Monday, March 7, 2011

Why This High-Fat Fruit is Good for You!

One fruit I always pick up when I shop is avocado. Avocado might not jump out at you as a fruit but technically it is one and it has many great health benefits so it's excellent to include as a part of your weekly fruit variety!
Avocado is not sweet like most other fruits and you really can't eat it's skin. You won't mix it in your cereal or your yogurt but don't count this fruit out! Avocado is packed with nutrients. Avocados provide monounsaturated fat to your diet. This type of fat lower cholesterol levels, which in turn can decrease your risk of heart disease. In addition to healthy fat, avocados provide Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Folate, Magnesium and Potassium.

These vitamins are important for a variety of body functions:

Vitamin K: Proper blood clotting

Vitamin C: Cell growth and repair. It's also an antioxidant.

Vitamin B6: Immune function, nerve function, formation of red blood cells, and protein digestion

Vitamin E: Key to hair and skin health. It's also an antioxidant.

Folate: Healthy cell and tissue development; prevents birth defects

Magnesium: Muscle and enzyme activity; also important in energy supply pathways.

Potassium: Cell Function, as well as protein synthesis (building muscle); can also lower blood pressure

In addition to all of these nutrients, avocados are also an excellent source of lutein, a carotenoid pigment that has been proven to reduce the risk of age-related eye disease. Lutein is also known to help with skin health.

It's easy to incorporate this fruit in salads and sandwiches. You want to choose an avocado that is soft to the touch - your finger should be able to press the skin in a little, but with some resistance. You don't want to be able to squish it - that's a sign it's over-ripe. You can also buy firm avocados, then store them in a brown paper bag on your counter for 1-2 days until they soften. For more information on how to choose and use avocados visit the California Avocado Commission website. Enjoy!

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