Avocados have gained much popularity in the recent times, more particularly as a must-include food in the weight loss and healthy heart diet. So, are avocados good for your heart? Let us understand this better.
Are Avocados Good for Your Heart?
Many people wonder, if avocado is a high fat food, how can it be a part of heart-healthy diet. But on the contrary, more of this fruit should be included in such a diet since avocados are actually good for the heart. They offer a creamy consistency and a mild buttery, nutty flavor to the foods in which they are added. The majority of the total fat in this fruit is monounsaturated fat, the same type present in olive oil. Further, avocados are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals which offer excellent cardiovascular benefits.
If you too are wondering, whether avocados are good for your heart or not, read on to know more about the nutrient profile of avocado and its effect of the heart health.
Avocado mostly contain the heart-healthy unsaturated fat known as monounsaturated fat. A 100 gram serving of a Hass avocado contains 15.4 gm of total fat, with 9.8 gm of monounsaturated and 2 gm of saturated fat. When consumed instead of unhealthy saturated and trans fats, monounsaturated fats help to reduce the total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, levels. They also tend to slightly elevate the high density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol levels. This is one of the main reasons why avocados are good for your heart.
Avocados, especially Hass California varieties, contain enough of vitamin B6 and folate to meet 14% and 22% of the recommended daily value for each, respectively. Vitamin B6 and folate help in energy metabolism, formation of DNA and new cells, and maintenance of good heart health. The amino acid in the bloodstream called Homocysteine is usually converted into other useable amino acids, by the body. If circulating homocysteine levels in the bloodstream becomes very high, the risk for stroke and heart attack rises. Consuming foods rich in folate, vitamins B6 and B12 can help lower the homocysteine levels. Hence, avocados are considered as superfoods for energy and necessary nutrients that are good for your heart.
All types of avocados contain the vital mineral, potassium. A 100 gm portion of avocado offers 351 mg, or 10% of the daily recommended intake of potassium. Research has shown that many factors like salt intake, exercise frequency, and type of dietary fats consumed, affect the blood pressure. Potassium helps to relax the muscles, stop hypertension, and blunt the effects of sodium, thus playing an important role in heart health. If avocados offer this mineral along with other health benefits, no wonder they are good for your heart.
Many studies have shown that the intake of vitamin E supplements does not benefit, but rather harms the heart health. However, this does not hold true for natural foods like avocado, which is rich in this nutrient too. A 100 gram serving of this fruit meets 10% of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin E. By consuming a diet rich in vitamin E, one can prevent or delay the onset of coronary heart disease. Oxidation of LDL leads to accumulation of plaque in the arterial walls, which further leads to atherosclerosis or narrowing of arteries. Vitamin E helps to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. This benefit surely makes avocados a very good food for your heart.
Any food or beverage which provides for at least 5 gm of dietary fiber in each of their servings is considered to be high in dietary fiber. A 100 gram serving of Hass avocado offers 6.8 gm of this nutrient. 6 to 7 gm of dietary fiber is enough to meet almost 1/3 of the daily recommended fiber intake for an adult woman. By eating fiber-rich foods, one can lower their blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol levels.
The most important nutrients that avocados contain are the ones required to keep your heart healthy. This not only makes avocados good for your heart, but also an excellent food for your overall health and weight management. So, go ahead and plan a heart healthy diet with avocados in the form you enjoy the most.