Avocado (persea Americana) also known as alligator pears or butter fruit is a super food for cancer and heart health. It is a member of the Lauraceae plant family, which also includes the cinnamon tree.
Avocados are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates of many countries, with Mexico as the leading producer of avocados in 2019, supplying 32% of the world total.
Avocados have green, brown, purplish, or black skin when ripe depending on the variety. And may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical.
This fruits are picked while immature, and ripened after harvesting.
Now, avocados are so popular and considered part of healthy diets due to their benefits and nutrients that can help keep you healthy, in addition to their delicious taste.
What are nutrients in avocados?
200 g of avocado (middle sized fruit) contains:
Calories : 322 kcal- Fat : 30 g
Protein : 4 g
Carbs : 17 g
Fiber : 14 g
Vitamin c : 22 % of the daily value (DV)
Vitamin E : 28 % of the DV
Vitamin k : 35 % of the DV
Folate : 41 % of the DV
Potassium : 21 % of the DV
Copper : 42 % of the DV
Pantothenic acid ( vitamin B5) : 56 % of the DV
What are the benefits of avocados for cancer and heart health?
In the following, we will explain the most important benefits of this valuable fruit:
Keep your heart healthy Avocados contain vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help regulate homocysteine levels. A high level of homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Avocado also contains vitamin E, glutathione, and monounsaturated fats, which help maintain a healthy heart.
Regulate blood pressure Avocados contain a high level of potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure levels.
Lower cholesterol levels Avocados can significantly lessen total cholesterol, lower blood triglyceride by up to 20 % and increase high-density lipoprotein by up to 11 % and reduce LDL by up to 22 %. A low-fat, vegetarian diet further enhances its effectiveness.
Promote eye health Avocados can help to protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts due to its content of carotenoid lutein which known to its value in eye health.
Reduce the risk of strokes Studies have shown that people who followed a diet rich in folate, which is abundant in avocados, had a lower risk of stroke than those who did not take folate.
Regulate blood sugar levels: The monounsaturated fats in avocados can reverse insulin resistance, they also contain soluble fiber which keeps blood sugar levels steady.
Anti-inflammatory properties Due to their content of phytonutrients such as polyphenols and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Protect against cancer, avocado is super food for cancer and heart health Researchers have found that the phytochemicals extracted from avocados can significantly restrain the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells. Several studies have shown that avocados can prevent the growth of prostate cancer. The oleic acid in avocado is also effective in preventing breast cancer. Phytochemicals in avocados also aid in the proliferation of immune system cells known as lymphocytes.
Prevent osteoporosis A quarter of the daily requirement of vitamin K, which is essential nutrient for good bone health, can be obtained from only half an avocado. Vitamin k helps in calcium absorption as well as decreasing urinary excretion of calcium.
Anti- aging properties As it is rich in antioxidant, avocado is beneficial in preventing the symptoms of aging. The glutathione in avocados may boost the immune system, slow the aging process, and promote a healthy nervous system.
Prevent birth defect Avocados are rich in the B vitamin commonly known as folic acid. One cup of avocado provides about 23% of the recommended daily value of folic acid. The high amount of folic acid in avocado in necessary for pregnant women in preventing birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spinabifida.
May aid in weight loss A 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal found that people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied. And they had a 28% lower desire to eat in the next five hours versus people who did not eat an avocado
Get rid of bad breath Avocado is one of the best natural mouthwashes for bad breath. Avocado also cleanses the intestines, which is the real cause of dry tongue and bad breath.
Is there any side effects?
like any food, eating too much avocado will not be good. The damages observed:
Allergic reaction Especially in people with latex allergy, eating avocados by these people may cause symptoms that may be mild or severe and may increase in severity each time more avocado is eaten.
Interference with some medications Like warfarin
Increased risk of weight gain Avocados contain a high percentage of monounsaturated fats in addition to a good amount of calories, therefore, you should not eat too much, as it causes weight gain.
Skin irritation It may occur due to the application of oils extracted from avocado topically on the skin and not only as a result of eating the fruit.