Foods with distinctive health benefits that exceed their wealth of nutrients are called superfoods—and the amazing avocado is one of them. Not only is it abundant in good-for-you fatty acids, antioxidant phytonutrients and amino acids, but it’s also one of the best healthy aging superfoods as well.
Hailing from tropical climates throughout the world, including southern Florida and California, the avocado is categorized as a fruit. There are two main types of avocados: the Hass avocado—named after Rudolph Hass whose avocados grown on his farm were patented—and the Florida avocado.
Hass avocados are typically smaller than Florida avocados, but Hass avocados are more dense in heart-protecting monounsaturated fatty acids. In fact, the Hass avocado boasts between 18 and 30 percent fatty acids, while the Florida avocado has about 3 to 5 percent. Either way, however, the avocado is quite high in healthy oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat that helps boost fat metabolism and to keep your heart and cholesterol levels healthy.
Likewise, avocados are rich in the potent carotenoid antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E. Antioxidants, as you know, fight against oxidative stress and help the body maintain cellular health. Additionally, avocados contain potassium and folate—necessary nutrients in themselves—that also are alkaline forming in the body to assist against acidic waste which adds up in human tissues and the bloodstream. And let’s not forget about avocados’ fiber content. They contain a good amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber. In fact, one cup of avocado provides 30 percent of your daily recommended amount of fiber.
An added avocado perk is that the antioxidants in avocados are lipophilic, or fat loving, and are absorbed best in the body when combined with a healthy fat such as oleic acid. That’s a one-two healthy punch just from avocados alone! Here’s an example: a study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that adding avocados to salad increased absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when avocado-free salad was eaten.
Then there’s avocados’ age-busting ability. They’re one of the best foods to fight against wrinkles and skin aging due to a healthy sugar called D-manno-heptulose found in avocados that improve the skin by boosting collagen formation. Avocados’ amino acid content and carotenoid antioxidants also combine to combat age spots, inflammation, scars and burns.
Talk about amazing!
Avocados can be used in many ways beyond just guacamole, too. They can be added to everything from soups, salads, sandwiches, mousse, smoothies, healthy brownie recipes, creamsicles and much more.
Get creative and add the amazing avocado to your menu—daily.