June 3, 2013

Top 10 Benefits of Eating Avocados

It is the season of one of my favorite fruits - the avocado! I was introduced to this 'strange' and 'exotic' fruit when I was in college. Every Wednesday evening, my friends and I used to go to the local juice shop for a cool treat of fresh fruit juice. The owner of the shop asked me if I'd like to try the new 'Butter Fruit' that he brought from Bangalore and offered me the Butter Fruit milkshake. As I slowly sank into its satin smooth texture, I felt incredibly good - and so began my love for avocado, even though I just knew it as Butter Fruit then. After that experience, I have sought out avocados everywhere I have gone, tried new recipes, and used them in all kinds of dishes - appetizer to main course to dessert - and they have never disappointed me. 

Avocados are avoided by some people for being high in fat and calories, and some others for being bland and tasteless. However, it is these very qualities of the avocado that I love, here's why.

1. A whole avocado has about 320 calories, but they come from mono-unsaturated fats which lower cholesterol

2. One avocado contains more than 1/3 of your daily vitamin C requirement, and more than 1/2 of your vitamin K requirement. Vitamin C is required to maintain a healthy immunity, an vitamin K facilitates clotting of blood.

3. Avocados are a major source of potassium - one avocado has about 950 grams (Recommended Daily Intake is 4700 grams). Potassium is important in preventing high blood pressure.

4. One avocado contains 7 grams of fiber. Fiber keeps you full for a longer time and is important for digestive health. See the link to learn more about the benefits of fiber.

5. Avocados provide 1/4 of your recommended intake for folate, which is important for heart health and if you are pregnant, for your developing baby.

6. They are a great source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant and prevents cellular damage due to aging. Think of all the vitamin E creams, beauty products, and supplements on the market. Eating avocado is a better way to get your vitamin E!

7. Avocados contain carotenoids like lutein, which is important for maintaining eye health, preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.

8. The fats in the avocado also help to attract fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) from other foods. So use your avocado in salads or in dishes with other nutrient-rich foods!

9. Avocados protect your health against diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even some types of cancer.

10. I've left the best for last - did you know avocados help in weight loss? The monounsaturated fats in avocados speed up the rate of metabolism and are more easily assimilated by your body than saturated fats. This means that your body prefers to burn the fat in avocados and convert it to energy rather than keep it in storage. Also, avocados boost satiety and have a very low glycemic index - that is helpful in the management of diabetes and obesity.

That's just a small list of benefits of avocados. The big bonus is that they are extremely versatile and because of their neutral taste, they can be used in many ways to create tasty dishes. The easiest way to eat them is to slice them up and sprinkle salt and lemon juice. When I want a more sophisticated dish, here's what I like to make with avocados:
  • Baked avocado fries
  • Guacamole with garlic
  • Avocado-chickpea salad
  • Avocado parathas
  • Avocado mayo
  • Avocado chocolate pudding
  • Avocado milkshake or smoothie

If you're interested in some trivia, this document talks about how the avocado was first introduced in India and cultivated - a very interesting read to say the least!

How do you like to eat avocados?

Image courtesy: Jonesemyr/Flickr CC

No comments :

Post a Comment

Please use the comment form to ask any questions or leave comments. Thanks for visiting!