Fruit of a tree originating in Central and South America, the avocados are prized for their tender flesh like butter. A true chameleon of appetizers is prepared in a thousand and one ways, whether with a vinaigrette, salad, mousse, stuffed, or in the traditional guacamole. The avocados can also be a delicious and original sandwich topping. Although it is known for its high-fat content, it also has a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Avocado: Active principles and properties

1. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. The latter are very reactive molecules that would be involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and other diseases related to aging. In total, an avocado has almost as many antioxidants as a half cup (125 ml) of cooked broccoli.

2. Proanthocyanidins

A serving of 100 g of raw avocado has on average 7 mg of proanthocyanidins, antioxidants also referred to as “tannins”. Proanthocyanidins would have antioxidant properties in humans, protecting in particular blood cells and blood lipids against oxidative stress. However, further studies needed to better understand how the human body absorbs and uses the proanthocyanidins of avocados.

Dietary fiber: With 6.7 g of fiber per 100 g of meat, avocados are considered a very high source of fiber. A high-fiber diet associated with a lower risk of colon cancer and can help satisfy the appetite by bringing a sense of satiety more quickly. There are two main types of fiber (soluble and insoluble) that have different effects in the body: the avocados have both, with a little more insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber has attributed the ability to prevent constipation by increasing stool volume. Soluble fibers, however, can give to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases by reducing, in particular,  absorption of bile acids.

They can also help control type 2 diabetes through, among other things, a slowing down of glucose digestion in foods. We recommend consuming 25 g of fiber per day for women aged 19 to 50 years and 38 g per day for men in the same age group.

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Avocado: Cardiovascular illnesses

Although avocados are rich in fat, these are mostly unsaturated fat (mainly monounsaturated), considered “good” fat for cardiovascular health. In humans, a study showed that replacing some of the fat in the diet with avocado for three weeks could lead to decreased blood lipids without decreasing HDL cholesterol ( “Good” cholesterol).

Other researchers found that avocado was possibly the most phytosterol-containing fruit, with more than 80 mg per serving of 100 g. These compounds have a structure like cholesterol in products of animal origin but are beneficial for cardiovascular health. A meta-analysis of 41 clinical trials showed that taking 2 g / day (or 2,000 mg) of phytosterols reduced LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) by 10%. This reduction could reach 20% in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This measure of 2g /day is practically impossible to reach by diet alone. For this reason, food products enriched with phytosterols have appeared on the market in recent years (juice, margarine, yogurt).

Inflammation: Some studies have demonstrated a potential anti-inflammatory effect of the avocados. Indeed, in one study, the addition of avocados to a meal with a “hamburger” reduced the vasoconstriction of blood vessels, as well as a concentration of certain proteins with pro-inflammatory properties a few hours after ingestion. In addition, the avocados-containing meal resulted in decreased blood triglycerides.

Further studies needed to close on the true benefits of avocado in inflammation but this remains promising. Better absorption of carotenoids. A study in humans showed that adding avocado to a meal increased the uptake of carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lycopene. Carotenoids are a family of substances with antioxidant properties, insoluble in water but soluble in fat. The best absorption of the carotenoids would be attributable to the fats of the avocado.

Avocado: Liver damage

Researchers have investigated the effect of 22 different fruits on the liver recovery of animals that have suffered viral hepatitis related damage. Among the fruits analyzed, the lawyer distinguished himself by showing a remarkable ability to repair this damage. The mechanism explaining this effect remains elucidated, but the researchers believe that it would come from natural fatty acid derivatives of the avocado. However, further studies carried out to verify whether these results would apply to humans.

Avocado: Cancer

Several in vitro studies suggest that avocado would have favorable properties for cancer prevention. One of these studies demonstrated that an extract of avocado flesh decreased the proliferation of human cancer cells in the prostate. Other studies have shown that a natural avocados compound, called a person, has the ability to decrease the activity of enzymes involved in the development of cancer. However, these in vitro results can not yet be applied to humans. A case-control study showed that monounsaturated fatty acid intakes were indirectly related to prostate cancer. This relationship, according to the authors, due to the high consumption of avocados.

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Avocado: Precautions

  • Vitamin K and anticoagulants

Avocado has a high amount of vitamin K. This vitamin, which is necessary for blood coagulation,  made by the body as well as being found in certain foods. Individuals taking anticoagulant medicines, such as those marketed under the brand names Coumadin®, Warfilone®, and Sintrom®, should use a diet in which the vitamin K content is relatively stable from one day to the next. We recall that it can change blood levels of anticoagulants. It is, therefore, preferable not to consume them in too high a measure at a time. Those on anticoagulant therapy are strongly advised to consult a dietitian-nutritionist or a physician to learn about the dietary sources of vitamin K and to make sure that the daily intake is as stable as possible.

  • Allergy to Avocado and latex

Studies have shown that allergy to latex, a material used especially for the manufacture of medical gloves,  associated with an allergy to certain foods such as avocado. Researchers have identified here as the compound that would be responsible for allergy to avocado in people with latex allergy. The listed symptoms of allergy to avocado could include hives and even anaphylaxis. recommended that people with allergies to latex carry out food allergy tests, including banana, brown, and kiwi.

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