Avocados: Heart Boosting Superfood
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. About 70% of the antioxidants in avocados are found in the pit, which can be dehydrated, ground into powder and added to other foods, or can be pulverized in a powerful blender and included in your smoothies.
This superfood is said to reduce total cholesterol, (by reducing “bad” cholesterol and increasing “good” cholesterol) boost heart health, fight free radicals, protect against osteoporosis and cancer, aid vision and strengthen the immune system. Since avocados have anti-inflammatory properties, they should be useful in decreasing arthritis symptoms. Some of the vitamins and minerals in this nutrient-dense food include:
- 18 different amino acids
- Niacin (B-3)
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Thiamin (B1)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
The healthy fats in avocados help improve carotenoid absorption, as well as conversion of beta-carotene into active Vitamin A. Add avocados to your salads. Most of the phytonutrients are found in the seed and the dark green outermost flesh, closest to the skin.
Don’t go on an all-avocado diet. Not only is the avocado high in fat, but the fats are not well-balanced between O-3 and O-6 content. It is best to use them as an accompaniment to an otherwise balanced meal. You can trust that you are getting many of the kinds of fats that provide important anti-inflammatory benefits as well as a host of other nutrients.
A ripe avocado is slightly soft. If the fruit has a slight neck, it may have ripened more on the tree and have a better flavor. You can ripen firmer fruits at home in a paper bag or at room temperature for a few days. Don’t refrigerate until they are ripe and then eat within a week. When storing a cut avocado, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning and store in a covered container.
If you have Latex-Fruit Syndrome, consult with your physician about eating avocados.