Sunday, 4 December 2011

Avocado and Its Health Benefits

Avocado is not in season in Singapore so it’s not cheap.  In fact, I bought 1 small piece  yesterday and it cost me $ 2.40 :-(  What’s with the avocado?  Definitely not cheap but my $ 2.40 avocado fruit comes with a great bundle of healthy nutrients that is good for the heart, the digestive system, and for general health.  Yes, you read it right.  This high in fat fruit promotes a healthy heart by reducing blood cholesterol, preventing the risk of heart diseases, and lowering down blood pressure as well as it may aid in losing weight.

 Here are some health benefits we can get from eating avocados

1. It’s good for the heart as it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels.  The monounsaturated fat and the polyunsaturated fat, when consumed in moderation helps reduce blood cholesterol level.  Also the oleic acid in avocados can help reduce cholesterol levels. In one study, individuals eating an avocado-rich diet had a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels, including a decrease in LDL cholesterol. Their levels of HDL cholesterol (the healthy type) increased by 11%.

2.  It reduces risk of cardio vascular diseases.  Avocado is high in folate, a nutrient important for heart health.  Studies show that patients with folate-rich diet have lower risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke as compared to those who are not consuming said nutrients.  Folate is also required to be taken by women who plans to get pregnant in order to protect their unborn babies.

3. It helps regulate blood pressure.  Avocado is a good source of potassium. The adequate intake of potassium can help guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.

4.  It helps in the smooth functioning of the digestive system and may aid it weight loss.  150 g. of avocado contains 10 g of fiber, both soluble and insoluble (insoluble fiber add bulk to the stool; soluble fiber slows down the breakdown of carbohydrate thereby slowing down the release of sugar into the blood stream, making you feel full longer.

Avocados also contain oleic acid, a fat that activates the part of your brain that makes you feel full. Healthier unsaturated fats containing oleic acid have been shown to produce a greater feeling of satiety

5.  It has a wide range of anti-inflamatory benefits.

The ability of avocado to help prevent unwanted inflammation is absolutely unquestionable in the world of health research. The term "anti-inflammatory" is a term that truly applies to this delicious food. Avocado's anti-inflammatory nutrients fall into five basic categories:

  • phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol

  • carotenoid antioxidants, including lutein, neoxanthin, neochrome, chrysanthemaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, violaxanthin , beta-carotene and alpha-carotene

  • other (non-carotenoid) antioxidants, including the flavonoids epicatechin and epigallocatechin 3-0-gallate, vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc

  • omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (approximately 160 milligrams per cup of sliced avocado)

  • polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PSA)s

Arthritis—including both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis—are health problems that have received special research attention with respect to dietary intake of avocado. All categories of anti-inflammatory nutrients listed above are likely to be involved in avocado's ability to help prevent osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. One especially interesting prevention mechanism, however, appear to involve avocado's phytosterols (stigmasterol, campesterol, and beta-sitosterol) and the prevention of too much pro-inflammatory PGE2 (prostaglandin E2) synthesis by the connective tissue.  (source : )

6. Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease. They also contain the related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as tocopherol (vitamin E).

7. Helps absorb more carotenoids from other foods . For some carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, chrysanthemaxanthin, lutein, neochrome, neoxanthin, violaxanthin, zeaxanthin)  to be absorbed by the body, it requires just the right amount and combination of dietary fats, and that’s where avocados come in.

7.  Anti Cancer Benefits

The ability of avocado to help prevent the occurrence of cancers in the mouth, skin, and prostate gland has been studied in a preliminary way by health researchers, mostly through the use of lab studies on cancer cells or lab studies involving animals and their consumption of avocado extracts. But even though this anti-cancer research has been limited with respect to humans and diet, we believe that the preliminary results are impressive. The anti-cancer properties of avocado are definitely related to its unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients. That relationship is to be expected since cancer risk factors almost always include excessive inflammation (related to lack of anti-inflammatory nutrients) and oxidative stress (related to lack of antioxidants). But here is where the avocado story gets especially interesting. In healthy cells, avocado works to improve inflammatory and oxidative stress levels. But in cancer cells, avocado works to increase oxidative stress and shift the cancer cells over into a programmed cell death cycle (apoptosis), lessening the cancer cell numbers. In other words, avocado appears to selectively push cancer cells "over the brink" in terms of oxidative stress and increase their likelihood of dying, while at the same time actively supporting the health of non-cancerous cells by increasing their supply antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. We look forward to large-scale studies in this area involving humans and dietary consumption of avocado.  (source : )

