By: Chioma Umeha
Many dismiss avocado as too fattening forgetting that is also packed with natural health goodness. Avocado has been called the world’s most perfect food. It has achieved this distinction because many nutritionists claim it not only contains everything a person needs to survive — but it has also been found to contribute to the prevention and control of Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.
The avocado (Persea gratissima or P. americana) originated in Puebla, Mexico and its earliest use dates back to 10,000 years B.C. Since AD 900, the avocado tree has been cultivated and grown in Central and South America. In the 19th century, the avocado made its entry into California, and has since become a very successful commercial crop. 95 per cent of U.S. avocados are gown in Southern California.
Here are other health benefits of avocado:
- Helps control blood pressure
- It contains potassium which is known to help control blood pressure.
- Helps to regulate blood sugar levels Avocados contain good soluble fibre which helps keep a steady blood sugar and also fats which can actually reverse insulin resistance that helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Helps in weight gain Due to the high healthy calorie content in avocados (For every 100 grams, an avocado contains about 200 calories) it makes for the best ingredient for those trying to put on weight.
- Helps to lower bad cholesterol levels Avocados contain a compound called beta-sitosterol which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels LDL which is bad cholesterol and increase HDL which is good cholesterol.
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties Avocados contain Phytonutrients such as polyphenols and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties. These reduce the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders.
- Helps to prevent birth defects Avocados contain folic acid which plays a huge role in the prevention of birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.
- Helps to fight free radicals Due to the glutathione content in avocados, a diet with an inclusion of avocados can free your body of free radicals. Contains anti-aging properties Avocados are rich in antioxidants which help slow aging symptoms.
- It also contains minerals which may boost the immune system, encourage a healthy nervous system.
- Reduces strokes risk If you eat a diet rich in folate, you may be able to evade getting a stroke.
- Promotes eye health
- Avocados are a good source of carotenoid lutein known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Helps to maintain a healthy heart Avocados contain vitamin E, glutathione, and monounsaturated fat, which help in the maintenance of a healthy heart. They also contain vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help regulate homocysteine levels which are known to increase the risk of heart disease.
- Offers protection against cancer Studies have shown that the avocado with its oleic acid is effective in preventing breast cancer. And can also inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.
- May cure halitosis They are a natural mouth wash as they cleanse the intestine which is actually the real cause of bad breath and coated tongue.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 14, 2013.