Behold the mighty avocado – a ‘must’ for any healthy diet

Are you an ‘avocado aficionado’?

If you haven’t yet joined the growing legions of fans of this ‘superberry’ (or, if you prefer, ‘funky fruit’), you might want to give some serious consideration to joining what I call the guacamole groupies.

Not only is avocado “meat” a really delectable treat, whether blended into the popular Mexican dish or added to a salad or sandwich, it’s also one of the healthiest foods you can have in your diet.

Avocados are literally loaded with nutrients, including vitamins C, E and B6, riboflavin and niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid, and zinc, as well having 60 percent more potassium than bananas. The average avocado also has about four grams of protein and 11 grams of dietary fiber. This makes them a powerful ally of your immune system in fighting off infections, a great source of energy, and a big help to your body in things like metabolizing food, healing wounds and manufacturing and repairing tissue.

In fact, the usefulness of avocados in treating problems like gout have long been known to traditional medicine. Scientists have also credited them with reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes, stroke and coronary artery disease. And the combination of phytochemicals they contain is also believed to help keep certain cancers at bay.

And now, researchers have discovered yet another avocado benefit – their ability to aid in the prevention of heart disease by reducing the formation of plaque in the arteries.

By comparing a moderate-fat diet that included an avocado a day to two other regimens that had none, they found the diet that included avocados was the only one to significantly cut down on low-density lipoprotein particles in individuals who were overweight or obese. These particles, according to the lead researcher, are more subject to oxidation than larger LDL particles, and more likely to form artery plaques.

Of course, guacamole is probably the most popular use for avocados.  But you don’t have to go to a Mexican restaurant to get it, or buy one of the bottled varieties that contain various additives. Just cut open an avocado at its peak of ripeness (not too hard, not too soft), remove the pit and scoop it out, squeeze a generous amount of lime juice on and mash it. Then blend in some pepper, salt, cilantro (preferably fresh), minced garlic and some diced tomatoes.

However you prefer your avocado, it’s something no healthy diet should be without!

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