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Avocado Nutrition

Avocado growers and aficionados would have you believe that misunderstanding surrounds the avocado: nutrition benefits far outweigh any negative characterizations of the fruit. Dieters and those trying to restrict the amount of fat in their diets have increasingly taken the avocado off their lists of healthiest fruits. That’s because the fat and calorie count of the avocado is very high.

One ounce of avocado, or about one-fifth of a fruit, has 50 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. That leaves one 5-ounce fruit with on average 250 calories and 22.5 grams of fat. It doesn’t really place the avocado on the top of the low-fat list. The good news is that the fruit has a high amount of monounsaturated fat at twenty-percent. It has lesser amounts of polyunsaturated and saturated fats.

Avocados do have a combination of twenty different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients which increase their status on the good nutritional content list. These include 4% of the daily recommended vitamin E, 4% of the vitamin C, 8% of the folate, 4% of fiber, 2% of iron, and 4% potassium. An avocado contains 81 micrograms of lutein and 19 of beta-carotene, which are called phytonutriuents. Leutein has been shown to be preventative of heart disease and it has proven to help maintain eyesight, particularly as we age and start to acquire diseases such as macular degeneration. Avocados also contain 76 mg of beta-sitosterol per three-ounce serving--this is a natural plant sterol which is being studied for its benefits in maintaining good cholesterol levels.

Avocados are a good source of carbohydrates because they have low sugar content and starch. The have vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, C, E, as well as phosphorus and magnesium, iron and copper. Vitamins C and E are good antioxidants which help prevent cell damage from free radials. Free radicals are natural byproducts of the human body itself, and are worsened by such things as pollution and cigarette smoking. Avocados have some good fiber content as well. Even with the fat content they can be beneficial for weight loss because they make you feel full for quite a long time, causing you to snack less. A few very thin slices of avocado throughout the day can keep you from feeling over-hungry and making bad food choices. Avocado nutrition may not be so bad after all.

When you consider the many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in avocados, and what the benefits of consuming these have proven to be, you will probably come to the conclusion that the positive outweighs the negative. If you eat an avocado--nutrition benefits can include lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol, treating duodenal ulcer, aiding healthy fetal development, strengthening the immune system, increased absorption of phytonutrients, reduction of kidney stone risk, maintaining optimal functioning of muscles and nerves, treating psoriasis, and even eliminating morning sickness and bad breath.


 

 


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