How Good Are Avocados for You?

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The dietary advantages of guacamole prolong past the vitamins in avocados.

Avocados have been described as a “main dietary supply of antioxidants.” Whereas this can be true compared to most of the meals individuals normally eat, they aren’t essentially something to write down dwelling about when in comparison with different widespread fruits, as you possibly can see at 0:16 in my video Flashback Friday: Are Avocados Good for You?.

Avocados do, nevertheless, contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid eye vitamins present in darkish inexperienced leafy greens. This will likely clarify why Mexican Individuals, who’re “among the many highest customers of avocados in the USA,” are inclined to beat out different ethnicities of their consumption of the 2 vitamins. The vital carotenoids are concentrated within the “darkish inexperienced flesh near the peel.” Due to this, customers must be advised to make use of the “nick and peel” technique “to acquire the nutrient-rich outer part of the avocado.” The Tufts Well being & Vitamin Letter detailed what which means: Minimize the avocado in half lengthwise across the seed, rotate a quarter-turn, lower lengthwise once more to make quarter-avocado segments, separate the quarters, take away the seed, and, lastly, ranging from the tip, nick and thoroughly peel every section, in order to not lose that nutrient-rich, darkest inexperienced flesh instantly beneath the pores and skin. 

Avocados can even increase the absorption of the carotenoid phytonutrients in different greens, as a result of carotenoids, resembling beta-carotene, are fats soluble. “Nonetheless, lots of our greatest meals for acquiring carotenoids—for instance, candy potatoes, carrots, and leafy greens—comprise little or no fats (lower than 1 g per serving).” So, when you eat them straight, with none supply of fats in your abdomen, you could find yourself flushing loads of that vitamin down the bathroom.

Bear in mind, it’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb. At 1:41 in my video, you possibly can see there’s somewhat bump within the quantity of beta-carotene that results in your bloodstream over a interval of ten hours after consuming somewhat greater than a cup of salsa, and the identical is seen with the pink pigment lycopene. What occurs once you eat the identical quantity of salsa with the addition of avocado? Absorption triples. Meaning, when you eat tomatoes with out some supply of fats on the similar meal—avocados, nuts, or seeds, for instance—most of that shiny pink, lovely lycopene will find yourself in the bathroom bowl moderately than your bloodstream.

It’s the identical with a salad composed of lettuce, spinach, and carrots. With a fat-free dressing, hardly any beta-carotene makes it into your physique. Add an avocado, although, and 15 instances extra beta-carotene finally ends up circulating all through the physique. Do you must use a complete avocado? Half an avocado had just about the identical impact, working simply in addition to a complete one. What a few quarter of an avocado? We don’t know the minimal quantity of dietary fats required for optimum carotenoid absorption. It could simply be a couple of grams per meal, although, during which case an eighth of an avocado would match the invoice, or only one or two walnuts.

Apparently, avocado consumption could enhance not solely the absorption of carotenoids, but additionally their subsequent conversion contained in the physique into vitamin A. As you possibly can see at 3:10 in my video, when topics had been given child carrots with and with out avocado, as we noticed earlier than, far more beta-carotene was detected within the bloodstream of these consuming avocados with their carrots within the hours following, in comparison with the identical quantity of carrots alone. In actual fact, there was greater than six instances extra. Since beta-carotene is become vitamin A within the physique, shouldn’t there even be six instances extra vitamin A, too? No. In actual fact, the topics consuming avocados ended up with greater than 12 instances extra vitamin A.

The avocado-eaters additionally skilled a giant enhance in ranges of vitamin Okay, one other fat-soluble vitamin. That’s partially as a result of avocado itself comprises vitamin Okay—however not a lot that individuals on the anticoagulant medicine Coumadin have to fret, claimed an avocado industry-sponsored evaluation. Nonetheless, that’s not true. We’ve identified for many years that despite the fact that there isn’t an inordinate quantity of vitamin Okay in avocados, it nonetheless interferes with the drug Coumadin, also referred to as warfarin. We aren’t precisely certain why. It could increase your liver’s detoxifying enzymes or forestall absorption of the drug, however, both method, these on the blood-thinner Coumadin could wish to put walnuts on their salads as a substitute.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Wealthy in antioxidants, avocados comprise lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid eye vitamins concentrated in the dead of night inexperienced flesh near the peel.
  • The “nick and peel” technique is the popular approach to lower an avocado to get the nutrient-rich, darkest inexperienced flesh instantly beneath the peel.
  • As a result of carotenoids, such because the beta-carotene in candy potatoes, are fat-soluble, consuming carotenoid-rich meals with avocados can increase the absorption of phytonutrients in different greens.
  • For instance, including avocado to a cup of salsa triples absorption of the pink pigment lycopene in contrast with consuming the tomatoes within the salsa and not using a supply of fats (resembling avocados, nuts, or seeds) on the similar meal.
  • Along with enhanced carotenoid absorption, avocado consumption might also enhance the conversion of carotenoids contained in the physique into vitamin A.
  • Avocado-eaters additionally expertise elevated ranges of vitamin Okay, one other fat-soluble vitamin that’s contained in avocados themselves. Vitamin Okay interferes with Coumadin, a drug also referred to as warfarin, so these on the blood thinner could wish to select nuts or seeds as a substitute of avocados for a complete meals supply of fats.

That is a part of my newest slew of articles on avocados. Produce other burning guac questions? See my movies:

Doesn’t the egg {industry} brag about lutein and zeaxanthin? See my video Egg Industry Blind Spot.

Why would we care about lycopene absorption? Try Lycopene Supplements vs. Prostate Cancer and Tomato Sauce vs. Prostate Cancer.

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: For those who haven’t but, you possibly can subscribe to my free movies here and watch my dwell displays:

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