Avocados are an incredibly versatile fruit that can be eaten in a variety of ways. In addition to being a delicious snack, they’re also full of nutrients that are beneficial for your health.
New research shows that eating a serving of avocado a day reduces your risk for heart disease by 16 percent. It may even help lower your cholesterol levels. In this article we will investigate the connection between avocados and heart health.
High in monounsaturated fat
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, a healthy type of fat that promotes heart health. This healthy fat also helps the body absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E.
Compared to saturated fats, unsaturated fats help lower bad cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar and triglyceride levels. They also improve lipid profiles and reduce inflammation.
These types of fats come from plant foods, like seeds, nuts, and oils. They are liquid at room temperature and can improve cholesterol, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play other beneficial roles in the body.
The difference between monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats is the number of carbon-to-carbon double bonds they have in their molecular structure. Monounsaturated fats contain only one double bond, while polyunsaturated fats have anywhere from two to six double bonds.
High in fiber
Avocados are high in fiber, a nutrient that has been linked to lower heart disease risk. They’re also a source of several important vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and magnesium.
They’re also a good source of monounsaturated fat, which boosts levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL cholesterol. This is a big deal because high levels of bad LDL cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In fact, replacing saturated fat sources with unsaturated fat is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of these diseases. In addition to avocados, you can get heart-healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
In addition to fiber, avocados are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidant phytochemicals. They’re also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect your eyes from damage.
High in potassium
Avocados are a great source of potassium, which can help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of kidney stones and bone loss. They also contain high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps keep you feeling full and prevents you from overeating. They are also a good source of vitamin K, which promotes bone health and can lower your risk of osteoporosis.
It is recommended that adults eat at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, says Jamie Downs, a registered dietitian with Sharp Rees-Stealy. However, most people consume less than half that amount, she adds.
If you don’t eat enough potassium, it can lead to hyperkalemia. This condition can cause symptoms such as weakness, dizziness and slowed heart rate. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
High in magnesium
Avocados are a rich source of magnesium, along with potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin K. Magnesium is a mineral that helps regulate nerve and muscle function, balance blood pressure and sugar levels, and build protein and bones.
It also helps maintain mental health and reduces stress. Low levels of this important nutrient increase the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and osteoporosis.
Fortunately, the good news is that it’s easy to get enough magnesium from your diet.
A one-ounce serving of dark chocolate has 64 mg of magnesium, and a half cup of cooked edamame beans is an excellent source of magnesium with 50 milligrams in just a serving.
Fish, including fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, are another great way to increase your magnesium intake. They’re packed with protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. And a high intake of fish has been linked to a lower risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease.