Health Benefits of Avocados

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on November 14, 2011

On the outside, the avocado is not a big draw. Its greenish black bumpy skin belies the velvety goodness within. Avocados are a rather exotic taste temptation that shouldn't be saved for special occasions or the trip to the local taco bar. Avocados are uniquely good for you. Peel away the uncertainty and expose the true health benefits of avocados.

Picking just the right one, or two. Avocados come in many varieties. The typical Hass avocado is greenish black and lumpy on the outside, with creamy, smooth but firm light green flesh on the inside. An avocado that's ripe will yield to the touch, indicating that buttery readiness to be consumed right away. If the avocado is hard or not fully darkened in color, it may not be ready to eat. But you can buy it anyway and store it in a paper bag on the counter. It will ripen in a couple days. Rest assured, it's worth the wait. Once opened, avocadoes go brown quickly. So it's best to cut into the avocado right before serving. Lemon, lime or salt can enhance flavor and also help slow browning. Some swear by storing the avocado with the pit to keep it fresh longer, but avocados will all brown eventually once opened.

Avocados and heart disease. All fat is not bad. The fat in avocados is the good type of fat. According to WebMD, a medium sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, which the website compare to a quarter-pound beef burger. However, the recent thinking on avocados draws a distinction. Avocados contain the type of fat that actually helps lower cholesterol — monounsaturated fat. Even the U.S. Government is on the avocado bandwagon, urging Americans to consume more avocados. According to a study in Mexico done by the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, out of the 45 people studied, those that ate avocados every week had a 17-percent drop in cholesterol levels, on average. The balance of LDL, or bad fat, to HDL, or good cholesterol, also shifted to a healthier proportion. It's thought that the HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, levels in blood help lessen the risk of heart disease.

Additional nutrients in avocados. Good fat isn't the only thing worth consuming inside avocados. There are many other essential nutrients such as fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and B vitamins including folic acid. The avocado works hard for your health. It's considered a nutrient booster that helps the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamin A, beta-carotene and lutein, when eaten together.