I have heard people telling me they avoid avocado because it is high in fat. While this is true, you have to know that the fat contained in avocado can bring you a lot of health benefits. This is what today’s blog post is all about.
The word fat has become such an abused word lately and a lot of people avoid fat all together, thinking it is bad for their health and figure. While for a lot of fats this certainly is true, one thing has to be made clear: not all fats are created equal. We need fats for our body to function optimally. Let me give you some background information about fats and their differences.
What is fat and why do we need it? Here’s the geeky stuff.
The main chemical feature of fats is that they are insoluble in water. 95% of the fat in the body is found in the form of triglycerides, formed from glycerol and fatty acids. Fatty acids are the simplest type of fat and are used to make up phospholipids as well. Our body can make most fatty acids, however three must be supplemented in our diet: linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids. The main source of those acids is from nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Essential fatty acids help the brain function, as more than 60% of the brain is fat. Information is transmitted from nerve cell to nerve cell by chemicals called neurotransmitters. The chemicals that modulate the effect of the neurotransmitters, called prostaglandins, are created only from essential fatty acids. If the two main groups of essential fatty acids – the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are out of balance in the diet, proper prostaglandin production is disrupted.
Avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (app. 160 milligrams per cup of sliced avocado). Over half of the total fat in avocado is provided in the form of oleic acid (a fat composition similar to the one that can be found in olives and olive oil). Oleic acids help the digestive tract form transport molecules for fat that can increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids. This monounsaturated fatty acid has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.
So what does all this mean?
All this simply means that not all fats are created equally and that we need to nourish our body with whole foods. I have mentioned that the oleic acids are needed to help the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients. Avocados are loaded with fat-soluble nutrients, such as carotenoids, vitamin K, and vitamin E, that are not only good for our health, but provide us with a lot of beautifying effects as well. So you start to see how real whole foods provide us with the fuel our body needs in order to nourish and repair itself.
So to wrap it up – avocados will help your digestive system, will provide you with some essential fatty acids, will help the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients and will provide you with loads of beautifying vitamins, muscle-building amino acids, and fiber for optimal digestion. And to top it all, they are divinely delicious!
Enjoy your avocado with some romaine, spinach and carrots to increase their nutrient absorption. Still if you pay attention to your weight, consume maximum half of an avocado or a small one a day.