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.
Hailing from tropical climates throughout the world, including southern Florida and California, the avocado is categorized as a fruit. There are many types of avocados, but, generally speaking, avocados provide heart-protecting monounsaturated fatty acids, including 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 fight against oxidative stress and help the body maintain cellular health. Additionally, avocados contain potassium and folate, which are alkaline forming in the body to assist against acidic waste which adds up in human tissues and the bloodstream.
Then there’s avocados’ fiber content, providing 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 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 from avocados! 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.
Avocados also contain some of the highest concentrations of L-glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant” which allows all other antioxidants to function. The L-glutathione in avocados supports healthy inflammation and also supports gut health. Due to its high antioxidant value, the avocado helps protect cells against free radical damage and detoxifies the body of pollutants and other toxins.
Avocados can be used in many ways beyond guacamole, too. They can be added to everything from soups, salads, sandwiches, mousse, smoothies, as a base for puddings, healthy brownie recipes, creamsicles and much more.
So, get creative and add the amazing avocado to your menu.