 Below is the nutrient content of 140 grams of avocado (source : )

(Note: "--" indicates data is unavailable)
total weight146.00 g
Basic Components
calories from fat192.63
calories from saturated fat27.94
protein2.92 g5.84
carbohydrates12.45 g4.15
dietary fiber9.78 g39.12
sugar - total0.96 g
monosaccharides0.86 g
disaccharides0.09 g
other carbs1.71 g
fat - total21.40 g32.92
saturated fat3.10 g15.50
mono fat14.31 g59.62
poly fat2.65 g11.04
trans fatty acids0.00 g
cholesterol0.00 mg0.00
water106.92 g
ash-- g
vitamin A IU213.16 IU4.26
vitamin A RE10.66 RE
A - carotenoid21.32 RE0.28
A - beta carotene90.52 mcg
thiamin - B10.10 mg6.67
riboflavin - B20.19 mg11.18
niacin - B32.54 mg12.70
niacin equiv3.15 mg
vitamin B60.38 mg19.00
vitamin B120.00 mcg0.00
biotin5.26 mcg1.75
vitamin C14.60 mg24.33
vitamin D IU0.00 IU0.00
vitamin D mcg0.00 mcg
vitamin E alpha equiv3.02 mg15.10
vitamin E IU-- IU
vitamin E mg-- mg
folate118.26 mcg29.57
vitamin K30.66 mcg38.33
pantothenic acid2.03 mg20.30
boron-- mcg
calcium17.52 mg1.75
chloride-- mg
chromium-- mcg--
copper0.28 mg14
fluoride0.01 mg0.33
iodine2.92 mcg1.95
iron0.80 mg4.44
magnesium42.34 mg10.59
manganese0.21 mg10.5
molybdenum-- mcg--
phosphorus75.92 mg7.59
potassium708.10 mg20.23
selenium0.58 mcg0.83
sodium10.22 mg0.43
zinc0.93 mg6.2
Saturated Fats
4:0 butyric-- g
6:0 caproic-- g
8:0 caprylic0.00 g
10:0 capric-- g
12:0 lauric-- g
14:0 myristic-- g
15:0 pentadecanoic-- g
16:0 palmitic3.03 g
17:0 margaric-- g
18:0 stearic0.07 g
20:0 arachidic-- g
22:0 behenate-- g
24:0 lignoceric-- g
Mono Fats
14:1 myristol-- g
15:1 pentadecenoic-- g
16:1 palmitol1.02 g
17:1 heptadecenoic-- g
18:1 oleic13.24 g
20:1 eicosen0.04 g
22:1 erucic-- g
24:1 nervonic-- g
Poly Fats
18:2 linoleic2.44 g
18:3 linolenic0.18 g
18:4 stearidon-- g
20:3 eicosatrienoic-- g
20:4 arachidon-- g
20:5 EPA-- g
22:5 DPA-- g
22:6 DHA-- g
Other Fats
omega 3 fatty acids0.18 g7.50
omega 6 fatty acids2.44 g
Amino Acids
alanine0.16 g
arginine0.13 g
aspartate0.34 g
cystine0.04 g9.76
glutamate0.42 g
glycine0.15 g
histidine0.07 g5.43
isoleucine0.12 g10.43
leucine0.21 g8.30
lysine0.19 g8.09
methionine0.06 g8.11
phenylalanine0.34 g28.57
proline0.14 g
serine0.17 g
threonine0.11 g8.87
tryptophan0.04 g12.50
tyrosine0.07 g7.22
valine0.16 g10.88

 - foodformylove(4December2011)

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References / Sources

1. Avocados (

2. 5 Reasons to eat more avocado (

3. Heart-Healthy avocados ( )

Avocado and cardiovascular diseases ( )

4. Health Benefits of Avocado ( )

5. Avocado ( )

1 comment:

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