In my opinion avocados are the most super of all super foods. I wasn’t introduced to them until college, and I’m glad I didn’t know what I was missing. The world would be a darker place without avocados…. ok, I exaggerate.
Anyway, they are really packed with essential nutrients, including Vitamins B5, B6, C, E and K, potassium, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, fiber, and good fats like omega-3’s. Not only are they full of good stuff themselves, they bring out the goodness in what’s around them. Avocados contain a lot of oleic acid which helps our body absorb fat-soluble nutrients. For example, one study found that adding a cup of avocado to a salad with romaine, spinach and carrots increased carotenoid absorption 200-400%!
But, but, high in fats, isn’t that bad? Nope! Many fats are good. The one fat you really want to avoid is trans-fat, and saturated fats should be taken in “moderation”. In other words, just don’t pig out on them every day. Only 10% of an avocado’s fat content is saturated, and it contains no trans-fats. Monounsaturated fat (70% of the fat) is actually GOOD for your heart. Avocados are also anti-inflammatory thanks to two more fats; PFA’s (polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, usually only in ocean plants) and phytosterols. These are particularly good for those with arthritis. Then there are the well known omega 3’s (another fat) that actually lower your blood cholesterol.
And listen to this: new research shows avocados target and kill cancer cells. Sounds too crazy to believe right? I thought so too, so I looked into it a little more. Avocados contain antioxidants, which is this great word we throw around a lot that I knew was good but wasn’t quite sure why. Free oxygen radicals damage cell tissue and DNA and cause aging. They are a natural waste product of our metabolism, but we make more around things like cigarette smoke, radiation, and pollution. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals. Somehow the avocado is able to target cancer cells. It seems to increase the damage caused by the free oxygen radicals in the cancer cells while antioxidizing (new word?) the healthy cells. I knew when I started researching this post that avocados were awesome, but I never expected this.
In summary: avocados are full of good nutrients and make healthy food we eat with them even healthier, they are good for your heart, anti-inflammatory, lower cholesterol, and they kill cancer. Oh, I almost forgot, they’re delicious too. I say avocados are the super-est super food. Who’s with me?