Avocados are a very poorly understood fruit. They got a bad rap due to their high fat content, both in terms of cholesterol and weight control. The only place you might find them would be your nearest bowl of guacamole. Until recently, it wasn't understood that the type of fat found in avocados is acutally “good” fat.
Avocados originated in Mexico as early as 7,000 BC. Later, it was determined they could be found in South America as well. It seems, however, that when they started cultivating them in California in the late 1800s, that they became more accessible.
Because of the high fat content, avocados have a lot of calories. But, there is some good news. Not only are the highest levels of fat found monosaturated, but with all the other vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals and fiber, eating avocados is actually GOOD for your health.
Avocados have high levels of vitamins, A, C, E and K as well as folic acid and the mineral potassium. Phytochemicals that are found in abundance include lutein, beta-carotene and glutathione, all of which have been shown to have antioxidant properties that are anti-aging and anti-cancer. The nutrients found in avocados have been effective against prostate, oral and breast cancer. It is thought that the type of fat in the avocado allows for the phytochemicals and vitamins to be absorbed and better utilized in the body.
In terms of weight management, because of the high levels of beneficial constituents, avocados are considered nutrient-dense. Eating reasonable amounts help to limit the amount of calories eaten, but not the benefits. And because they have a lot of both fiber and good fats, they help you to feel full more easily.
Avocados are also wonderful additions to any beauty regime. Applying mashed avocado to the skin and hair is excellent for dryness and anti-aging.
Avocados are another superfood to add to your healthy lifestyle. And to top it off, avocados have been found by the Environmental Working Group to have the some of the lowest amounts of pesticides of all fruit and vegetables. So you can eat healthy and be green all at the same time!
Image courtesy of CookingLight.com.