Health

All About the ‘Superfood’ Avocado

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Image Source: Avocado Wonderland

Have you seen the latest Subway commercial with the annoying child-voice over? The one with the one lady declaring that her sandwich contains avocados, “superfood”?

In case you missed it, here it is:

Over the last year, I’ve seen a real avocado push. I’m not complaining, because I’m a fan, but are they really a so-called “superfood”?

Well. Yes. They are.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Avocados

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Here’s the nutritional value and health benefits of avocados according to the California Avocado Commission:

  • MONOUNSATURATED FATS (3g per serving) – Helps to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats.
  • VITAMIN K

    (6.3 mcg/8% DV per serving) – Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting. It is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly.

  • FOLATE

    (27 mcg/6% DV per serving) – Promotes healthy cell and tissue development. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.

  • POTASSIUM

    (152 mg/4% DV per serving) – In the body, potassium is classified as an electrolyte. Potassium is a very important mineral to the human body. It has various roles in metabolism and body functions and is essential for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs: It assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance; assists in protein synthesis from amino acids and in carbohydrate metabolism; and, it is necessary for the building of muscle and for normal body growth.

  • VITAMIN E

    (.590 mg/4% DV per serving) – A fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant that protects the body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions associated with aging. Vitamin E is important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K. At lower levels, vitamin E may help protect the heart. Vitamin E also plays a role in healthy skin and hair.

  • LUTEIN

    (81 mcg) – A carotenoid (a natural pigment) that may be associated with a lower risk of eye diseases. Lutein is an important antioxidant that may help your eyes stay healthy while maintaining the health of your skin. It provides nutritional support to your eyes and skin and has been linked to promoting healthy eyes through reducing the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older.

  • MAGNESIUM

    (9.0 mg/2% DV per serving) –An essential mineral for human nutrition. Magnesium in the body serves several important functions: Contraction and relaxation of muscles; Function of certain enzymes in the body; Production and transport of energy; and Production of Protein.

  • VITAMIN C

    (2.6 mg/4% DV per serving) –A water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy. Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

  • VITAMIN B6

    (0.086 mg/4% DV per serving) –A water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. The body cannot store them. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet. Vitamin B6 helps the immune system produce antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases. Vitamin B6 helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells. The body uses it to help break down proteins. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.

Types of Avocados

Now that you how good avocados are for you, it’s time to know some more about them. There are about 500 avocado varieties; however, the Hass variety accounts for approximately 95 percent of the total crop.

The Hass is a year-round, oval-shaped avocado and is distinctive for its skin that turns from green to purplish-black when ripe. Besides being the leading variety of California Avocado, it also has an excellent shelf life.

In addition to the popular Hass, California also produces the following varieties: Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, and Zutano

California is hands down the largest producer of avocados in United States with about 90 to 95 percent. Mexico, however, is the world leader. Avocados are also grown in various varieties found in Florida, Hawaii, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Argentina, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, and Australia.

How Do I Eat Avocados?

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Avocados may not be the tastiest of fruits to some. Yes, it’s a fruit and not a vegetable, but there are plenty of delicious recipes that call for an avocado. In fact, you can pretty much use avocados in almost any salad, sandwich, or wrap.

But the most common dish that uses avocados is guacamole. There are numerous takes on guacamole, but it’s probably best to stick with a classic recipe until you’ve become accustomed to avocados and want to try something new and exciting.

There are so many dishes that have avocados as an ingredient. We recommend you check out the recipes from this site. They have recipes that include everything from appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, pizza, and pretty much anything else in between, including deserts.

So, we suggest that you try a lot of different dishes out there until you find a favorite.

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