Why should we have an avocado on our table?

Avocados can grow to a height of 8 to 10 meters tall. The tree is evergreen, with laurel-like leaves. The elongated, pear-shaped fruits have smooth or rough skin, which can be green or a brownish-red, which encloses the yellow to green flesh. The seed constitutes approximately 20% of the total fruit.
There are several reasons why we must regularly eat avocados. Technically speaking, avocados don’t just taste great, but they also come with a decent amount of nutritional and health benefits, as outlined below.

Lower body cholesterol levels
Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol, which is effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Also, the oleic acid in avocados can reduce cholesterol levels. This plays a great role in keeping the heart healthy. Therefore, eating an avocado regularly is the best way to control cholesterol levels in our body.

Regulate the blood sugar levels
The monounsaturated (good fats) in avocados can reverse insulin resistance, which plays a great role in regulating the blood sugar levels. It also contains soluble fibres, which keep a steady blood sugar level.

Anti-Inflammatory properties
Phytonutrient compound found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders in the body.

Prevent birth defects
Avocados are rich in folate, a vitamin B complex which is commonly known as folic acid. The high amount of folate in avocado is essential in the prevention of birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.

Anti-aging properties
Being rich in antioxidants, avocado is beneficial in preventing aging symptoms.The glutathione in avocado may boost the immune system, slows the aging process, and encourages a healthy nervous system.

Increase nutrient absorption
An avocado intake is linked with an increased nutrient absorption. For instance, if one ate salad that contained avocados, their body absorbs five times the amount of carotenoids than those who did not include avocado.

Skin Care
The avocado oil obtained from the pulp can be added in many cosmetics because of its ability to nourish the skin and make your skin glow. It also aids in treating psoriasis, a skin disease that causes skin redness and irritation.

Protection against cancer
Many scientific studies have shown that avocado can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. The anti-cancer properties of avocado are definitely related to its unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients. The oleic acid in avocado is also effective in preventing breast cancer.

Stroke Prevention
The high levels of foliate in avocado protect the body against strokes. People who eat diets rich in foliate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don’t.

Promote eye health
An avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein that works as an antioxidant which is known to protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts hence ensuring good health of the eyes.

Maintain a healthy heart
An avocado contains vitamin 66 and folic acid, which are essential for regulating homocysteine levels. High level of homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Avocado also contains vitamin E, glutathione, and monounsaturated fat, which is very essential in maintaining a healthy heart.

Fight free radicals
Avocados contain glutathione, a powerful antioxidants that enables the body to fight free radicals in the body.

Control blood pressure
An avocado pulp is a great source of potassium, which plays a great role in controlling our blood pressure levels. Vitamin E powerhouse: Avocados are one of the best fruit source of vitamin E; an essential vitamin that protects our body against very many diseases.

Avocados also make us feel full. Half an avocado contains about 3.4 grams of fiber (soluble and insoluble), both of which our body needs to keep the digestive system running smoothly. The soluble fibre slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body thereby making us feel full for longer after eating the avocado pulp.

Avocado seed has 70% of the antioxidants found in the whole Avocado, which lowers body cholesterol, and prevent cardiovascular diseases. The antioxidants also keep free radicals at bay; improving the body’s immune system and slowing the aging process. The avocado seed contains a flavonol that prevents tumour growth in the body. The seed also has lots of phenolic compounds that prevents gastric ulcers, and prevent bacterial and viral diseases. The seed can be blended into a smoothie or juice to offer maximum nutritional benefits, but with caution one should be careful because in large quantities the avocado seed can be toxic.

– Richard Komakech

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