Published on January 17th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan2
What Avocados Are Good For & Another Guacamole Recipe
I wrote on avocados, my favorite food, last week and wrote about a cool-looking guac dish (no, I haven’t made it yet, but have an avocado ripening now). Anyway, I thought I’d share how I normally make guac as well. It’s not the fanciest recipe in the world, but how I like it most of the time. Of course, there’s one problem — I probably don’t make it exactly the same every time, but I’ll give you the basic dish as well as some extra options to play around with.
Before we delve into it, though, maybe a few words on what avocados are good for. Always nice to know why something is good to eat (and you know you can always find some good reasons for eating fruits and vegetables).
What Are Avocados Good For?
Avocados are good for a host of things. As Amy Bell wrote about a year ago on here, “This green wonders’ double whammy of monounsaturated fat and potassium can help lower blood pressure.” The high amounts of potassium in avocados, especially, can help a person to guard against heart disease and strokes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has actually approved the following health claim: “Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.” The relatively well-known monounsaturated fat avocados contain, oleic acid, can also help to lower cholestoral and perhaps also prevent breast cancer and oral cancer.
Avocados contain significant amounts of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, oleic acid, folate and copper.
Folate is also important for heart health. The World’s Healthiest Foods writes:
To determine the relationship between folate intake and heart disease, researchers followed over 80,000 women for 14 years using dietary questionnaires. They found that women who had higher intakes of dietary folate had a 55% lower risk of having heart attacks or fatal heart disease. Another study showed that individuals who consume folate-rich diets have a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke than those who do not consume as much of this vital nutrient.
Avocados are also known to inhibit “the growth of both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.” And it seems it is no particular substance in the avocados, but the way several of them mix:
when researchers tried exposing the prostate cancer cells to lutein alone, the single carotenoid did not prevent cancer cell growth and replication. Not only was the whole matrix of carotenoids and tocopherols in avocado necessary for its ability to kill prostate cancer cells, but the researchers also noted that the significant amount of monounsaturated fat in avocado plays an important role.
As one final point, a very interesting one, adding even a little avocado to a meal helps your body to absorb the carotenoids of vegetables (or even salsa) you are also eating in that meal. You can get a lot more alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein out of food by adding eating some avocado with it.
Photo Credit: JIGGS IMAGES