The 6 Top Health Benefits Of Avocado  The ‘Testicle’ Fruit

The avocado is a fruit originally found in the Central Mexican region that has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. The name ‘avocado’ is derived from the Aztech or Nahuatl word ‘ahuacatl’, meaning ‘testicle’; referring to the shape of the fruit. Some people call the avocado the ‘alphabet fruit’ because it contains so many vitamins, including Vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and healthy fats. It is also known as the ‘alligator pear’ due to its scaly skin. 

Benefits of Avocado

One of the main health benefits of avocado is that when you eat it along with other healthy foods, you are guaranteed that your body will increase the absorption of nutrients from the healthy foods  by more than 400%, than if you ate them alone. So next time you are enjoying your healthy green salad, make sure you sprinkle some avocado on top to get the most health benefits out of your salad content.   

However eating avocados alone can also be very beneficial. The Mayan Indians have a saying in that “Where avocados grow, hunger or malnutrition has no friends”.  Let’s have a look at the main health benefits of avocados to prove the above saying:

1. Maintains a healthy heart – Oleic acid also known as omega-9, is the primary fatty acid contained in avocados and many studies have shown that this kind of fatty acid improves cardiovascular health. Other kind of fatty acids are the omega-3s which are also found in avocados with abundance, and are mega fighters against heart diseases.     

2. Lowers cholesterol levels – Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol which has been found to lower the LDL cholesterol which is the “bad” cholesterol. Studies have found that by adding avocados to your diet for a week, the LDL levels and triglyceride (also harmful) can decrease by 22%, whereas the HDL (good cholesterol) can increase by over 10%. 


3. Controls blood pressure – Potassium is great when it comes to regulating blood pressure and preventing circulatory diseases. The good news is that avocados are loaded with potassium. Just to give you a rough idea, avocados can boast more than 30% potassium content than bananas.

4. Protects against eye diseases – Avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein which keeps the eyes safe from oxidative stress, macular degeneration and cataracts. Avocados contain more carotenoid lutein than any other commonly used fruit.

5. Helps stabilize blood sugar levels – The monounsaturated fats (good fats) found in avocados prevents blood sugar levels from spiking after a meal. These fats can even reverse insulin resistance which helps to regulate blood sugar levels, meaning a steadier blood sugar for the long term.

6. Helps pregnant women and decreases birth defects – Avocados are rich in folate which is vitamin B9 commonly known as folic acid. Just one cup full of avocado provides almost a quarter of the recommended daily value of folate. The high levels of folate in avocado are essential for the prevention of birth defects such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.  Folate also helps for the development of the brain and other tissues of the baby. 

Another vitamin found in avocados is vitamin B6 which helps reduce nausea that usually comes with pregnancy. 

 If you have been through pregnancy before (if you’re a woman of course), you might remember your doctor giving you supplements of folic acid. Well now you have a natural source called the “avocado”.

Just a slight warning – avocados are high in calories (one avocado approx. 320 calories) so if you’re trying to lose weight then you might want to go easy on the fruit, or cut something else out of your daily diet.  Like any kind of superfood, the avocado also has its disadvantages so it is always best to consult with your family physician.  



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Great Avocado Recipes

Grilled Chicken Salad with Avocado and Mango

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons mango chutney

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves

Cooking spray

8 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup diced peeled mango

3/4 cup diced peeled avocado

Directions:

1. Prepare grill.

2. Combine oil, juice, chutney, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl.

3. Place chicken on large plate; spoon 2 tablespoons oil mixture over chicken, reserving the rest for the salad. Turn chicken to coat, and let stand 5 minutes.

4. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until chicken is done, brushing with oil mixture from plate before turning. Slice chicken crosswise into strips.

5. Arrange greens, mango, and avocado on 4 serving plates.

6. Arrange chicken over greens. Drizzle reserved dressing over salads.


Grilled Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices 

Cooking spray 

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 serrano chile, minced

1 avocado 

Directions:

1. Preheat grill to high heat.

 2. Combine oil and honey, stirring well. Brush oil mixture over pineapple.

3. Place pineapple on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from grill; cool 5 minutes.

4. Chop. Combine pineapple, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through serrano); toss gently.

5. Peel, seed, and dice avocado. Add avocado to the pineapple mixture, and toss gently.

Serves: 6

Approx.calories 165 per serving