Health Benefits of Avocado and Nuts

Avocado_with_cross_section_edit[1]Avocado. Did you know that this super-food is actually a fruit? Avocados, or alligator pears, are in fact classified in the same plant family as cinnamon.
Adding avocados to your culinary routine is quite easy: simply put avocado on your sandwich (in place of, or in addition to your usual condiments,) or make fresh guacamole by adding tomatoes, lime, and cilantro to mashed avocado.
For those seeking a little more excitement, there are several avocado milkshake recipes that natives of Brazil and Indonesia swear by. Be sure to drop us a line if you are bold enough to try one of these sweet drinks.    

Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third the daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.

Apart from being an excellent source of fiber and vitamins, research suggests that there may be a number of other benefits associated with the fruit, including: lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of diabetes, promoting lower body weight, and preventing cancer.

Fancy_raw_mixed_nuts_macro[1]Nuts and Nut Butters. Few foods compare to nuts when it comes to healthy fats. What makes nuts so perfect is that they are easy to snack on and can be added to just about any dish. Whether you prefer the football-shaped almonds, their wider-set cashew cousins, or the prized pecans, there are endless varieties, shapes, sizes, and nutrient profiles.

Nuts are very often high in nutrients because they are the source of energy for the new plant. Most nuts contain a considerable quantity of fat and vitamins and are rich in essential amino acids. The high energy density makes nuts a very filling food.

Several epidemiological studies have revealed that people who consume nuts regularly are less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease (CHD). Nuts were first linked to protection against CHD in 1993. Since then many clinical trials have found that consumption of various nuts such as almonds and walnuts can lower serum LDL cholesterol concentrations. Although nuts contain various substances thought to possess cardioprotective effects, scientists believe that their Omega 3 fatty acid profile is at least in part responsible for the hypolipidemic response observed in clinical trials.

In addition to possessing cardioprotective effects, nuts generally have a very low glycemic index (GI). This is a result of their high fat and protein content and relatively low carbohydrate levels. Consequently, dietitians frequently recommend nuts be included in diets prescribed for patients with insulin resistance problems such as diabetes mellitus type 2.

One study found that people who eat nuts live two to three years longer than those who do not. However, this may be because people who eat nuts tend to eat less junk food.

Nuts contain the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids, and the fats in nuts for the most part are unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fats. Many nuts are good sources of vitamins E and B2, and are rich in protein, folate, fiber, and essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium.

Image source: Wikipedia

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