Until recently people stayed clear of avocados because they were deemed too fattening. An average size avocado contains about 360 calories and about 30 grams. Surely, this is not the caloric or fat content we have come to expect from a fruit. But you may want to give avocados a second chance. When eaten in moderation, avocados have many health benefits that outweigh its fat content.
Avocados have the health benefit of controlling diabetes. Avocados are great sources of monounsaturated fats and research has shown that oleic acid in avocados lessen the risk of heart disease in people who have diabetes. Diabetics who eat a lot of carbohydrates generally develop high levels of triglycerides, a blood fat that may contribute to heart disease. Avocados, with its healthful monounsaturated fats, lower triglycerides levels, control blood sugar and allow insulin to work better.
Another health benefit of avocados is that they are rich sources of fiber. One avocado contains about 10 grams, 40% of the daily recommended value for fiber. Fiber has been shown to have many health benefits. Fiber aids in digestion, regulates bowel movement, protects the colon, protects the heart and helps to lower cholesterol. In fact, a Mexican study showed that avocados are effective at lowering bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol levels in people who eat guacamole regularly.
Avocados also have the health benefit of boosting the immune system and supporting bone health. Avocados are good sources of the trace mineral, phosphorous and zinc. Zinc has the health benefit of boosting the immune system; zinc helps to manufacture white blood cells, it helps to prevent and treat colds and flu. Phosphorous has the health benefit of strengthening bones and teeth and is major component in these body parts.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may just want to take advantage of this one health benefit of avocados: avocados are rich sources of folate. Why is this important? Well, folate just happens to be one of the best vitamins for pregnant women. Folate is a B vitamin that has the health benefit of preventing birth defects in babies. Plus, folate also helps to keep nerves functioning properly as well as help to fight heart disease in general.
Avocados also have the health benefit of preventing heart disease. The role avocados play against heart disease is dual: folate in avocados reduce levels of homocysteine that can cause heart disease; also potassium in avocados protect against heart disease. Studies show that potassium lowers high blood pressure, lowers the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. Second, Avocados protect the heart because oleic acid found in avocados reduces inflammation linked to the heart problem known as atherosclerosis.