mysuperfoods

Super Starts Here.

What makes avocados super?

on November 28, 2011

Our spotlight superfood of the week is avocado.  Sure, you’re probably in love with it in guacamole, but avocados are so much more than a topper for your party tortilla chips.
 
Native to Central America, avocados have been enjoyed for thousands of years.  Here in the US, we typically choose from two types, grown in California and Florida.  However, 95% of the avocados we eat are California Haas avocados, thanks to Rudolph Hass, a Wisconsin mailman who retired to Pasadena and obtained a patent for the “Hass” avocado tree in 1935.
 
According to suerfoodsRx (http://www.superfoodsrx.com/superfoods/avocado/), recent research demonstrates that avocados are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available.  They are high in fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin K and magnesium.  Fiber keeps us full and “regular” (remember that dillema my daughter was in the other day?) and one serving provides 2g.  Vitamin E keeps your red blood cells healthy and helps prevent damage to cell membranes throughout the body.  Vitamin B6 stabilizes blood sugar levels and is necessary for red blood cell metabolism and proper nervous and immune system function.  Vitamin K supports bone density and blood clotting, which aids in healing of cuts and prevents long term bruising.
 
Did we mention avocados are fruits?  In fact, they are one of the only fruits to contain fat.  Before you go running for the treadmill, you should know that it’s “good” monounsaturated fat.  This oleic acid has been shown in at least one study to lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol after a 7-day diet including avocados.  In addition, there was an 11% increase of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.  The American Heart Associations recommends that children consume a diet containing 25-35% fat, with an emphasis on healthy, unsaturated sources.  Consuming these recommended amounts supports proper brain function and development and enhances the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including Vitamin E and K.   
 
That’s one of the greatest features of this nutty, buttery food.  It’s ability to catapult the nutrient benefits in other foods.  In other words, avocados make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients from foods.  According to superfoodsrx, “In one study, adding about half an avocado (75 grams) to a carrot/lettuce/spinach salad increased the absorption of the following nutrients in the subjects who ate the salad: alpha-carotene by 8.3 times, beta-carotene by 13.6 times, and lutein by 4.3 times compared with the absorption rate of the same salad without avocado. In a second study, adding a medium avocado (150 grams) to a serving of salsa increased the absorption of lycopene 4.4 times and the absorption of beta-carotene 2.6 times compared with eating the salsa without the avocado. Both studies concluded that the healthy monounsaturated fat in the avocado caused a significant increase in the absorption of the fat-soluble carotenoid phytonutrients in the meal.”
 
All that goodness aside, remember one serving is 1/5 of an avocado.  So, like all things in life, enjoy in moderation.
 
Sources:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/518866-advantages-of-avocado-for-kids/#ixzz1f1fmknfN
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado

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