Avocado: For years, we have been told to avoid the avocado because of its high caloric and fat content. An avocado contains a whopping 731 calories and over 30 grams of fat. Despite what has been called a drawback, adding a little avocado to your diet each day packs a beneficial punch that outweighs the fat and calories.
The avocado contains more fat than any other fruit except the olive. Its fat is of the highest quality, wholly free from the unpleasant butyric acid with which many fats are contaminated. It contains a sufficient amount of vitamin A to maintain high resistance against bacterial infection, a quality possessed by few vegetable fats. With the exception of an excess of fat and the lack of vitamin C, it may serve as a very satisfactory substitute for dairy milk. Thus, the avocado may be given safely to young infants. It is the first food I give our children – not grains.
Avocados contain folate, potassium, monounsaturated fats and are very high in fiber. The monounsaturated fats in avocados contain oleic acid. It has been found to improve fat levels in the body and help control diabetes. By using avocados as their primary source of fat in the diet, diabetes sufferers can lower their triglycerides by up to 20%. In addition to being helpful to those with diabetes, the monounsaturated fats in avocados are good for lowering cholesterol. A low fat diet containing avocados has been shown to lower levels of dangerous low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and raise the level of healthy high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). In addition, triglycerides were also lowered slightly.
Avocados are also a huge source of fiber, containing 10 grams in only one avocado. As we all know, fiber is known to help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Avocados also contain 30% more potassium than a banana! Potassium is beneficial to the body by lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and cancer. In addition, avocados are the perfect food for pregnant women. The folate in one avocado per day provides almost 30% of the recommended daily dosage and helps prevent life threatening birth defects of the spine and brain.
The avocado is an excellent food remedy in acute digestive disorders. Its blandness is comforting to the hypersensitive surfaces of the stomach and duodenum (the beginning portion of the small intestine), and its abundant vitamins reanimate the inflamed and crippled cells. For centuries, physicians in China have prescribed the juice of this fruit for colic and pains in the stomach. The Japanese employ the same remedy to treat ulceration of the intestines.
The avocado is an efficient aid in changing the intestinal flora to combat autointoxication and colitis. In cases of hyperacidity with sour stomach, avocado and well-ripened papaya should be used as a staple in the diet. These two fruits are the most appropriate foods in cases of severe ulcers because they are bland and soothing to the sensitive membrane and pass quickly into the intestine.
The latest guidelines issued by the American Diabetes Association emphasize a diet rich in monounsaturated fat for improved diabetes control.
According to the guidelines, people with diabetes are no longer limited to a low carbohydrate, low fat diet, and may instead choose a higher monounsaturated fat diet that includes avocados and olive oil. On pages 70 through 120 of the Annual Review of Diabetes 2002, the American Diabetes Association in their report, "Evidence-Based Nutrition Principles and Recommendations for the Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications," recommends that complex carbohydrates and monounsaturated fat intake should account for 60 - 70% of calorie intake for people with diabetes, and 15 - 20% should come from protein.
The new American Diabetes Association guidelines also present evidence that a diet high in good monounsaturated fat can improve glucose tolerance and reduce insulin resistance, allowing for better control of diabetes.Dr. Robert Young suggests, "Anyone with low or high blood sugar, or type I or type II diabetes, can significantly regulate their blood sugars by eating liberal amounts of avocados."
A survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute in 1992 demonstrated that ounce per ounce, the glutathione content of avocados is three times that of bananas, apples, cantaloupes, grapes, plums and cherries. Glutathione is composed of three amino acids and functions as a buffer, neutralizing acids that can cause damage to cells in the body during the process of aging, heart disease and cancer.
The oil also gives the avocado its high food energy value. The avocado contains fourteen minerals, all of which regulate body functions and stimulate growth. Especially noteworthy are its iron and copper content, which aid in red blood cell regeneration and the prevention of nutritional anemia. It also contains a higher source of potassium than bananas and sodium which gives it a high alkaline reaction without all the sugar. The avocado contains no starch and very little sugar and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels but provides a high source of fat, 80%, which the body can metabolize for energy and use for construction of cellular membranes. The avocado is also a great source of protein at 10 to 15%.
As you can see, the benefits of avocados are long reaching. Please don’t heat avocadoes as they are best eaten raw or mixed into cold dishes. They become rancid and sour once heated. Do NOT freeze them either.
Enjoying a few slices of avocado in your tossed salad, on top of gazpacho soup, or mix some chopped avocado into your favorite salsa will not only add a rich, creamy flavor, but will greatly increase your body's ability to absorb the health-promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.
AVOCADOS vs. OTHER SPREADS AND TOPPINGS
Warning: Avocados and Latex Allergy
A small population of people will be affected by an enzyme in avocados called chitinases that can cause allergic reactions in people with latex sensitivities. Studies have shown a strong association between latex allergies and allergic reactions to avocado. The treatment of avocados with ethylene gas to induce ripening can increase the presence of these allergenic enzymes. Individuals with latex allergy should avoid eating avocados. In my research I decided to look up other allergies caused by the chitinases enzyme – there are many fruits listed. The body builds up the antigens to the proteins and unknowingly we keep feeding our bodies foods it cannot break down and fully digest. This build up is what causes the severe allergic reactions. Just another example of why it is so important to start our children out as clean as possible from day one and not load their systems up with junk! Nothing is more important than our digestive system working at 100%!
**Important note to all pregnant and nursing mother’s – you can control how healthy your children will be and if they will develop certain allergies by the type of diet you eat during and after pregnancy. If you eat foods that promote a healthy digestive tract for yourself first, then the blood you build will be healthy, thus passing onto your unborn child healthy blood as well. The cycle starts and ends with you.
Olive oil: The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. No other naturally-produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated fats as olive oil, mainly oleic acid.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
You do NOT want to cook olive oil at high temperatures or for very long as you get the most benefits from eating it with raw or lightly steamed vegetables, in salad dressings, on top of soups after cooking, or inside hummus, etc.
Meet your toddler's energy needs with meals and snacks that include a variety of healthy options. In addition to higher-fat products, offer whole-grains and breads, and fruits and vegetables to round out his/her diet. Keep in mind that around his/her first birthday, your child's appetite may slow down. And he won't be consistent. One day he may show little interest in food, while the next he may be insatiable. That's to be expected, and it provides the opportunity for your child to learn to respond to his/her hunger-regulation signals. Remember that individual needs and appetites vary widely, and allow your toddler to make choices about his food intake.
**Use only first cold pressed (expeller pressed) unrefined oils, (flaxseed oil and few others need to be refrigerated) which are non-heated and not exposed to the light or air.
Health posts written by Jill are excerpts taken directly from her book...currently being edited for reprint in May 2009. Breaking Free – Truths for Healthy Living
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