The green fruit has become a staple in kitchens around the world — and for good reason. Avocados deliver a variety of health
benefits and are a versatile ingredient when cooking, said CNN
nutrition contributor Lisa Drayer.
She uses the fatty fruit in soups, dips and even chocolate truffles. Depending on how you bake with it, avocados can be a very good fat substitute that won’t make your desserts taste like avocado, she noted.
They are chock-full of nutrients and can be a beneficial addition to a balanced diet. Here are five ways avocados are good for your health:
They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Often called LDL cholesterol, it is known as the “bad cholesterol,” Drayer said, while high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is the “good cholesterol.”
The majority of the cholesterol in the human body is LDL cholesterol, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. People with high levels of this cholesterol have an increased risk of having a stroke or being diagnosed with heart disease, the CDC website noted.
2. They are a great source of potassium
A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of avocado contains 485 milligrams (0.02 ounces) of potassium, according to the US Department of Agriculture
. In comparison, a banana has 358 milligrams
(0.01 ounces) of potassium per 100 grams.
The mineral helps regulate nerve function and move nutrients into cells while taking away waste, according to the US National Library of Medicine
Potassium also works to combat high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association
. High levels of sodium can increase blood pressure, the CDC said
, and potassium allows more sodium to leave the body through our urine. This in turn lowers our blood pressure, the American Heart Association said.
3. They’re packed with monounsaturated fats
Monounsaturated fats are fat molecules with one unsaturated carbon bond, Drayer said. In simple terms, it’s an unsaturated fat that works to lower LDL cholesterol without affecting the good HDL cholesterol, she added.
When you have too much LDL cholesterol, it hardens along the edges of your arteries and narrows them, according to the Mayo Clinic
. This reduces blood flow through the arteries, which can cause blood clots and other medical complications.
4. They are also high in fiber
Avocados have nearly 7 grams (0.25 ounces) of fiber per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), according to the USDA
Foods with more fiber tend to keep you satiated longer than low-fiber foods do, the Mayo Clinic said
. This makes avocados a great choice for people who are watching their weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.
5. Avocados are rich in folate
The fatty fruit is rich in folate, with 81 micrograms (0.0000028 ounces) per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of avocado, according to the USDA
Folate is a B vitamin that is important for proper brain function and healthy pregnancies, Drayer said.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends women of childbearing age have 400 micrograms
(0.000014 ounces) of folate per day. Pregnant women should increase their intake to 600 micrograms (0.000021 ounces)…