Nutrition – health benefits of avocado

Posted on 21 November 2014

… a regular nutrition series for vegans by Anastacia Sampson

We may love creamy foods, but only a few are much more delectably healthy than others. Here are 7 reasons why avocado pear fruit is worth including in your diet:

  1. Avocado pears - photo courtesy of Pat Herman at FreeImagesAlthough high in fat, the fat they do supply is rated as healthy fat. Most of it is composed of oleic acid (the same as found in olive oil). There are a number of fatty substances found in avocado which have been shown by research to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ok, so we can get 240 calories from 150g or a cup of avocado. This is not too bad when you compare it to some biscuits, cakes, rusks or ice cream.
  2. We can rely on avocado pears to support our essential fatty acid intake. There are 2 types of fat that are crucial to our well-being, namely omega 6 and omega 3, and this fruit serves us well. As we can’t manufacture omega 6 or 3 and these types are needed for a range of processes in a health body, eating fatty foods containing them is healthy.
  3. Did you know that avocado can increase your absorption of carotenoids by 200-400%? Now that is something! What happens is that the fatty substances in the pear help with the absorption of health-promoting fat-soluble antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin K and carotenoids.
  4. Vitamin K is one of those vitamins that is starting to be more appreciated. It is essential for healthy calcium metabolism, especially in bones and for keeping us able to heal from cuts and wounds. It has a special and crucial role in blood clotting. Almost 40% of our daily vitamin K requirements are supplied by 150g of avocado.
  5. Many of our fruit foods tend to contain minor amounts of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a special nutrient that has a far range of health related benefits, including protection against development of cancer. Well, that same serving of 150g of pear will hand you about 16% of what has been officially deemed to be our daily vitamin E requirement.
  6. Pregnant women are often encouraged to consume avocados. There may be more than one reason, but one of the main ones is the folate found in this fruit. In pregnant women, folate prevents some forms of birth defects. For everyone else, pregnant or not, folate has essential roles in protecting us from cardiovascular disease and helps maintain healthy red blood cells.
  7. Lastly, avocado pear supplies a range of minerals and vitamins in significant amounts, including fibre but little protein and carbohydrates. Our 150g portion of will give us about 40% of our daily fibre, 25% of our vitamin C, and over 20% of our vitamin B5 requirements.

Take care, Anastacia

Visit Vegan SA for more information on nutrition for vegans.


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