Despite our love of guacamole during the Super Bowl, Americans may not be eating as many avocados as they should. Mexico exports 1.5 billion pounds of the dimpled green fruit to the U.S. annually, yet the average Americans consume only five avocados each year.
Maybe if more people knew how good avocados are for them, they’d add this superfood to their diet a lot more often. Avocados contain healthy fats and nutrients that make them an important part of a balanced diet. Here are seven health benefits of avocados you should know about.
1. They’re like a Multivitamin
This small fruit packs a serious nutritional punch. Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Eating one-third of an avocado (considered one serving) will give you 10% of vitamin K, which builds strong bones and helps your blood clot. The same amount also contains 6% of vitamin E, which helps our immune system fight viruses and bacteria.
One-third of an avocado also delivers 14% of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) which our body needs to create energy from food. Avocados are high in copper, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B5 (folate), and other nutrients.
Best of all, you get all of these for only 80 calories per serving, making avocados a nutrient-dense food.
2. They Contain Fiber
The same serving of avocado contains three grams of fiber or 11% of the recommended daily consumption for adults. Fiber assists our digestive system and may decrease the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
It also helps us feel full longer, which is why avocado is a great addition to any meal, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight. Incorporating avocado into a breakfast meal or shake will help you feel satisfied and energized through the morning hours. Dishes made with avocado are often a top brunch menu item for this reason.
3. They’re Good for Your Eyes
Move over, carrots. It turns out that avocado is one of the foods that we should be eating more of to protect our eyes.
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These are carotenoids, plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables their distinctive hues. Carotenoids, in general, are very good for the human body, but lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to be very beneficial for eye health.
Our eyes actually love to absorb these two pigments—they head straight for our retinas. Consuming foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin may help reduce our risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
Researchers don’t know yet exactly how much of these pigments we should eat daily to help our eyes. However, adding avocados to your diet along with other color-packed fruits and vegetables can contribute towards a healthy vision.
4. They’re Good for Your Heart
Let’s get one thing out of the way: avocados are a fatty food. There are a whopping 21 grams of fat in one cup of sliced avocado. If we saw that number associated with other foods, we might avoid eating them.
But the good news is this fat is mostly the “good” kind—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These two types of fat help keep bad cholesterol levels down which helps prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Only 15% of the fat found in avocados is the saturated kind.
Speaking of cholesterol, avocados are a cholesterol-free food. This means you can use them as a creamy substitute for mayonnaise and butter. You just need to watch your portion control, as the calories from avocado can quickly add up.
The vitamins and antioxidants found in avocado are also heart-healthy. Heart patients can eat avocados in moderation and know they’re doing something good for their health.
5. They’re Good for Expectant Moms
Avocados are rich in folate, a B-vitamin that is known to have benefits to expectant and new mothers. Folate can help prevent birth defects such as Spina Bifida and it helps a baby’s nervous system develop properly.
Folate is found in many foods but can be destroyed through cooking. Since avocados can be enjoyed raw, this makes them a great choice for getting enough folate. Half of one avocado contains 21% of the recommended daily intake of folate.
6. They Boost Sex Drive and Testosterone
It’s true: if you’re looking for foods to naturally boost your sex drive, add avocado to your diet. The vitamins and minerals found in avocados—particularly zinc and copper—help support our endocrine system. These are the glands that release hormones into our blood, helping to boost our desire for sex.
Avocados are especially beneficial to men, as they can increase testosterone levels. If you lift weights and are looking for more energy to power you through workouts, adding avocados to your diet can help.
7. They Can Help Keep Blood Pressure Normal
Potassium is very important for our bodies. It helps equalize fluid in our cells, maintains our nervous system, and regulates heart and muscle contractions. People with high blood pressure need enough potassium to keep their pressure within a normal range.
Half of an avocado gives you 10% of your recommended daily value of potassium, just edging out the 9% found in a medium-sized banana. As a bonus, they contain very little sodium, something that people with high blood pressure need to watch out for.
The Benefits of Avocado Can’t Be Beat
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about avocados. They deserve their label as a superfood because the number of nutrients they provide can’t be beat.
Here at Cupitol, we love the health benefits of avocado as well. That’s why you can find avocados as the main ingredient in several of our menu offerings, including our avocado wrap sandwich avocado dream smoothie.
The next time you’re near our Streeterville location, come in and experience for yourself how good avocado is for you. Or check out our menu and try one of our healthy offerings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.