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November 30, 2016
Avocado - Truths and lies

1. Avocado is fattening and does not provide our body with any important nutrients

That’s a Lie

Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), dietary fiber, phytochemicals, essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals and as a result, particularly healthy for our body. For example, it contains lutein, tocopherols, potassium, folic acid, carotenoids and significant quantities of vitamins E, K and C, which are associated with numerous potential health benefits.

Avocado is a medium energy dense (1.7 kcal/g) fruit because it contains about 80% water and dietary fiber. Unlike other fruits, avocados are low in sugar and contain 15% MUFA rich oil, which helps to increase the bioavailability of carotenoids from salads and salsa often consumed with avocados.

According to the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) 2001-2008 study, avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. Indeed, in this study, avocado consumption was associated with higher HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels, lower body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. Avocado consumption is in line with the principles of a balanced diet and possible even in programs monitoring weight loss.

2. Potential anticancer and cardioprotective effects

That’s true

It contains nutrients (oleic acid, lutein, tocopherols) that, according to clinical studies, may have cancer preventive properties. Its consumption has been linked with a possible protective effect against prostate cancer and with the improvement of eye health. Furthermore, clinical studies correlating the consumption of avocado to cardiovascular health, have demonstrated positive heart healthy effects on blood lipids profiles.

3. Has anti-aging properties, moisturizes hair and skin

That’s true

Avocados contain B vitamins and antioxidants that slow down the process of aging and contribute to the reduction of stress levels. In addition, avocado’s fatty acids profiles, among other things, promote good hair, skin and nail quality. Avocado’s highly bioavailable lutein and zeaxanthin may help to protect the skin from damage from both UV and visible radiation. Lastly, because of their high content of vitamin, avocados can act as a very good hair moisturizer. 

Eva Kontopodi, M.Sc.in Applied Nutrition, Researcher, Copenhagen University, Food Scientist AUTH.

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