By Dr Matthew Chircop
Avocados, like many fruits, have a high moisture content (about 70-80% by weight). However, unlike other fruits, they have a high content of fats. So, they have an intermediate calorie density (1.7 cal/g). Studies have shown that lowering the energy density of the diet improves weight management. This is primarily achieved by consuming low- to medium-calorie density foods like fruits and vegetables.
The fats present in avocados are predominantly unsaturated (particularly mono-unsaturated), and this is thought to contribute to their positive effects on blood lipids and reduction in cardiovascular risk. Consumption of monounsaturated fats has also been shown to protect against abdominal fat accumulation. Abdominal (or visceral) fat accumulation is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.
The other significant constituent is dietary fibre, which comprises about 6-7% by weight. If you consider that the average person consumes half an avocado at a time, and that adequate fibre consumption is about 15 g per 1000 calories consumed, then, such a serving of avocado would contribute 1/3 of the minimum daily fibre requirement.
Interestingly, unlike other fruits, avocados have a very low sugar and carbohydrate content (0.2g per half a fruit).
Avocados are also rich in chemicals which might be involved in reducing inflammation, cancer risk, cardiovascular risk, and the effects of aging on the skin and eyes.
Other significant constituents include potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E, K1, and B group.
Given the many health benefits of avocados, it would be prudent to include them in your diet. One suggestion is to substitute butter on bread for avocado. You can also put them in salads, or include them in dips or sauces. Avocados can also be included in desserts (like the chocolate avocado pudding in the image - this recipe often features on our meal plans).
Don't forget to post pics of your favourite avocado recipes on Facebook (@bodysculptorsaustralia) and Instagram (@bodysculptorsaustralia) and tag us - we love to see pics of your healthy creations.
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