An Avocado a day keeps the doctor away

avocado.jpgThe Functional Food of the week is Avocado! I’m sure all of you have tried an Avocado, but if you haven’t – I have no freakin’ idea what you are waiting for! This fruit is considered one of the most nutrient-dense fruits in the world, it is a superfood in every sense of the word. Some people don’t include them in their diet due to their fat content. Unfortunately we’ve been taught that fat is bad for you and you should stay away fro it or stick to low-fat diets. BUT Avocados contain healthy fats, which are GOOD FOR YOU. And guess what else?! Eating healthy fats actually helps you LOSE weight. Sounds contradictory right? I understand why people are thrown off by the whole eat fat – get thin concept. Let’s check out the science behind it all by diving into the nutrition benefits Avocados have to offer:

1. High in GOOD fats (Avocados contain Monounsaturated Fatty Acids which are the HEALTHY fats. They keep you full for longer meaning you won’t be tempted to snack on unhealthy alternatives. Which leads to…WEIGHT LOSS! Healthy Fats are your friend – EAT THEM!)

2. Balance Hormones Naturally (How? Studies on fatty acids have shown that they play a large role in regulating the functions of your central nervous system and your overall reproductive health. They have also shown that eating avocados can fight depression, while boosting your mood and even fertility levels!)

3. Heart Healthy (Again – thanks to their fatty acid content, Avocados balance blood lipids within the body. Diets that contain a decent amount of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids prevent Arteriosclerosis – the hardening of arteries.)

4. Regulates Glucose Levels (This benefit is important because it can protect your body from insulin resistance and Diabetes. Diets that contain plenty of of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids improve fasting insulin levels. Eating healthy fats can actually decrease insulin and glucose levels within the body for hours. This also prevents weight gain and obesity!)

5. Skin Health (Avocados aren’t just good for your insides, you can use them on your skin too! They are an incredible natural moisturizer and can make your skin to glow when used as a part of your beauty routine. Why? Thanks to their antioxidant content – specifically lutein, which is a carotenoid. This antioxidant promotes healthy, glowing skin.)

6. Cancer Fighting Food (WOAH, what?! Why are studies claiming that Avocados can help in the fight against cancer? Thanks to the naturally occurring phytochemicals they contain! Research shows that the phytochemicals found in avocados help block the growth of tumors and decrease changes in chromosomes. Their Monounsaturated Fatty Acid content also helps lower inflammation within the body, which helps in the fight against chronic illnesses.)

7. Improved Digestion (Besides being full of antioxidants and healthy fats, Avocados are also jam-packed full of fiber. Just to put it into perspective for you, one whole Avocado can contain 11-17 grams of fiber – more than any other fruit! Fiber boosts healthy gut bacteria, makes it easier to go to the bathroom and helps the body get rid of toxins. A high-fiber diet is super important for anyone who suffers from digestive issues because they help the body better absorb nutrients by nourishing the gut lining.)

8. Decreased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome (Bottom line – eating Avocados helps regulate hormones within your body, which in turn can prevent chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Studies show that people who regularly eat avocados have 50% LESS chance of developing metabolic syndrome and other diseases. You read that right – FIFTY PERCENT!)

 Some of the other nutrients Avocados provide include:

– Folate (can prevent birth defects and potentially prevent strokes!)

– Vitamins A, E + K (necessary vitamins, work together to positively impact metabolic factors within the body)

– Vitamins B + C (these vitamins aren’t naturally stored in your body so it’s necessary to eat fruits or vegetables daily)

– Protein (some people think that fruit and vegetables don’t contain enough protein – Avocados are very high in protein and low in sugar!)

– Minerals (Iron, Copper, Potassium and Magnesium – you know how people tell you to eat a Banana if you need Potassium? 1 Avocado has more Potassium than 2 Bananas!)

– Phytonutrients (which are anti-inflammatory compounds that decrease your chances of suffering from chronic illnesses caused by inflammation within the body)

– Carotenoids (lower inflammation, boost your immune system and promote healthy growth and development)

Soooo basically, if Avocados aren’t already a part of your diet – you should consider giving them a try. They have SO much to offer to your overall health AND they are absolutely freakin’ delicious. Avocados are so diverse, they can be used in SO many different ways, in both sweet and savory recipes. Whether you whip up some avocado toast, toss some into a smoothie, chop it up and put it on top of your salad, etc. Just try them and see how you feel!

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